Drift caught up with Kristian Crews just before Bristol’s discerning bikers and surfers stormed his restaurant and shop ‘Spoke and Stringer’ hungry for Poached Eggs & Bloody Mary’s.
‘The menu’s based on travel experiences. Brunch is very Perth, Western Australia, and a little Sydney-like. Poached egg and smashed avos on sourdough that sort of thing. And in the evening it turns into a Basque-style pintxos/tapas joint. We’ve got a licensed bar with live music’. Spoke and stringer is crewed by eight full-time and 25 staff overall in various roles and helmed by Kristian Crews a Devonian engineer.
How does a gas and oil specialist end up creating one of Bristol’s coolest harbour-side restaurants? Via the Gower peninsular and thumping Indo peaks, apparently.
‘I studied engineering at Swansea Uni before heading to WA for a few years’. The surf in Western Australia is world class and heavy, but when Kristian need a holiday and as it’s cheaper to fly to Lakey’s than to Noosa or Bells so there’s little option. Vacations were spent in firing Nias or exploring uncharted Sumbawa.
So when it was time to return to Blighty he moved to Bristol, a biker’s city
But eventually he found himself tiring of the conformity of engineering. ‘It didn’t take me long to get over turbines’. So when it was time to return to Blighty he moved to Bristol, a biker’s city. ‘I was always mad about bikes. I’d been into the early Japanese motorcycle scene and I’ve surfed all my life, so I wanted to create something around the things I was always talking about – bikes and boards. I wanted to pull together those two loves and that manifested itself in Spoke and Stringer’
The original inspiration came from a cocktail restaurant that was also a furniture shop, a pizzeria and an art gallery. It was a place that defied convention and yet it was still distinctive and successful. It was the catalyst for Crews to pull together each of his passions, food, beer, bikes and boards, into a single entity with a unique Scandinavian influenced style.
Most of the boards stocked are handmade. Kristian’s present favourite is his Twin Fin from Akotze France
‘We’ve got a café – bar – shop in a single body with a single look and a single vibe and identity.’ Spoke and Stringer tries to support the smaller independent brands that are attempting to tell their own stories in a new way, with unique cuts, patterns and manifestos. Most of the boards stocked are handmade. Kristian’s present favourite is his Twin Fin from Akotze France ‘loads of volume. So fun! It just flies’
The lunch crowds are massing.
After Indo how does the Gower compare? ‘Ok it’s not Indo but it’s good option. It’s really underrated; there are loads of little unexplored spots in the right conditions. It’s great for us here’. All the Spoke and Stringer crew have to do is open the throttle and in a few hours they’re gliding into some soulful Welsh waves miles from the city centre. ‘It may be a bit clichéd but both biking and surfing are about escapism and freedom, but then again who doesn’t want that?’
Spoke & Stringer is open for Brunch; Monday – Friday 08:30-15:00 Weekends 10:00-14:30 Evening Pintxos / Tapas; Tuesday –Saturday 18:30-21:30
Check out www.spokeandstringer.com