The Merseyside restaurant that beat The Ritz in the top 50 of the National Restaurant Awards

There are a host of brilliant and varied award-winning restaurants throughout the Liverpool region but only one has made it onto the NRA’s prestigious list.

Chef Mark Wilkinson displays one of his Fraiche creations on the back of his gloved hand. Photo: @marcatfraiche/twitter

The National Restaurant Awards have published their list of the top 100 eating experiences in the UK and Wirral-based restaurant Fraiche has come in at number 43.

Chef Marc Wilkinson’s intimate establishment finished just ahead of world famous restaurant The Ritz, located in London’s affluent Mayfair area.

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The overall Restaurant of the Year winner and No.1 on the list was Moor Hall in Ormskirk, which is just a 30 minute drive from Liverpool city centre.

What are the National Restaurant Awards?

Launched in 2007, the awards “celebrate the brilliance and vibrancy of the UK’s eating out scene, and reward the very best chefs, front of house staff and restaurants the country has to offer.”

They are voted for by chefs, restaurateurs and food writers. The awards ceremony itself - at London’s exclusive Hurlingham Club -  is the largest annual gathering of top chefs and restaurateurs in the UK.

Why did Fraiche make the list?

It is one of the few remaining ‘soloists’ (with a chef that works virtually unaided in the kitchen) in the UK and offers an intimate dinning experience.

The small venue features lighting and visual displays from local creatives, including glass art work from Jenny Barker and sculptures from Simon Smith.

The restaurant's menu descriptions list ingredients only - with no hint as to how it will be served on the plate.

Chef Wilkinson’s current, six-course tasting menu includes butternut squash, tangerine and yoghurt; scallops with smoked lime butter and wild rice; and Gressingham duck, cocoa crisp and kohlrabi.

The chef

Classically trained at restaurants such as Pennyhill Park and Mirabelle, Wilkinson has been cooking more avant-garde dishes at Fraiche since 2004.

The National Restaurant Awards singled out his “unusual flavour combinations, textures and temperatures alongside striking presentation” when placing Fraiche on the list.

Wilkinson says he aims to create a relaxed, less formal approach to service, yet still provide a professional experience.

"Fraiche is a very personal journey for me, building a modern cuisine on a classical trained foundation to keep my sensibilities in check,” says Wilkinson.

“My expanding cooking techniques and cutting edge preparations help me to express myself, thus enabling me to offer our guests a complete ‘experience’, taking them on both a culinary and visual journey.

“The drive is very much to push Fraiche to higher levels of cuisine for the enjoyment for our guests.”

How to get there

Freche is located in the village of Oxton, close to Birkenhead, and is open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday and for lunch on Sunday.

But before you head straight over, make sure you book. Reservations are essential due to the intimate nature of fraiche.

📍Fraiche, 11 Rose Mount, Oxton, Wirral, CH43 5SG (Google map)

📱Tel: 0151 652 2914