Restaurant Fraiche serves a weekly, seasonal menu with what it calls 'a modern, simple approach to cuisine and hospitality'. One Sunday a month it opens for brunch. I went in search of eggs Benedict.
Fraiche’s brunch, which is served between midday and 4pm and costs €16 including coffee or tea and orange juice, takes it job as a substitute for two meals seriously. American pancakes are served with eggs, fries, bacon and sausage patties; waffles are combined with fried chicken; and substantial side dishes include cheese grits and bubble and squeak.
I'd come for the eggs Benedict - a dish that has become something of a holy grail for me in Amsterdam. An hour into Fraiche’s brunch service the waitress said they were out of eggs Benedict, for reasons that weren't entirely clear, but I could have an omelette instead.
The omelette came folded around a filling of white asparagus, smoked salmon and oozing cheese. I couldn't fault the preparation or flavours - and the asparagus supported Fraiche’s ‘seasonal’ claim - it just wasn’t what I was craving.
Also vying for space on the plate, somewhat extraneously, were thick slices of pork belly fried to a biscuit-like crumbliness, and a hefty portion of fried potatoes.
As I sipped my coffee - the only option was ‘regular’ coffee served with milk in a sachet, according to the waitress. Again, I couldn't ascertain whether this was always the case or a one-off - one of the chefs came to ask if we were enjoying the food.
It seemed like a personal touch until my tablemate asked for salt and pepper. The chef took the request as an insult, saying that all the dishes were well seasoned. His reaction was at odds with the question he had just asked. Neither did it make any allowance for our individual preferences.
Despite the occasional highlight, the restaurant didn't quite deliver the ‘fraiche’ approach to brunch I’d been hoping for, and the confusing service will make me think twice about committing to dinner here. The hunt for eggs Benedict continues.
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