Tapas Tips From Freddy Bird

Freddy Bird is having a busy year; not only is he the Executive Head Chef at the Lido Bristol with its award winning combination of swim, spa and tapas, he's recently co-presented C4's Hidden Restaurants alongside Michel Roux Jr and is also launching the Thames Lido this summer. We managed to grab a few moments with Freddy to find out more about his passion for Mediterranean food.

As fellow Bristolians we have enjoyed many tapas lunches at the Lido, is Mediterranean cuisine a particular favourite of yours?

Yes – it’s the variety of styles that can be found across the Med. Also unpretentious and simple, relying on great ingredients rather than over fussy preparation! It also lends itself so well to wood fired cooking, which I do a lot of!

We love an excuse to meet up with friends and family but like to keep it stress free - any tips for the perfect tapas selection when entertaining?

Choose great ingredients that need little or no cooking. Hunting out flavoursome cheeses, olives and pata negra is all part of the fun. Tapas has become elaborate and complicated but it doesn’t need to be. Simply cooked iberico pork, fresh squid and clams – cook them simply and choose some great sherry or wine to match!

We enjoyed your recent culinary adventures on 'Hidden Restaurants' with Michel Roux Jr. Which one stood out for you?

Probably the crab shack on Bryer – simple, perfectly prepared crab, beautiful surroundings and communal dining. I also loved the food on the Prince Regent (London Shell Co) – great cooking and focus on great wines….

Do you have a pet hate when dining out?

Smears and foams! Stiff, formal overly attentive service.

Finally, what's your guilty pleasure?


Thanks Freddy, some great tips there for tapas style entertaining. If you haven't tried the Lido Bristol we heartily recommend it. We love its easy-going atmosphere and friendly staff. You don't need to book a table for the poolside bar - just turn up! Be sure to check out the blog next week where Freddy will be sharing a Lido tapas recipe with us.

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