Chocolate Bear Kitchen and Strawberry Thief join forces for winter residency

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James Lee Gordon, right, of the Chocolate Bear Kitchen with Strawberry Thief owner Mike Harris

James Lee Gordon, right, of the Chocolate Bear Kitchen with Strawberry Thief owner Mike Harris


Chef James Lee Gordon of The Chocolate Bear Kitchen is collaborating with Strawberry Thief on Broad Street to offer diners with food intolerances an inclusive menu in an eight-week residency in the run-up to Christmas.

The collaboration will see Strawberry Thief offering James’ small plates menu of savoury and sweet dishes paired with a selection of 10 of the 50 beers and wines that the bar currently offers. The menu will be completely gluten-free, and at least half of the dishes will also be vegan.

Expect dishes such as crispy homemade chicken sausage with braised leeks, paired with an amber Belgian beer called Kwak; cured mackerel, celeriac remoulade, orange and sesame, paired with strong Belgian pale ale called La Chouffe; and vegan waffles with poached pear and chocolate infused poaching liquor, paired with a dark Trappist beer, double fermented, called Westmalle Dubbel.

This residency begins on Tuesday November 1st and will run until the end of December. The table service-only bar has space for 70 covers.

James Gordon, 27 years old, has over 10 years of experience working in AA Rosette, organic and Michelin-rated restaurants. The Chocolate Bear Kitchen, based in Filton, is his latest venture, set up after seeing the impact that diets, intolerances and allergies can have on customers and kitchen staff.

NHS research shows that reported food allergies have risen dramatically in the last 5 years, and he believes that his style of catering is becoming more and more relevant. “The idea is to demonstrate to diners and chefs that food can taste great and be inclusive for everyone, no matter what their dietary requirements,” he said.

“I’ve worked in kitchens which have been thrown into confusion because a diner has come in with a gluten intolerance or a nut allergy. And it doesn’t need to happen.

“For example there are so many alternatives to wheat-based foods which taste great and some can actually be healthier. This residency at Strawberry Thief aims to showcase that and it’s the first step in taking the message across Bristol and hopefully beyond.

“It’s really exciting. The bar has fantastic Belgian beers which will taste great with the menu I’ve designed and I’m looking forward to welcoming our first diners.”

Mike Harris, owner of The Strawberry Thief, adds, “James’ style of cookery is the perfect fit for what we do here – his food is natural, delicious and healthy and the beers we serve will complement his dishes perfectly.

“Diners can look forward to something really innovative and interesting – the kind of thing Bristol does better than anywhere.”



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