Ah, brunch. One of the most beloved meals because of its varied menu, late start time, and socially acceptable pre-noon cocktails.
Its popularity means it’s not surprising many restaurants now offer a version. However, few do it as beautifully as Belgard Kitchen. And in a foodie mecca like Vancouver, [amazon_textlink asin=’1786573377′ text=’British Columbia’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’88b1132d-2608-11e8-9890-9d8d58878911′], that’s saying quite a lot.
Location: 55 Dunlevy Avenue, [amazon_textlink asin=’1786573334′ text=’Vancouver’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’95aac234-2608-11e8-9357-e926cc76b3d1′], BC. The lofty heritage building in Railtown houses a trifecta of businesses. In addition to Belgard Kitchen, Vancouver Urban Winery and Postmark Brewing also share the space.
Menu: The focus on fresh, local fare is easy to spot. The sockeye lox is cured in-house, the burger features meat sourced from a southwestern BC ranch, and Okanogan honey makes several appearances. Wines and beers are featured selections from the two other local business occupying the space, with thirty-six (or more) on tap at any given time.
Food intolerances are accommodated: vegetarian, gluten and dairy free dining menu options are available. And while the ingredients are mostly local, the menu spans several types of cuisine. You’ll find wagyu meatballs, Mediterranean polenta, and even a smoked sausage skillet.
Our table of six ordered several plates, choosing to share them family-style. Favorites included the savory meatball skillet, loaded Pemberton Meadows beef burger, and a rich bread pudding French toast topped with berries and Chantilly cream. However, everything we ordered was flavorful and well-prepared; whatever you choose, it’s impossible to go wrong.
Thoughts: Large-scale wood accents, vintage photos, and antique knick-knacks warm what might otherwise be considered a cold and uninviting industrial building. However, the sheer size of the building makes temperature control a challenge; bring a jacket if you’re dining during the cooler months.
The restaurant makes an impression right from the start. Grandiose wooden doors guard the entrance to the dining space. And, once inside, the sheer scale of the place overwhelms the eye. Old-growth timber, an antique hook-and-rail system, and several multi-purpose areas make it hard to concentrate on any one thing. Instead, your attention wanders to many different details: a white brick fireplace littered with cushions and books, a collection of old maps and photographs, and even an antique typewriter perched atop a reclaimed wood shelf. All of these details (and more) create a cozy feeling in what is truly an enormous and echoing place.
However, even with all the square footage, there isn’t an overwhelming number of tables. So if you don’t have a reservation, expect to wait thirty-plus minutes to be seated. But the good news? They set aside half of their tables for walk-ins, and accommodate parties of up to thirty people; anything larger requires a phone call.
Service is impeccable, in spite of how busy they get. Our server kept waters full, checked on whether we were ready for a second round before anyone reached the bottom of their glass, and happily answered dietary questions about various items on the menu.
All in all, this is a new favorite brunch spot. And I can’t wait to go back.
Price: Food ranges from $9 for the avocado toast, to over $20 for a loaded burger with a gluten-free bun. A spicy Caesar is $7.50, and $8 gets you a mimosa, spritzer, or beer flight.
With drinks and assorted shared plates, the tab is likely to run you $30 to $40 per person. (Note: prices are in Canadian dollars. At the time of print, the exchange rate translated to a twenty-two percent discount against the US dollar, dropping the per person cost even lower).