After a dog of a meal in Notting Hill, an absolute delight in Bristol.

Off to Devon for a long weekend (at the Cary Arms in Babbacombe, which is fantastic, but that's another story). And we broke up the journey with lunch in Bristol. I really like Bristol. Not too big, not too small, lovely countryside, close to Bath, lovely Georgian houses. And a fantastic little restaurant called Lido.

It does what it says on the tin. It's an (extremely cold, according to my three-year-old daughter who had a post-lunch dip) open air pool hidden behind a ramshackle terrace and a dodgy-looking pub. There's a bar downstairs serving what was described as tapas but which encompassed everything from patatas bravas and jamon iberico to tempura fried oysters with oriental dressing. And the restaurant upstairs, where you sit and look out over the (very beautiful) pool and changing huts. The tables around us were populated by businessmen in smart suits and ladies in towelling robes and flip flops with wet hair and glasses of champagne.


I'd been introduced to Lido a while ago by my chum Peter Morris at Burges Salmon*. The food was first rate then, and it is absolutely storming now. The open kitchen has a wood-burning oven and turns out a combination of Spanish and North African dishes. Lots of octopus, iberico pork, chickpeas, harissa, okra, all that jazz. Very much like Moro, only cheaper and with a better view. It was a Radio Caroline of wine lists, all the greats. They made an ice cream wih chocolate and stout. The staff were lovely. I told our waiter that the meal was so good we'd have to come back on our return to London.

And we did. As Michelin would say, it may not be worth a special journey but it's certainly worth a detour. If I lived in Bristol I'd be there every week.

*And also, as I have been asked to point out, the lovely David Shufflebotham and Alex Flatman, then at BS, now at OC, sorry for the ommission chaps...