Our visit to the Lido in the heart of Clifton, Bristol’s leafy and affluent suburb, was the perfect way to make the most of a mild sunny evening. Lauded for giving the Victorian swimming pool a new lease of life, the team behind Bristol Lido has transformed it into a stunning spa, bar and restaurant headed up by Freddy Bird, one of Bristol’s most celebrated chefs.
Before heading to the restaurant upstairs we noticed a relaxed and informal bar area where patrons were grazing on tapas and enjoying a relaxed post-swim drink. We took a seat on the upper mezzanine overlooking the sparkling blue water and sipped red wine as we perused the impressive menu.
Mediterranean influences are evident in the food offering, which demonstrates Freddy Bird’s signature flair and exciting flavour combinations. The starters were varied and enticing; after some deliberation I settled on the creamy burrata, which was enhanced by the fresh flavours of broad beans, raw peas and yuzu-infused Arbequina olive oil, and sprinkled generously with dukkah and sea salt. My partner sampled the smoky wood-roast scallops served in the shell with sweet herb and garlic butter – the depth of flavour was incomparable. I followed with beautifully grilled lamb chops, served with arrocina beans, grelos, crispy sweetbreads and salsa verde – a seasonal feast for the senses. My companion opted for the arroz con caracoles: wood-baked snails presented atop bomba rice with wild hops, chorizo, parsley and garlic. It was a beautifully simple dish, but with unique and exciting flavours. Keen to try a side dish, we shared hispi cabbage flavoured with jamon iberico butter. We both remarked upon the freshness of our meals, which showcased the best of locally sourced ingredients elevated by the perfect balance of fresh herbs and seasoning. The house red wine from La Mancha was the perfect tipple to accompany our feast.
To conclude our meal in style, we sampled a selection of ice cream and sorbet that tasted as fresh as their primary ingredients, among which were pineapple, rhubarb, lemon and bay, fresh mint and chocolate chips. My personal favourite was the devilish Pedro Ximénez and raisin ice cream. With friendly staff, efficient service and exquisite dishes that are sure to inspire even the most discerning of foodies, Bristol Lido is an unrivalled dining destination waiting to be discovered.