Thursday, 9 February 2012

Bristol Lido - A Stolen Day & My New Favourite Place

My husband and I stole a day today.  With children safely at school in South Devon, we headed to Bristol primarily to visit Bristol Lido for lunch, secondarily to stroll around and buy CDs, clothes from Yumi and generally have a day to ourselves.

When you hear lots of good stuff about a place, you just don't want to be disappointed.  A couple of friends had recommended, Tripadvisor has good reviews...I used to go there as a child...we were driving nearly two hours to get there... would it live up to expectations?

The kitchen has an impressive wood-fired oven blazing away, which the chefs really make the most of. 

Our starter was Wood Roast Scallops with Sweet Herb and Garlic Butter.  Mopped up with some hunks of rustic bread - this was heavenly and infused with tarragon.

 My husband had a good dish of tagliatelli with pheasant - very pleasant pheasant, creamy and competent, but he was jealous of my choice for sure. I had Wood Roast Sole with Seville Orange Butter Sauce and Crispy Capers.

 A huge piece of beautifully cooked fish that was crispy, citrusy and had a wonderful and unusual taste - really powerful and not the usual gentle treatment of fish - I loved its boldness.  The waiter was charming and totally on-the-ball.  I asked what the green veg was and they were a form of Italian turnip tops - I had assumed they were sorrel.  They went really well with the fish and capers.  There is an artist at work in this kitchen - they don't just bung things on a plate and hope for the best - they think, taste and actually want the diner to have an 'experience'.  Yes, this is indeed what we want!  I want my tastebuds to tingle and to feel excited by a dish.

I wolfed down the homemade Chocolate and Stout Ice Cream without taking a decent photo - which shows that it was very good.  I couldn't taste the stout - but it was creamy and smooth.

I used to swim here when I was a teenager, OK, I'm not that old, but it did look something like this (only we had colour in the 80s).

The new renovation has made it a wonderful space and the fantastic food is the proverbial 'icing on the cake' - I would  have lurved to have a spa / swim / sauna / massage but that was not on the cards today.  So we had lunch in the upstairs restaurant overlooking the pool.  It's a bit of a voyeuristic experience watching the swimmers.

Now a note on Teignmouth where I live, we have an open air pool and we all call it the Lie-doe, but in Bristol it appears they use the more correct Italian Lee-doe.  Lie-doe, Lee-doe?  Who cares?  The food's amazing, it's a great relaxing space and I can't wait to return.  Very soon. Without the children.

Price-wise: lunch is £15 for two courses and £20 for three, and there is also a scrummy sounding tapas menu.  There are 'deals' that include a swim/sauna/hot tub and meal.

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