Lido’s executive chef, Freddy Bird gives us the low-down on Bristol’s dining scene…

Freddy Bird

The new Bristol Food & Drink Guide is hot off the press and we have a cheeky taster just for you, dear readers.

If you’ve had the pleasure of dining at the Lido you’ll know the name Freddy Bird – executive chef and culinary genius. We are pleased to have Bird introducing this year’s guide and here’s what he has to say about our amazing home-city (and he has a few recommendations up his sleeve).

Once a slightly provincial culinary backwater, Bristol and the South West have developed an incredibly vibrant and innovative food scene over the past few years. Surrounded on all sides by the most fantastic produce and producers, Bristol could truly be considered the larder of England.

Countless smallholders grow and rear the very best produce to supply the city’s many great butchers, greengrocers and fishmongers. Wonderful and worthy initiatives like The Severn Project mean that we can grow in the city, with urban farms supplying some of our finest restaurants with salad, vegetables and honey. For those wanting to pick their own wild food, there’s plenty of opportunity for foraging, too. I can pick porcini and hedgehog mushrooms just a few minutes’ walk from my house, while short drives into the countryside reward me with wild herbs, salads and spinach.

Lido

Being so perfectly placed for such a wealth of fantastic producers, it’s no wonder Bristol isn’t a huge fan of the supermarket, and I hope we can keep it that way. We’ve got a fabulous array of independent food shops, particularly on Gloucester Road and Henleaze Road – traders like Hart’s Bakery, Buxton Butchers and The Fish Shop are perfect examples of what Bristol’s food scene is all about. Our markets need to continue to thrive and to become a viable shopping option for everyone; farmers’ markets offer a much-needed service but can be out of reach of the pockets of so many. We, as a country and a county, need real food markets where food is sold at its true cost.

Events like Bristol Food Connections festival, which launched last year, help to promote all-important discussions in the community about different food cultures, production of food and waste, as well as teaching people how to cook. I firmly believe that children need to be educated in the fundamentals of cooking and shopping for food early on.

“Bristol is about great food and great chefs – and that’s not just in our excellent fine dining establishments. I feel that much of the excitement and buzz of the food scene lies in casual dining options, from great burgers and beers at the likes of Three Brothers Burgers in the heart of the ‘Beermuda Triangle’ to pizzas at Prego. For incredible atmosphere and great small plates and tapas, look to Bravas or Bell’s Diner, and for classic dining head to The Glassboat. Of course I have to mention the relaxed, laid-back atmosphere and wood-fired cooking at the Lido, where I’ve been head chef since 2008. All of these options represent great value, fabulous ingredients and first-class cooking, perfect for even the most discerning foodie.”

Read the latest review of the Lido or discover brand new Bristol Food & Drink Guide online here, before it has even hit the shelves. If you’re like me and prefer a hard copy  you’ll see this free-to-pick-up guide around Bristol in the next few weeks.

 

Emma Cullen

Emma Cullen

Emma is an ex-Fed Up & Drunker that has been released into the wild

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