Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside may not be the best place to take a leisurely late morning stroll, particularly if you are ‘hangry’ and in search of a brunch spot. Do you own a bicycle? A car maybe? If so, mount your chosen steed and get your hungry little taste buds down to hard-edged Dunlevy Street’s Belgard Kitchen.
For me, the litmus test for a decent brunch spot includes several conditions: it must be able to tolerate my toddler Remington (Remy), and by tolerate I mean structurally and systemically survive; it must be able to put up with my friends – during my most recent visit, that friend is Dean – who have exceptionally high expectations (and aren’t afraid to voice their opinions); and it shouldn’t make me poor or sick. I’d say that’s pretty achievable, no?
What was once a metal foundry is now an open and spacious craft winery, The Vancouver Urban Winery, Postmark Brewery, and a loosely sectioned off restaurant, The Belgard Kitchen. The old growth timber bones let tons of light in through the industrial vintage décor, which is a good thing if you want to see your food and company. (Note, this might be a con for those with massive hangovers.)
Getting inside the building was tricky as my son didn’t want to stop playing on the uneven wooden field surrounding the entrance. Once we finally did make it inside, Remy was immediately drawn to the ancient typewriters and spinning handles laid out at eye level.
We sat at a four top on stools, ordered some Cappuccinos, and got busy settling my son while trying to have a conversation. Dean and I once went out for brunch with his daughter, who was three years old at the time, and were surprised at the end of the meal that someone had paid our bill anonymously. According to the server, a couple was watching us joyfully entertain his daughter and thought we were a modern gay couple with our love child; they were so impressed that they paid our bill. To be honest, every time we go out now without our better halves, we hope for a repeat experience. Yes please to free brunch.
But back to the Belgard.
Dean ordered the steak and eggs. I took our server’s recommendation and got the chorizo and egg skillet, and young Remington agreed to the Swedish pancakes, or “pan-pakes” as he calls them. During the next 20 minutes, we had a one-sided discussion about the design of the space (Dean is a builder/designer/developer), and caught each other up on our busy lives as working parents. All the while we managed to keep Remy entertained with drawing material, dissuaded him from throwing his matchbox cars at people, and stopped him from destroying the vintage typewriters. The food arrived not a minute too soon.
The presentation inspired the salivary glands to do their thing. Generally speaking, Dean is a pensive slow eater. Not today, he downed his food, which got a thumbs up. Remy took one bite of his Swedish pancakes and then deposited the mouthful in my hand. He ate most of my potatoes and chorizo. The skillet was hot, eggs cooked perfectly and what smashed potatoes I managed to eat tasted well spiced and just crispy enough. I also downed Remy’s Swedish pancakes accompanied by a peach compote and citrus chantilly cream. So good.
The verdict? The Belgard Kitchen is a beautiful space to eat reasonably priced, very well crafted brunch fair. When friends or family are in town and you want to impress them with a very ‘hip Vancouver brunch spot,’ take them here. Just be sure to double lock up that steed.