By Jessamy Baldwin
With a diverse medley of quirky, classic, long-established and newly opened restaurants, bars, pubs, pop-ups and food markets on offer in Bristol, it’s important that your joint stands out from the crowd.
If you haven’t yet checked out The Strawberry Thief on Broad Street, I highly encourage you to do so. It’s certainly carved out its own little corner in the creative heart of Bristol’s old city.
With a 100% gluten free, 50% vegan and largely dairy free menu, it unsurprisingly appeals to today’s health conscious set. But it’s not all about steamed plain kale and coconut water. Not at all in fact – think again my friend. With Bristolian pop-up favourites The Chocolate Bear Kitchen behind the menu (since Nov 2016), the food hits the healthy notes without disregard for comfort.
All dishes come as small plates – perfect for sharing with a group if that’s your vibe. What’s more, they serve over 50 types of Belgian beer, over 20 Bristol beers, six different ciders and a variety of small vineyard wines. A lot of the beers even tick the GF box – there will be 10 by the end of Feb.
It’s hard to nail the bar-meets-food-hot-spot ambiance, but The Straberry Thief manages to hit the nail on the head. With low lighting, candles on each table, anti-chart jazz/funk playlist, embellished and wooden flooring, unusual artwork, fireplace, flowers and smallish floor space, it’s perfect for an intimate meal or drink. It has a cosy, vintage-meets indie, homey feel. With table service, you can also sit back and relax.
If you’re looking for loud tunes, big portions or bright lights, go elsewhere.
Saturday brunch (12-4pm) options include Arepas (South American corn bread bun) cooked to order with your choice of beef brisket or roasted aubergine + tomato – among others, a tower of sticky toffee pancakes with glazed apples (had me at tower..) as well as a beetroot and roasted tomato salad with toasted seeds, lemon balm and cold pressed rapeseed oil. Majority are only £5.
The general ‘Small Plates’ menu is simple, but seeks to cater to all meal moods (all £6-12). Options include roast poussin (whole or half) with rosemary pomme puree and purple cabbage, beef brisket, cauliflower biryani, leek and pea risotto and textures of artichoke among others. They can even match a beer to your dish, which is kind of nifty.
Sweets include Belgian waffles with maple syrup or chocolate sauce, or chocolate truffles with a raw cacao crumb. Local cheeses are also on offer for you fromage fiends.
‘Chief Thief’ Mike Harris said their aim is ‘deliver inclusive dining in an inclusive setting’.
‘Belgian beer is arguably a work of art in itself! The history and care taken to produce the hundreds of beers available from Belgium ensures we always have an extensive range. We focus on quality products from independent producers.
‘If you would like a recommendation just ask one of us and we’d be happy to help.’
After a deal? On ‘Sharing Wednesdays’, you can pick any main from the small plates menu + root chips + courgette pakoras + 750ml La Rulle Blone, Brune of Saison or 500ml house red/white for £20.
What’s in a Name?
The Strawberry Thief – The name originates from the wallpaper design by William Morris, who inspired the Edward Everard print works building opposite.
The Chocolate Bear – The name comes from owner James Gordon’s childhood nickname. His friends used to think he looked like Turk from Scrubs TV show.
[This review was published on Best of Bristol on 20th February 2017)
Check it out:
The Strawberry Thief
26 Broad Street