Griff Holland, despite his name, is not Welsh, or Dutch even. Well, I suppose he might be but he certainly doesn’t sound it. Griff, and his pal Ed, are the brains behind Bristol based micro-chain Friska Foods.
I first came across Griff in the Victoria Street branch of Friska – the first of 4 outlets to open across Bristol. He’s a very personable guy. Makes a point of learning names (which is a skill I am completely in awe of given I don’t know some people’s names who I’ve met 10 times). I’m in no doubt this is what has made his business such a success. That, and the bloody amazing and incredibly well priced food he knocks out.
When I found out Friska were taking over the bottom floor of Rise Records (on the Triangle) – putting in a licensed restaurant that would be open in the evenings – I couldn’t help but press Griff to consider a good, locally sourced beer menu.
We met (for a beer unsurprisingly) and agreed to concoct a menu with interesting, forward thinking breweries, preferably from the South West but with an eye on featuring national breweries also.
Griff was very happy to allow me some free reign on the choices but obviously, having never run a restaurant or bar before, I was anxious to get his approval and backing on the choices. To achieve this, I short listed a number of good beers and ran a tasting session.
We got through a hell of a lot of beer (as you can see) but managed to whittle the choices down to Moor, Tiny Rebel, Otley and Wild Beer Factory. The plan being to rotate as and when it’s obvious what works and what doesn’t.
The food is a mix of slow cooked stews, tacos, pho, sandwiches and wraps, served on those tin white plates with blue edges (Jamie Oliver hasn’t used them all up surprisingly). Griff and Ed have a knack of knowing what works well with customers. I just hope I have that knack with the beer choices!
So now you can eat great, cheap food, buy excellent music, DVDs, books and clothes and drink awesome beer, all in one place in central Bristol. If that’s not your thing then you’re a weirdo!