Your café has been attracting  more and more customers. Do you ever struggle with lack of room?
I do, but this is the way I wanted it. I like the space and I think it’s just about suitable for a beginner. In addition, you get to know who is who pretty well. Some people can easily make space for others without anyone having to tell them to, others don’t even think about it. You might call it school of tolerance.

One of the dominants of the space is a beautiful old coffee machine from Italy. Does it serve rather as a design feature, or is it something that helps make your coffee famous as well?
Faema E61 is significant because of its technical innovations it was constructed with in 1961 and those have influenced manufacture of other coffee machines ever since. Our machine has a tag with the date of production 17.3. 1967. Of course I had loved what it looked like and when I was looking for it online, I came across an ad offering this beauty I have. As for coffee, it is a bit ambiguous. I like the simple mechanic principle with no electronics, where the careful manipulation of a barista is extremely important. On the other hand, it doesn’t make the preparation of coffee for us any easier, as the entire setting has to be done manually, often with the assistance of a technician. Anyway, during the two years the café has been open, I think we’ve managed to tune it up and we are not afraid of dismantling it ourselves from time to time. Sometimes I think it was designed for women - it is round, logic, we like working with it.

The concept of the interior states your name and the result seems like the work of a professional architect. Have you had any prior experience dealing with interior design?
I have quite a few friends who are architects. That’s a great thing which happened to me during my short studies of clothing design at VŠUP. I dedicated around 10 years working at fashion brand Leeda, which I co - established, until I realized that I was making too many compromises and eventually it stopped making sense. So I dusted off an old vision of a café and immersed myself in it. I confess it was great therapy, a large portion of freedom that I had needed, where the result depended just on me. Luckily, I completely fell for running of the place too, caring for customers, pampering the employees and great human discoveries among providers of coffee and colleagues from the field, whom I value highly. The interior debut I later successfully defended, I hope, by the reconstruction of the EMA espresso bar, that I did in cooperation with architect Pavel Griz from The Molo Architects.

What is your stance on alternative methods of coffee preparation, as for instance the French press? Is it actually possible to make oneself good coffee at home?
I’m in love with aeropress. Totally. For me it is definitely the best and simplest way to prepare coffee. Great at home, on travels, everywhere. When you climb mountains with a backpack, you don’t carry around any extra weight, when you heat up water and the wind blows, you can’t control the temperature, when it’s cold, you don’t care about setting the grinder, the water you use is different each time. Only that way you’ll know all the tastes possible from one sack of coffee.

Your café is supplied with sweets from various bakers and food bloggers. How did you discover them?
For example blog Chez Lucie I had found about a year before we opened. I contacted her and during our meeting we talked just about food and sweets. I thought her overall enthusiasm was absolutely awesome and that, by the way, is also evident on her blog. I don’t think I know anyone else with such attitude. Detached view and honesty are indeed rare. So Lucie Dvořáková was the first. Another phenomenon at our place are kremrole. They come from a normal candy shop. I tasted it the first time at the farmer’s market at Dejvice and they were almost boiling, that is how hot it was, but they tasted amazing. The supplies are a little hard to rely on, we’ve wanted to change them several times, but there is not a place that has better kremrole and our customers love them. Currently, after a year of tuning, we’re starting to co-operate with a talented ice-cream maker of Tři kopečky. Her fantasy of flavours is infinite. The way I found her was just long searching, testing and waiting. It is worth it.

It is sometimes also you who prepares coffee behind the bar. Do you consider it a duty or is it what you enjoy about your work?
I really love this kind of work. It is important to me. I learn to  know what the customers want, and thanks to that, I know what to request from my employees. A lot things I can’t budge with for days get miraculously solved during the shift. Also I Need Coffee! has, regardless of a few dramatic exceptions, incomprehensibly stable atmosphere, which is good. As soon as I walk in, I feel better.

(Lucie Trnková, I Need Cofee! owner)


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You ran the very popular Hapu bar in Prague for a long time. Was the opening of bistro another step that you had planned from the beginning? Why was Hapu bar closed?
Hapu bar was our life. We were completely absorbed by it. Everything was for the first time and new. It seemed to last forever. Years had been flying by until we counted 16 of them. In the meantime, our kids were born and our lives changed. We started enjoying eating more than drinking. And thus, the bistro was the next logical step.

The bistro has been running for two years now. Did your customers from Hapu bar move to Martin’s bistro or did it attract a different kind of clientele? How big was the change for you personally?
A lot of our customers are our friends who grew older with us at Hapu bar. Also, every new place brings new people. So it is a mix of both. It is interesting that we meet people who are our customers at some other places that are our favorites too.

Martin’s bistro’s kitchen is renowned all over Vinohrady. You cook types of food from around the world, which is when it comes to most restaurants rather a disadvantage, but at your place the food is great. How do you manage?
I’m always delighted with such a compliment. I guess it is because we only cook what we eat ourselves.

Besides the food, the interior of Martin’s bistro is worth noticing. How did you discover the space and how was it appealing to you?
There used to be a café that our friends ran. So we were familiar with the space. When they closed and sold the café after it had been open for years, we stopped going there. After a while the space appeared advertised online at the same time as when we decided for a change. The interior was designed by the sculptor Filip Roztočil - our friend who also designed Hapu bar and knows what we like well.

It is said that a small restaurant can profit only if its owner gives all his time to it. How about you? How much time do you spend at Martin’s bistro?
Apart from working, we also spend our free time. So there is something in it.

Your place is still busy. Do you advertise the bistro actively on social media, or is it a word-of-mouth in Prague?
Word-of-mouth works naturally but I think that marketing can’t be ignored completely. Thus, even we got stuck in its networks, including the social ones.

(Martin Streško, owner of Martin’s bistro)

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Spud. is an unconventional Prague city guide, that highlights its interesting spots and local businesses that are really worth visiting. With a Polaroid camera, we’re mapping four different areas: food and drinks, shops, workplaces of creative people and architecture. Spud. is focused on fresh places with unique atmosphere, cafés with the best coffee, shops with the finest goods, workshops and studios of the most skilled designers and architectural attractions with the greatest charm. Spud. is also mainly about people, who stand behind these projects. Without their invention and courage to fulfill their dreams Prague would be a much poorer place. That’s why we’re so grateful to all of them!
 
Tereza a Michal
info@spud.cz / 728 764 380



 
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