Little French in Westbury Park, Bristol has been getting rave reviews in the national papers since it opened. It is building a great reputation for excellent, unpretentious french bistro food in a relaxed neighbourhood environment. French bistro doesn’t exactly scream vegan but as it was my fathers birthday and he considers himself a bit of a bon viveur, I decided to take my chances.
The menu does have a vegetarian dish for each course but no vegan options. After calling ahead to let them know I was vegan, my heart sank slightly when I arrived and was told “I’ll tell the chef and come back to you”. I shouldn’t have worried. Not only was the food impressive but if the chef came up with that on the hoof, it was truly spectacular.
My starter of mushrooms on sourdough bread may not be unusual but when executed this well it is a joy. Piles of silky, woody, garlicky mushrooms on a slice of bread drenched in olive oil was a perfect starter and I really enjoyed the freshness and simplicity of the dish.
My main took the beefsteak tomato from one menu item, the tapenade from another and created a deliciously creative dish that still retained the frenchness of the menu. The dressing of green olives and capers in an olive oil was perfect dunking for the sour dough bread.
The pudding was a real star. Again it took elements from the daily menu – the roasted figs and candied walnuts but added a sauce that I can only describe as extraordinary. I would never think that tahini would work in a pudding but somehow it retained the taste and texture of tahini while also being just sweet enough to complement the roasted figs and candied walnuts. Unusual, exciting and so flavourful.
It is very rare to go somewhere non-vegan and be blown away by the food (or even vegan!) but this meal demonstrated how simple flavours, put together well can make a truly sublime meal. I am not sure how keen the restaurant will be! – but phone ahead, let them know you are vegan and expect one of the best meals you are likely to have in Bristol.
Vegan options: Not as standard 2/5 (but 5/5 for the actual meal)
Ambience: really captures that neighbourhood bistro vibe – 4/5
Value for money: Around £90 for two three course lunches with wine. 5/5