Eats: Lido Spa & Restaurant, Bristol

I’d wanted to visit the restaurant at the Lido in Bristol for some time, and at the beginning of the month finally went along with my husband Chris, father-in-law Al and step-mother-in-law, Jan. We had a voucher (shock!) that we had purchased during their Advent event in December, which for £30 per couple entitled us to the set menu and a glass of prosecco – utterly bargainous we thought! That said, the set menu runs throughout the year (except Dec) and is very reasonably priced anyhow – with 1/2/3 courses costing only £12/16/£20 per head, available daily at lunch and up to 6.45pm every evening except on Saturdays. It changes regularly, but you can see what was available on the day we visited below.

Lido ‘Set Menu’ on Sunday 3rd Feb.

The restaurant and bar at the Lido are accessed via a side entrance on Southleigh Road, while spa and pool access is via the ‘main’ entrance on Oakfield Place. The bar and restaurant are split over two levels, with the tapas bar downstairs, and the restaurant on the upper level. This gives restaurant diners better poolside views, with what felt like higher ceilings plus floor to ceiling windows giving a (slightly) lighter, brighter feel than the downstairs area.

We were shown to our table, and as we were dining early managed to nab one of those next to the aforementioned windows, giving us an uninterrupted view of the Sunday swimmers. We were also blessed that on the day we visited while it was bitterly cold, the sun was shining and there were bright blue skies, which always makes everything look that much prettier and added to the overall feel of the restaurant.

Service was attentive but not overbearing throughout, with particular kudos to the gent who seated us. Staff were happy to swap what should have been prosecco on our vouchers, to glasses of red for my in-laws, and also provided olives as a gluten free alternative to the absolutely delicious (complimentary) bread and oil that was brought over before our meal started. Even better – the bread was served warm, so it was incredibly hard to save some for my starter with the wonderful smell wafting toward me! Yum.

If I have to be critical, (and I do – because I want this to be a genuine blog!) I believe the wine glasses should have been removed from our table when it was apparent we were not ordering a bottle as we didn’t have loads of room. Also towards the end, I did feel like we were being watched and our waitress was waiting for us to leave, but due to our in-laws arriving late we had overstayed two hours so they may have been waiting for the table (although the restaurant wasn’t overly busy and others were available).

Warm Bread & Olive Oil.

Back to that bread, very glad I managed to keep some back as it went so well with my soup! Full disclaimer: I’m not one to order soup in a restaurant, I think it’s ‘boring’ and will usually chose any other option. In fact after having soup on a daily basis at work for months, I went on a self imposed soup strike just after Christmas. However I really love red lentils, so not having had them for ages the ‘Turkish Red Lentil Soup, Yoghurt & Coriander’ was enough to tempt me to give it a go! And I’m so glad I did, as it was absolutely delicious. It was thick and hearty, full of warm Turkish flavours. The yoghurt and coriander helped keep it interesting on the palate (no worries over boring here!) and while it may not be classy, I loved dunking the bread in too.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup, Yoghurt & Coriander.

For my main, I ordered the ‘Pumpkin, spinach, raisin and chestnut empanadilla, quince, chicory’ as I’m one of the very few that don’t like pork belly (controversial I know, but the texture and fat make me gag) and while I’m a fish lover I’m useless at de-boning. Confession time – prior to reading the menu I wasn’t aware of what an empadadilla was, although I guessed it was related to the empanada, which I ate a fair few of when travelling in South America. Luckily I was right, and they are right, and are essentially a Spanish/South American pasty, with a dough folded over a filling then baked or fried.

Google says the empanadilla is the smaller of the two – but this was larger than any empanada I had on my travels! The pastry was thin and crispy and stuffed to the brim with the exotically spiced filling, which, stupidly, I failed to get a picture of. (But most importantly – no air bubbles here). The quince and chicory added tart and bitter flavours to the dish, which with so many ingredients and spices inside the empanadilla I’m not sure were really needed – personally I thought there was too much going on and it clashed a little. It was nice though and presented beautifully.

Chris and Al went for the pork belly option, which they both enjoyed and came with carrots and lentils (and that quince again!), but I think they were both a little jealous of the golden fried potatoes that accompanied Jans wood roast whole plaice, which she too enjoyed.

Pumpkin, spinach, raisin and chestnut empanadilla, quince, chicory.

Its hard to say the star of the show, as I really loved the soup, but dessert may just have had the edge? Regular readers (if I have any 🤷‍♀️ doubtful I know) will remember I believe all puddings should be chocolate based, so naturally I went for the Chocolate and brandy mousse, whipped cream, hazelnut praline. And it was heavenly!! The ‘mousse’ to me wasn’t really a mousse, as it was really quite dense. I’ll be totally honest I didn’t get much brandy flavour from it, but that didn’t detract from my experience. This dish gave my taste buds great joy! There was possibly a little too much whipped cream for my taste, but the praline I could have had more of – it was crunchy, divine and added wonderful texture.

Chocolate and brandy mousse, whipped cream, hazelnut praline.

My starters and desserts were really delicious, the service was good and it was a really lovely setting for a meal. So while it’s true that my main meal didn’t make my heart sing, I was overall impressed with our visit to The Lido.

I would definitely return again, and chatting with the family they felt the same too. I’d actually really like to try the tapas – we were seated close to the kitchen and saw it all floating past and it looked gorgeous!

The Verdict

Food: 8
Service: 8
Ambience: 8
Value: 10
Overall: 8.5/10

Where: Oakfield Pl, Bristol BS8 2BJ (restaurant entrance on Southleigh Road)

As ever, many thanks for reading! 🙂

Lizzie xxx

‘Take a picture of me Lizzie!’ (He liked it really – honest!! 🤣)

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