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The One to Watch: Mersey Michelin Star

There's a bit of a twinkle over in Birkenhead as Fraiche takes the area's first ever Michelin star. But what's it all about?

Published on January 14th 2010.


The One to Watch: Mersey Michelin Star

Here's a poser: Liverpool has never had one. Chester has had one for years. Up until now you've had to travel over 30 miles if you wanted to enjoy your nearest one...
I know, a Debenhams

Just let me finish, will you.... I was about to say, “but you can find one on the Wirral”.
An asparagus farm.

Look. This is a very serious matter. People's reputations have been made and left in tatters over these things, you know.
Oh go on then, a Michelin star.

How do you know that?
Huh...doesn't everyone? The new Michelin Guide to England and Wales is published this week, but the secrets are already out, thanks to naughty hackers who got into the Michelin website and leaked the details of all the winners and losers in the 2009 round-up.

Tell me more
More stars than ever have been awarded this year by inspectors at the gourmet bible, and to more women chefs than ever. And at last, the much coveted prize of a single star has twinkled its magic, not over Liverpool, but over Oxton.

Oxton? Surely you mean Hoxton.
No indeedy, not this time. You can keep your fancy, East End London grills. The Michelin inspectors have been sniffing about over the water for ages now and have finally decided to award Merseyside's first ever Michelin star to Fraiche in Birkenhead.

Oh yeah? Any good?
Liverpool Confidential's critic AA Grill went there and described the experience as “not a meal but a beauty pageant, each dish a synthesis of taste, tone, shape and structure.”

State of him.
Eee, I know, but we knew it when it were just a mere Rising Star, lad.

Great, but aren't Michelin inspectors accused of showing bias towards French restaurants?
I don't think so. After all there's a French restaurant at the Adelphi. What are you suggesting?

But this is called Fraiche isn't it? That's French for fresh
Yes, but there's nothing French about the bloke who owns it. Chef Marc Wilkinson is a Huyton lad. He'll be well chuffed to be up there with the likes of Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay and Heston....

Blummenell, I'm starving. Let's all pile over there for a party.
Hold your ferry tickets. Fraiche isn't like

that. You go there and you prepare properly for an astronomic, gastronomic revelation that you, the punter, will partake of in hushed tones. If you don't mind.

There will not be many in there, perhaps five covers a night, because you are enjoying the privilege of watching a master chef at work, an artist. And master chef artists don't do chicken tikka for 20. Think of the Fat Duck at Bray, and that Le Manoir aux, aux, what's it called?

Le Manoir Aux Cat Stevens.
That's the one.

Very interesting, but you haven't correctly guessed the first poser at the start of this.
I have. Wirral is shining the light for Merseyside's haute cuisine. The Arkle still reigns in Chester with a star. Juniper in Altrincham loses its star and Liverpool has yet to see one.

No, sorry. The right answer is swingers' clubs.

Do say: Congratulations. Makes you glad we're all from Merseyside.
Don't say: Can I book a table for 30 next Saturday? It's our Nathan's holy communion...

*Fraiche, 11 Rose Mount, Oxton, Wirral, CH43 5SG.

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24 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Oxton grillJanuary 20th 2009.

It's quite telling that a Liverpool restaurant has never got a Michelin star. I don't suppose it will happen in my lifetime.

DigJanuary 20th 2009.

Woman from Pilgrim? I think you need to change your name. How about Bold Street Victorian Tea Room Woman? You also have a Michelin Star now by the way. I broke into High Ferntree & Dick Whittingtons River Cottage and stole it. He chased after me thru the fields with a 12 boar and a spud gun but I managed to escape when he dropped his glasses in some 12 boar residue.

Jammy Bath OliverJanuary 20th 2009.

Aye, with his squirty cream and his spurting "juice"

Hepton BloomingheckJanuary 20th 2009.

Perhaps Mr. Dig is expecting Miss Chocolaty O'Clairs to give him an easy choux in?

Miss Chocolaty O'ClairsJanuary 20th 2009.

glad u like it. no keeping it victorian still cos i luv it. i went past u in taxi was late lol.

woman from pilgrimJanuary 20th 2009.

i glad they have a michelin star, i hope more places start to go for them over here.

uppaclass onlyJanuary 20th 2009.

Never ever will Liverpool produce anything that is first class. The whole mentality of these junk food obsessed lard arsed crooks militates against fine cuisine.Let them carry on slurping up fat and alcohol. Shorter lives means less burden on a creaking social security system.Liverpool? good building land for prisons.

DigJanuary 20th 2009.

Chocolaty O'Clairs? I love it. Have you changed the decor at all? I'll pop in for lunch one day soon when I get time. Yeah I was up that way about 10.15 filling a customers car with juice on Aigburth Rd.

potrential customerJanuary 20th 2009.

it was very scary actually mr dig.on a parallel with the head spinning scene from the exorcist.i believe the roast pepper and sweet potato soup to be excellent so i will chance another visit but i may bring along my friend mr wiggy a parasyc of some repute.

Liverpool WagJanuary 20th 2009.

Filling it with juice? Why, what had they done to you?

Professor ChucklebuttyJanuary 20th 2009.

For good ness sake Dig let them get established forst before looking for special offers. I am sure at this stage Chocolatey O'Clairs is only working to small profiterole margins. But nevertheless I will pop in for a custard slice. By the way, if you need a bouncer, Mrs C is available and in a foul mood at the moment. She will keep your establishment free of these young men exposing their under-crackers.

Miss Chocolaty O'ClairsJanuary 20th 2009.

feed it corn naked professor. its nice to be back.dig how very kind of you i'll stick it on the counter. hope he did not shoot yo with the spud gun to many times or i will have to go down there with my pea shooter and get him and his 12 boar. think i seen you today on dingel lane?

DigJanuary 20th 2009.

Who tells you off when you're late? You're the boss aren't you? You shouldn't shout at yourself. That may scare away potential custom. If they walk in and Chocolaty O'Clair is standing in the middle of the cafe screaming at herself! Have you got any special offers for Liverpool Confidential readers?

BrianJanuary 20th 2009.

Brilliant - not before time. By the way there are literaly hundreds of people entitled to Stars from Liverpool -too many to name - but who missed off Macca, surely the best of recent time

DigJanuary 20th 2009.

Liverpool does have a Michelin Star. You've got it all wrong. It's not The Arkle in Chester. The chef is called Chester and he plies his trade in The Arkles pub in Anfield. His half time cuisine is exquisite and I've never seen his establishment quiet! Must be good if it's always packed.

Pop TartJanuary 20th 2009.

Wonder if they take the Hi-Life card since its only round the corner.......

Professor ChucklebuttyJanuary 20th 2009.

Dig has almost hit the nail in his head, you have missed the fact that Liverpool does have two stars, Freddie and Ringo. A bit more time on research and a little less time on the Goosenargh Merlot.

Salad DazeJanuary 20th 2009.

I told youse lot this years ago. It's dead good round 'ere.

woman from pilgrimJanuary 20th 2009.

my new place is called miss chocolaty o'clairs so how bout tha x

Huge FernywillieJanuary 20th 2009.

I don't know all about this posh Michelin food and minute nouvelle cuisine, but I know Dig always enjoys a small entree

Miss Chocolaty O'ClairsJanuary 20th 2009.

potrential customer im sorry you had to see my head spinning around, i promis next time i will greet you with a smile. glad you enjoyed the soup. liverpool are opening loads of resturants im sure one day 1 will get a star

The Naked ProfessorJanuary 20th 2009.

Well apart from my Chef's hat. Anyway, quite right Woman from the Pilchard. I am thinking of opening a little dining establishment myself. Chuckle-Butties has been suggested as a name but I cannot stand those play on words gimmick names or tiresome puns which lower the tone from the outset. So instead, I am going to call it Rire Avec Du Pain et La Confiture. Which is much classier. One question though, how do you actually goosenargh a chicken? How nice to hear from you again.

I LOVE BEING POSHJanuary 20th 2009.

One would be most grateful if yee would let thee do the tasting for free of course.

jonjoeJanuary 20th 2009.

Thats it, I've had enough grrrrrrr. I tried to find out how i can get hold of a Michelin star in Liverpool without results. Therefore i am off to oxton to the garage you recommend to buy another set of bleedin Brigstones or pirrelli's

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