A comfortable cycle ride away from the over populated city centre, deep in the realm of the Jordaan lies the hidden gem that is Fraiche. Regardless of the fact that it is a mere stroll from the Marnixstraat, it is in a relatively quiet and peaceful part of town where many expats happen to dwell.
In terms of wine, these guys don’t mess about; they recommend a flight of wine – that is, food specific wine (as it is rare that one wine will compliment all dishes). But it’s easy and enjoyable as all their wines are great, even the house. After some fresh African coffee (blended by local coffee blenders: ‘Trakten’) Tony created us a mouth-watering White Chocolate Truffle and Baked Plums dessert… Need I say more? It was tantalising, textured and tonsil tingling!
If I can say one thing, it’s that…these guys love food!! Their passion seeps through at every opportunity and it’s hard not to feel compelled by their combined force.
Tony and Noah hail from totally different ends of the spectrum in terms of location, but both can proudly boast of a Michelin Star background adorned with years of experience and graft that has built a solid relationship between them based on mutual understanding, honesty and most of all trust.
Tony is an old school London boy from Stepney who has shared ‘sweat and blood’ in the kitchen with the likes of Marco Pierre White and has been in and out of Michelin Star kitchens for almost half of his life, he has been homing his skills in our very own Venice of the North – Amsterdam – for the previous 9 years…Whereas Noah’s heart lies in the city that never sleeps, the big apple…yes, that right; New York City. He grew up around Manhattan and Brooklyn and started cooking at the tender age of 18, he attended the military where he had the esteemed role of cooking for his admiral. That took him to Japan amongst other places and then he eventually ended up working in Michelin Star kitchens for 6 or 7 years in California and New York before making his way to these shores a few years back.
However, a pretentious atmosphere and over-priced food was not the future they wanted for their baby, some might dare call them control freaks but the idea behind Fraiche is that there is no snobbery in food and the whole experience surrounding it. They believe there is no reason why you cant cook Michelin Star quality food but in a homely and cosy environment.
’We wanted a restaurant where chefs would actually wanna eat! Cooks are the biggest critics…it’s just the nature of the beast’
They strive to keep the restaurant seasonal, economical and most of all; keep it fresh! The ethos of the chefs is to keep customers satisfied and coming back while still being able to get to know the people they are feeding and maybe make some friends along the way. This is made even more poignant by the fact that they don’t turn tables; once you sit down its yours for the night..Nice!
While sitting having a chat with my new buddies, in popped a regular customer turned friend of Fraiche called Jeroen. After graciously accepting an invite of a glass of wine from his hosts he was more than happy to tell us why he kept on coming back for more!:
I obviously love the fact that the menu is continuously changing and the food is incredible, not to mention the local and noticeably fresh produce used – what you see is what you taste!’
….But the thing that really attracted him was the laid back and interactive ambiance that has been created by ‘FRAICHE’, the relatively great price and the no nonsense, relaxed but still classy approach to ‘Haute Cuisine’. Its honest and simple cooking at its best, yet retaining a certain; ‘Je ne sais quoi’, an ‘Element of surprise’.
On a final, rather heart-warmingly quirky note; the last Sunday of the month, ‘brunch’ is served from 12:00-16:00 on a walk-in basis (the AmsterDO guys were lucky enough to attend and boy is it worth it!). Once a month the restaurant also doubles as an ‘Art Gallery’…Yes, your eyes don’t deceive you, I said ‘Art Gallery’!
Its purpose; for all to come by and marvel at the works of the likes of ‘Itamar Gilboa’ and other local artists, with the opportunity to purchase any of the pieces on the premises (even the ones hanging on the walls!).
What can I say, some really re-’fraiche’-ing touches to an already awesome place. As far as what’s in store for ‘FRAICHE’…well, they wont be going anywhere any time soon, that for sure… so come on by! The future looks bright and exciting and we at AmsterDO are most definitely already itching for round 2! An experience we highly recommend, through and through. Keep reading and see you all soon!
By Tom Denicolai, Amsterdo
Chefs/owners: Anthony Joseph and Noah Tucker
Location: Westerstraat 264,1015 MT, Amsterdam
Cuisine: Contemporary, International cuisine with a simple class and a certain flare!
Opening hours: 18:30-23:30, Tuesday-Saturday. Brunch: last Sunday of every month, 12:00-16:00
Price range: €35-€49 (3 courses-5 courses)