littlefrench, Bristol: restaurant review
Try sauterne-soaked scallops, Cheddar strawberries with chantilly cream and bargain Loire fizz at chef Freddy Bird’s debut solo restaurant, in Bristol’s Westbury Park
Looking for restaurants in Bristol? Read our review of family-run restaurant, littlefrench, and check out more suggestions for eating in Bristol here.
littlefrench in a nutshell
One of Bristol’s most talked about new openings for 2019, Freddy Bird’s family-run restaurant in Westbury Park serves up hearty, regional French dishes which deliver on every level.
A regular face on the likes of Saturday Kitchen and Sunday Brunch, Ballymaloe-trained Freddy worked with Phil Howard at The Square, and at Sam and Sam Clark’s Moro before moving back to Bristol as exec chef at the Lido Bristol, and most recently, the Thames Lido in Reading. Littlefrench is his first solo venture.
What's the vibe?
Freddy’s wife Nessa has put her stamp on the chic interiors, which are a simple mix of turquoise banquettes set against exposed brick walls, with wooden tables and chairs softened with feature wallpaper, statement lighting, shelves of wine and plenty of houseplants. You can sit at the bar for drinks and snacks, bagsy the booth by the kitchen with friends, or bring a partner (or someone who loves food) for a date night. The team are as knowledgeable as they are friendly, and it was packed and buzzing on our Monday night visit.
What's the food like at littlefrench?
With a menu of snacks, starters, mains, sharers and sides (plus a plat du jour with a glass of wine for just £15), you get the feeling Freddy’s trying to feed you up. Let him. A ‘snack’ of chargrilled baby monkfish is the juiciest we’ve ever tried, served with sauce vierge, fresh basil and a decent thwack of woodsmoke. We down massive oysters with shallot vinegar for a saline hit, seriously good olives sweet with garlic and rosemary, and creamy fizz from the Loire at just £5.50 a glass.
Roast queen scallops are a perfect balance of sweet, salty and sour with sauternes, gently pickled shallots and butter, while wood-grilled Pyrenean lamb is a knockout – smoky, melting and served with a new season garlic purée, Tenderstem broccoli and a punchy anchoïade (a Provençal garlic and anchovy dip) that doesn’t mess about. Cheddar strawberries, simply macerated, taste intensely of themselves and come with chantilly cream, while a prune and armagnac tart is surprisingly light. Put simply, it’s exceptionally good and one of those meals that makes us smile from start to finish. Open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, Freddy’s got the neighbourhood thing well and truly nailed.
And the drinks?
The wine is great, mostly French, and a big focal point, with an extensive and thoughtful list as well as some special additions from the cellar, being sold at cost price, plus £20.
Freddy’s mum makes all the crockery and ceramics for the restaurant and we’re told the covetable plates and cute espresso cups will soon be available to buy.
littlefrench, 2B North View, Westbury Park, Bristol BS6 7QB
Words by Kate Authers
Exterior photo by Timothy Soar, interiors and food photos by Kirstie Young