The Caterer

Wirral restaurant, Fraiche, tops Harden's poll of UK’s best restaurants

17 December 2019 by
Wirral restaurant, Fraiche, tops Harden's poll of UK’s best restaurants

Marc Wilkinson's Wirral restaurant Fraiche has topped the Harden's diners’ poll of the UK’s best restaurants.

The win comes after Marc Wilkinson closed the restaurant in December 2018 as part of a planned move to Liverpool to double the size, but decided against the move at the eleventh hour to maintain hands-on involvement. He reopened the restaurant in April.

"This is amazing news," said Wilkinson, speaking to The Caterer. "After a rough beginning to the year I needed to dig deep to bounce back and work even harder to prove Fraiche is still very much alive and my passion pushing me on. This really is a brilliant way to end the year. I’m so overwhelmed by the guests who have continually supported me."

The 14-seater restaurant with a Michelin star and four AA rosettes serves modern French dining with a classic foundation and multi-tasting menus.

Harden co-founder Peter Harden said: “Particular congratulations to Marc Wilkinson with impressing our diner survey so much. Marc's dedication to providing the very best in his extremely small and personal Wirral venture is emblematic of the personal passion that’s driving the continuing improvement and success of the UK restaurant trade".

The Five Fields in London came second, Mana in Manchester was third, Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham was fourth and Moor Hall in Aughton, Lancashire came fifth.

London restaurants accounted for 41 of the Harden’s 100 with 59 entries outside the capital. Amongst the counties, Kent put in an unusually strong performance with five of the Harden’s 100 restaurants from the area.

Harden added: “This is an exciting time for the quality UK restaurant scene, with a feeling that expectations amongst diners continues to rise ever higher and a sense that the trade is rising to the challenge of meeting those expectations.

"For many years now it has felt hard to keep up with the pace of change and innovation amidst the capital's ever-changing restaurant scene, and this dynamism seems now to be ever-more widespread beyond the borders of London.”

The Harden’s 100 is an annual list that collects and curates tens of thousands of reviews from ordinary restaurant-goers. The 2020 list is based on 50,000 reports from 7,500 diners.

The top 25:

1 Fraiche, Oxton

2 The Five Fields, London

3 Mana, Manchester

4 Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham

5 Moor Hall, Aughton

6 Hambleton Hall, Hambleton

7 The Ledbury, London

8 Bubbledogs, Kitchen Table, London

9 Core by Clare Smyth, London

10 Casamia, Bristol

11 Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac

12 L’Enclume, Cartmel

13 Umu, London

14 Waterside Inn, Bray

15 Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Great Milton

16 Etch, Brighton

17 Mãos, London

18 Endo at Rotunda, London

19 Adam Reid at The French, Manchester

20 Lumière, Cheltenham

21 The Araki, London

22 Texture, London

23 Hakkasan, London

24 Winteringham Fields, Winteringham

25 Orwells, Shiplake

Harden's Best UK Restaurants 2020 (ISBN: 978-1916076112) is priced £16.99 and is also available as apps for Apple iOS and Android.

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