SquareMeal Review of Little French
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 Freddie 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.
About Little French
Little French is a quaint, family-run independent restaurant in the heart of Westbury Park village. The French restaurant is a local gem with a daily changing menu, curated by chef Freddy Bird.
The charming French restaurant interior manages to seamlessly merge its bricks and mortar location with its cuisine, to create a classy yet contemporary feel. The crockery and ceramics, which are all handmade by chef Bird’s wife Nessa, are featured throughout the restaurant. While the blue banquette seating and exposed brick channel some French bistro vibes. The atmosphere is friendly and buzzy, thanks to the hands-on approach from the family.
The restaurant takes an informal, casual approach to dining and really lets the food do the talking. The restaurant does brunch on the weekends in addition to the regular all day dining throughout the week. While you can’t expect the menu to be the same every time, the menu offers regional Gallic classics such as moules mariniere with frites and ox cheek bourguignon.
Little French is suitable for individual eating or for sharing, as they also do larger plates of wholesome dishes such as guinea fowl or gilt head bream. You’ll want to stick around for desserts such as prune and Armagnac tart and mousse au chocolat, too. The food at Little French is regularly extolled by regular patrons for its great service and exciting take on dishes – offering authenticity with a modern refresh. There is certainly an atmosphere of passion for good food.
The brunch offering takes a slightly French lean, although you can expect a handful of eggs dishes such as benedict, homemade granola, and a daily baked sourdough with jams sourced from France. The restaurant has also been featured on several shows, and as Bird’s first solo restaurant it gets very busy, so it’s best to book in advance to get a slice of Little French’s Gallic offering.