Freddy Bird has opened his first solo restaurant in Westbury Park.
The Bristol chef has taken over the former Mesa site and created a Little French, a welcoming neighbourhood restaurant where you can expect all the indulgences our continental cousins are known for (think great cheese, awesome wines and decadent food) but with chilled out vibes and pretty approachable price tags.
Dark blues, teals and copper make for a stylish dining room, designed by Ness Bird, Freddy’s wife. Ivy-coated pendant lights hang over the metallic-topped bar, and banquette seating lines the exposed brick wall down one side of the space. At the back are a couple of more secluded tables, ideal for larger groups.
That’s exactly where we sat for the recent soft launch, where we kicked off with a Champagne risotto that came piled with a heap of grated summer truffle (£8.50) before moving onto braised artichokes with tomato, crème fraîche and dill, served with toasted sourdough (£15.50). Layered with rich flavour, this is food that feels like a real treat without giving off the slightest whiff of fussiness or pretension.
Also looking great on the menu are the likes of courgette flowers with goat’s curd and sauce vérge (£7), whole roast turbot with tartare hollandaise and Jersey Royals for two to share (£48) and sticky, slow-cooked beef short rib with glazed carrots and carrot purée.
Formerly of the Bristol Lido – where he headed up the kitchen for a decade as well as being executive chef for the Glassboat and Three Brothers – Freddy is known for his focus on of top-notch ingredients and his ability to really make them really shine in his cooking. Oh, and for his monthly Crumbs column, obvs.