Unpretentious French fare, pleasing wines at sensible prices and a relaxed, friendly vibe are all to be found in abundance at this neighbourhood charmer run by chef-patron Freddy Bird. A familiar face, thanks to his appearances on the likes of BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, Bristol-born Bird decided that 2019 was the year to up sticks from The Lido in Clifton, where he was head chef for a decade, and open his first solo restaurant in Westbury Park.
The decor channels both traditional French Bistro and contemporary bohemian Bristol while the hand-thrown crockery and ceramics are all designed by Bird’s wife Nessa, who also works front of house. Exposed brickwork, strikingly blue banquette seating and industrial lighting set the scene for the kind of full-bodied Gallic cooking that has kept the restaurant busy with chattering diners since opening, from bar snacks such as sourdough with cultured butter, and chargrilled baby monkfish with sauce vièrge, to the hearty dishes on the main menu.
The menu at Little French changes all the time but you might find starters such as parsley soup with snails, Champagne risotto with Scottish girolles and fillet steak tartare. Wonderfully uncomplicated mains could take the form of duck breast served with garlic and rosemary potatoes, Provence black figs and thyme or wood-grilled Pyrenean lamb with Roscoff onion purée and anchoïade, while puddings could be anything from mousse au chocolat to prune and Armagnac tart with custard. The extensive and carefully curated wine list offers a diverse selection of affordable wines by the glass, as well as an impressive range of cellar wines.
The restaurant also serves up a selection of brunch dishes at weekends, including eggs Benedict, homemade granola and fresh fruit, and daily baked sourdough bread with French jams that go hand in hand with a cup of locally roasted coffee. You’ll need to book though; this place has been packed out since day one.