Fraiche is a restaurant that strives to give its visitors something to talk about as well as eat. Although the focus is on French fine dining, the ways in which the dishes are prepared often owe more to molecular gastronomy than cordon bleu alone.
Once seated in the dining room – with its soft textures, gentle lighting, and modern artwork – guests are presented with a series of dishes informed by chef Marc Wilkinson’s self-named ‘adventures’ to global culinary hubs like El Bulli. The flavours might be familiar, but it’s the ways in which they’re presented - with forays into texture, contrast and temperature - which has led to Fraiche being so hotly tipped.
Several types of menu – elements, signature, concepts, bespoke and members among them – leave visitors with plenty of options as to how long they wish to stay and how much they wish to spend. The service has been described as ‘second-to-none’. On the menus, you might find dishes that seem either familiar or deceptive in their simplicity. Creams, panna cotta, ‘textures’ and soups or yoghurts made from unexpected ingredients take the fore, as well as the famous ‘pesto shot’. This is a collection of flavours in the forms of powders and other adornments which looks like nothing you’ve seen before but which tastes like a super-fresh version of the real thing.
Much has been made of the fact that ingredients will arrive in ways that challenge the preconception of how, in a dish, an ingredient should be served – in the form of frozen lollies, poached and fried dumplings, cold soups, and other unusual preparations. This is not experimentation for its own sake, since the grounding is very much in recognisable flavours from a distinct cuisine.
Classically trained in French cuisine, Wilkinson’s 25-year career includes time spent at the Chester Grosvenor, Pennyhill Park Hotel and the Mirabelle Restaurant in Eastbourne’s Grand Hotel.
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Awards & accolades
The Michelin Guide