Tue. Feb 20th, 2024

The Lido Kitchen, Portishead: Review

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Having opened on March 30th, in time for the new season of the 50th anniversary of the Portishead Lido, The Lido Kitchen is the newest addition to Portishead’s restaurant scene. Set in the former poolside cafe at the open air swimming pool, the venue is the brainchild of local businessman James Savage – part of the team behind successful Bristol venues The Spotted Cow and The Bank, among others.

James’ expertise is combined with a man of similar calibre behind the food. Nathan Muir, known to many as the force behind the success of The Robin Hood’s Retreat and The New Inn at Backwell, has created a range of menus for The Lido Kitchen that provide freshly cooked food at affordable prices at all times of the day. You can see sample menus here.

Their breakfast menu looks fantastic, and a la carte menus are on offer for both lunch and dinner service. A range of tapas options, priced at around £4 per dish, gives diners an alternative option, and when the pool re-opens in mid-April, a range of poolside options – including ice creams and hot dogs – will also be available.

We visited on a Tuesday lunchtime, when we were offered a choice of a la carte dishes including ciabatta sandwiches and hot food options. On this occasion, however, we opted for the very reasonably priced set lunch menu, offering a choice of three starters, three mains and three desserts, priced at £9 for two courses or £11.50 for three.

We passed on the extensive range of spirits, wine list and draught beers and cider (Bath Ales Gem, Stowford Press and Estrella), and instead opted for an elderflower and rose soft drink from local company Lovely Drinks to accompany our meal.

While we waited for our food to be served, we took the opportunity to observe our surroundings. Wooden tables are paired with a mismatched selection of chairs, and one corner of the room is a dedicated lounge area, with comfortable-looking sofas and a wood burning stove. The orange theme running through the restaurant – from the chairs to the flowers to the wall behind the bar – gives the whole place a fresh and vibrant feel, and this, combined with the massive windows with views of the Severn Estuary (and the Lido itself on one side) and modern wood-panelled bar, almost makes you feel like you’re eating in a beach hut.

At 1pm on a Tuesday not long past the opening date, the restaurant was fairly busy, giving a lovely buzz to the place.

My dining companion chose the house rillette with toast and pickles as her starter, an attractively presented dish served on a slate and garnished with cucumber, spring onions and parsley. “Meaty, satisfying and really tasty”, was how she described the dish, saying that it was a generous portion, but she would have liked more bread to go with the vast quantities of beautifully sweet and tangy chutney and meat.



For my starter, the potato soup with a blue cheese rarebit. A bit of a contrast here in the presentation, with mine served on top of a serviette, presumably to prevent the bowl from sliding across the plate. From smart bistro style presentation of my friend’s starter to a much more informal presentation of mine, it all seemed a little confused. No complaints with the meal itself, though – the portion of soup was huge, but wonderfully creamy with a peppery kick to each mouthful. The rarebit could well have been overpoweringly salty, with the vast amount of Stilton sitting on top, but this was tempered by the addition of caramelised onions and small chunks of sweet pear. Very happy indeed.



We had both ordered the same main course (the Lido cafe steak burger, served with French fries, tomato relish, Stilton, onions and salad), but had very different opinions of our mains – hence I’m always keen to point out that my write ups are always very much based on my personal experience on the day! We both agreed that the plate of food was beautifully presented (although those black serviettes made an appearance again, which was a little odd), and the portion was enormous, especially for a lunchtime meal.

Personally, I thought the burger was delicious, the meat slightly charred on the outside, the inside still ever so slightly pink, and the meat held its own against a perfectly portioned topping of melted Stilton and caramelised onions for the size of the burger. The size of the plate of food was a little daunting, though, and I found myself apologetically leaving some of my meal.

My friend also commented that the patty was little bit too big for her, personally, and hers didn’t have the same amount of charring on the outside for taste. Her view was that it could have done with being reduced by a third and cooked more fiercely.



The rapidity with which our stomachs were filling meant that we opted for a dessert to share, and it was the rhubarb crumble with pouring cream that had caught our eye as soon as we had sat down to look at the menu. Two of The Lido Kitchen’s employees had – independently of each other – recommended the crumble on the day, so it would have been rude not to!

We weren’t disappointed. The rhubarb itself was sweet, but still with a wonderful tartness to it, and the topping was incredibly well-executed, crispy and toasted on top but still with a melt-in-the-mouth consistency. My dining companion was particularly enamoured with the fact that it was served with cream as opposed to custard as, in her opinion, cream is “the one true way for crumble accompaniments”.



All in all, a great meal and fantastic value for money. While the burger wasn’t to my friend’s tastes, it’s all a matter of subjectivity, and she’s still keen on a return visit: we’re both keen to try the tapas in particular. I’d like to head back when the pool is open – both for a swim and to check out their poolside menu – and I wish James and the team the best of luck. I’m sure that this place is going to be a success.


Please note: while Bristol Bites has had some involvement in promoting The Lido Kitchen in advance of its opening date, this in no way impacts on the validity of this review.


Find The Lido Kitchen on the Bristol Bites Directory…

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18 thoughts on “The Lido Kitchen, Portishead: Review”
    1. Definitely keen to go back for more of the crumble! We'll have to pay them a return visit for tapas soon…

  1. Please can someone explain to me the validity of a review written by the person who has done the PR for the restaurant reviewed. Very dubious. Unethical even. How can this review, and any others now for that matter, be taken seriously? I would love to hear your response to this, Emily.

    1. "Bobby".

      Thank you for your comment. You are absolutely right – a note about our involvement with The Lido Kitchen should have been added to the bottom of the article but was missed – this has now been rectified. I can assure you, though, that this has not happened before, and will not happen again.

      All of the reviews on the Bristol Bites site are based on my personal experience on the day: regardless of the circumstances. It is very rare that I'll say that a meal is 100% perfect, which you will realise if (and I'm guessing from your comment on my Mamma Mia review that you have) you have read other reviews posted on the site.

      The aim of the reviews section of the site is to share my experiences with other residents of and visitors to Bristol, not to pander to the desires of those who own the businesses in question. The fact that I have authorised your comment, taken your point on board and responded to it shows that I have nothing to hide.


      1. Well done Emily – you're quite right to accept the mistake and rectify it publicly.
        "Bobby" – I hope you accept Em's reply in good faith.

  2. Ahh, Bobby, so you know that Emily did the PR for the Lido. You must have recieved the press release so I imagine you work in journalism, probably food-related. Interesting. I wonder who you really are?

    1. That's the thing with troll Rachael – they demand ethics and transparency, and complain when they don't get it, but only when they can hide behind a PC screen and a pseudonym. Pathetic really

  3. To respond to a few points:

    1) Thanks for clarifying your position, Emily. But I disagree that it was a mistake and I doubt whether a note would have been added if I had not commented.

    2) Bristol is a small place. I know people in the food trade and PR world. Emily wouldn’t be doing a good job if it was only known to a few people that she was PR-ing this new restaurant.

    3) Mark Taylor’s review in today’s Bristol Evening Post is a well-written piece. But I am not he.

    4) Neither am I a ‘troll’. Seems rather a case of shooting the messenger. Chris, calling someone pathetic is not needed. I was only criticizing this unethical hoodwinking professionally and with some justification, as you yourself admit.

    1. A genuine oversight, and one that I was happy to hold my hands up to. I could simply have ignored your comment and not approved it, but I didn't: if I really were trying to pull the wool over people's eyes, I could easily have simply deleted your post. I've read the review in the EP today, and you'll see that it is also a positive write up. No scandal here, I'm afraid.

  4. We have found Bristol Bites a perfect marker for our nights out. We stumbbled across this website by chance, and from our own experiences, have found the write ups to be more than helpful.I do not know if this is Emilys only income, but can only commend her on going to so many restuarants in Bristol, and I imagine paying her own money so others in this wonderful city can benefit. I would imagine it takes some time to write these 'blogs'. I have since joined her on Twitter, and with a following of over of over 1800 people, that is a testimonial in itself.Your comments are not only negative, but unhelpful. Your obviously have an ulterior motive.Instead of criticising, what is a free and helpful website, maybe you should take your comments elsewhere because the other 1800 odd followers find it quite helpful. It is childish and pathetic.I back the previous comments up – Who are you, and why are you doing this? If its such a bad website, why take the time to comment? You are obviously a talented food blooger – so come on then, whats your website? 'Very dubious and unethical even' – Your words, not mine.

  5. just been not enough staff on. waited an age for a few small portions of tapas. defeated the object of tapas. tasty enough but spent an age waiting for it and it cost forty quid for a tiny snack in rip off britain. i'll pop in for a drink but done the food thing there now. lockside much better.

  6. John, the very fact that this blog has a large number of followers on Twitter means that a very large number of people were originally misled into thinking that this was a completely unbiased review when due to the fact that the restaurant employed Emily as their PR person could not possibly be entirely 100% true.

    Emily, I’m not looking for a scandal. I just am fed up with this website misleading readers. Did you pay for this meal? If not, say so, because that means you get special treatment which other people will not get.

    What is wrong with criticizing? I am just trying to be helpful. Any critic should be able to take criticism. And no, I am not a ‘talented food blooger’. And why should I be? When John Motson criticizes a footballer, do people demand to know what football team he plays for?

    For the record, my name is Bob Holloway. I am 28 and I live in Horfield.

  7. We had the most awful experience of morning coffee here today. Cold coffee followed a good 10mins later by a tea cake with the most grim 'butter' ever! Anothere family were also complaining about very bad breakfast and we were all told not to bother paying. Come on lido, you've got the best views and building there, so up your game and dish up decent good quality food, not cheap stuff at high prices. And why oh why, bring drinks before we've even been asked what food we want?? Unless it's extra coffee on the house this doesn't work!!!

  8. We had the tapas last night. For English tapas which is ALWAY poor, this was on the better side. Portions were almost cheekily small, though not quite. Barman could have been friendlier…first words were a stern "have you booked?" followed by "there's a half hour wait for food" said with almost glee!… but the female waitress is very friendly…what a difference a smile makes.
    I am not allowed to order calamari in England because my girlfriend says I KNOW it will be bad/overcooked so why put myself through it. hence i haven't at the Lido…would be interested in hearing from anyone who has? They appear to WANT to be good there, so I will be trying a main meal at some point.

  9. please next time you are in portishead try the lock keeper as it recently opened up and definetly cooking so great and interesting food…. ignore whats on the website as it doesnt get updated im sure, it would be great to see what you think. Or anyone reading this post

  10. Ok, so this is a food blog, but remember that when you eat out you are paying for the whole experience or you would still be at home. This has to be one of the finest venues that is yet to be discovered by most people in the region. I’ve seen Portishead change in the recent years and the Lido Kitchen offers the type of atmosphere that is very popular at the moment, especially with its subtle recycled, clean, contemporary theme. More importantly, it’s a place where you can relax without any pretentious people in the background. My advice is to go and check it out for yourself because food, like most things in life, is very subjective. I’ve only been in the daytime but I bet this is a fantastic place to eat in the evening!

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