The Eschelon Experiences family of restaurants that includes Mura, Cameron Bar and Grill, Zinda and the Oxford adds a new member with the recent opening of Faire in Raleigh’s Cameron Village
. (It won’t be the youngest for long though. Basan is opening soon in downtown Durham.
Faire promises a “land and sea” menu from chef Christopher Hill, formerly head chef at the Oxford. Earlier this week the restaurant hosted assorted food bloggers and writers for a sampling of that menu and the tastes were intriguing. Hill’s dishes brought in layers of flavors, often in unexpected combinations.
Photo courtesy Eschelon Experiences
The dining room at Faire
The Pink Peppercorn Crusted Tuna is a good example. You can consistently predict what you’ll get when ordering tuna as long as there is a reasonably skilled chef in the kitchen. Order Hill’s dish though, and you'll encounter banana polenta and an orange-vanilla coconut milk sauce that turns the tuna into an unexpected treat.
Chorizo-spiced Heritage Farms Pork Belly delivered a rich taste to the plate. The addition of lime ricotta and a black-eyed pea mole added complexity to the dish in a good way.
The group of foodies in attendance seemed most enamored of the Lobster Mac and Cheese. It combined bits of Maine lobster with pimento cheese, bread crumbs, peas and carrots. There was also strong sentiment for the Lamb Corn Dog with honey chipotle mustard. Paired with an IPA from Triangle Brewing, it was a pleasing nod to the nearby NC State Fair and the origins of the restaurant’s name, which stems from Cameron Village’s location at the site of the first NC State Fair in 1853
. I enjoyed the mac and cheese, but the corn dog is what I will likely order on return visits. Regardless of entrée choice, it’s a safe bet that the Meringue Almond Cake will top off any future visits. Combining citrus curd, meringue, sweet basil and ginger-orange white chocolate, it’s a surprisingly light way to indulge in dessert (when I say light I’m NOT talking calorie count, so any over-indulgence is your responsibility).
Much of the food comes from North Carolina sources such as Mills Family Farm, and the beverage list follows suit with several beers from in-state breweries. Lonerider, Aviator, Big Boss, Triangle, Mother Earth and Highland are among those represented. Faire also offers a Glenlivet Scotch flight and—trust me on this—if you’ve not had Glenlivet before, you should take advantage of this opportunity to do so.
Photo by Curt Fields
Faire's Meringue Almond Cake
If your taste leans more to the grape, Faire’s wine list is well curated by sommelier Michael Tinley. He’s friendly and answers your wine-pairing questions in a way that leaves you feeling informed instead of embarrassed for asking.
Faire’s interior is designed with three discrete areas—a lounge, the dining room and a private room. The lounge and dining area can accommodate about 120 people and the private room can hold 20 to 40. There is also an outdoor dining area that can seat another 40 or so people.
Faire, 2130 Clark Ave.,
Raleigh. 919-307-3583. www.fairerestaurant.com. Hours: Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Friday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.