We’ve all seen the statistics about those London types who are fleeing the city in their droves, escaping the hustle and bustle of the capital for laid-back Bristol.
“Easton today is like Hackney was 15 years’ ago,” declared The Sunday Times last week, and that dreaded and oft-maligned term ‘gentrification’ often goes side-by-side with an influx of newbies.
These are probably the type who insist on calling Bedminster ‘Bedmo’ rather than ‘Bemmie’, or so the debate in the pages of the Bristol Post has gone recently.
Of course, new arrivals from London also bring with them a huge number of benefits.
The latest arrival is overflowing with positives and won’t even take that much sought-after primary school place from your four-year-old daughter, even if she is learning the harp and attends church every Sunday.
Spuntino opened with little fanfare on the first floor of Cargo 2 on Saturday, but by mid-afternoon every table on its outdoor terrace had been taken. The same pattern was repeated on Sunday, with not just the sunny weather tempting punters onto the balcony and inside, if there wasn’t any space outside.
Cocktails here cost from £8, with a smooth Old Fashioned made with Four Roses bourbon showing that the bartenders here can do the classics very well.
There are also cocktails of the non-alcoholic variety and a commendable variety of local beers from Moor, Wild Beer and Wiper & True. Among the wines are house varieties of red, white and prosecco from sister business Polpo, as well as almost a dozen different bourbons.
With this bar open until midnight on Friday and Saturday, it could soon become a choice hangout, even for people who don’t care what the correct nickname for Bedminster is.
Rather bland popcorn is offered free of charge, but it can be given extra flavour by some paprika.
An eagle rock dog (£7.50) is Spuntino’s version of a hot dog and particularly good: a frankfurter sausage within a steamed bun, on top of which is slathered Russian dressing, Worcester sauce, pickles, fried onion and even crushed crisps. The Tube Diner‘s best Bristol hot dog crown is under threat.
Also from the food menu are snacks including bacon devilled eggs (£2) and buttermilk fried chicken (£4.80); burgers from £5.90; a decadent sharing plate of mac & cheese with added lobster for £11; and desserts from £6.50.
This is only the second Spuntino to open in the UK, following the Soho original. That is described on its website simply as “27 stools and a popcorn machine”, with its younger cousin’s description no less enigmatic: “A converted shipping container and outdoor seating.”
This was the perfect weekend to showcase the outdoor seating, and with the likes of Box-E, Chicken Shed and Woky-Ko, we are already accustomed to eating and drinking very well in converted shipping containers; with Spuntino joined this weekend by The Athenian, Oliver’s Ice Cream and Bristol Cheesemonger among the first businesses to open in Cargo 2.
So let’s welcome those London types to Bristol with open arms. Especially if they bring with them bars like Spuntino.
Spuntino, Cargo 2, Wapping Wharf, Bristol, BS1 4RW
Read more: Polpo – restaurant review