Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Belgard Kitchen

It’s been a new era in restaurant culture since craft breweries hit the scene in Vancouver. The Belgard Kitchen shares space in The Settlement Building with Postmark Brewing. Open up the imposing set of front doors, and inside the vestibule you will find a brewery filling station. I was amused by the fellow who rode up on his bike with a huge basket in front carrying both his young daughter and his empty growlers. Enter through a second set of impressive 20-foot-high doors, and you will find yourself in the restaurant. It has been designed in such a way that the cavernous, industrial space feels warm and inviting.

All of the menus here – food, beer, and wine – are diverse, modern, and sure to contain something to please everyone. I was certainly pleased by my Meatball Brunch Skillet. Is 10:30 a.m. too early for beer? I think not. My Awesome Ale was just as advertised and paired very well with my meatballs. My friend was slightly surprised to find that her Salmon Gravlax Hash was served as a salad, but grilled toast and housemade hot sauce heated her up and saved the day.

Good brews, tasty food, great service – keep ’em coming.

55 Dunlevy Avenue
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Bestie serves up a minimal menu featuring a rotating selection of wurst – German for sausage. Their main plate of sausage, sauerkraut, and fries makes a fine breakfast any day of the week, and they also offer a brunch special on weekends. My friend went with today’s special Ham & Swiss Waffle, while I stayed with the traditional Sausage & Sauerkraut and a side of the Beet Salad.

The space is well-designed, in a minimal hipster, modern German kind of way (which I mean as a compliment). This spot has been popular ever since it opened, so be prepared to show up early or wait upon arrival. The service is speedy, so turnover happens quickly, unless you are jerks like us and spend hours catching up over the fine coffee. To their credit, they never hurried us, or asked us to leave. We stayed so long, we almost ordered dinner. I could’ve easily had another plate.

105 East Pender
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I can sum up my brunch at L’Abbatoir in one word – rich. I met up with my long-time friend who was surprised to learn I had arrived slightly hungover, if one can be “slightly” hungover. It had been many years (over 20) since I had imbibed, so her marvel was founded. I found I craved fat and sugar to offset the deleterious effects of the alcohol.

In an unusual ordering process for me, I chose from the sides to compose my own calorific meal – a jelly-filled, sugar-coated doughnut, potato rosti, pork belly and beans. It was definitely not a brunch for someone watching their figure. It did achieve it’s intended effect, however, it grounded my spinning head. Then I ordered a coffee. My friend did a double-take as she also knew I had not been drinking coffee for over a decade. “What’s gotten into you?” she asked. “Fun,” I winked. “Next you’ll be telling me you are getting a tattoo,” she joked. “Well, actually...” I replied.

L’Abbatoir was the perfect place to include in my indulgent weekend.

217 Carrall Street
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Au Comptoir

As I strolled through the quiet streets early on a Sunday morning, I was blanketed by a light dusting of snow, the first snowfall of this winter. It set up the perfect feel for cozying up with brunch. I arrived before my friends, and hungry, so I ordered the Assiette de Fromages to quell my rumbling stomach.

This modern French bistro does a good job of transporting one right to the neighbourhoods of Paris. The ambience is authentic, as is the service. Well, une minute, maybe the service was not totally authentic as our French server was quite cheery and enthusiastic. The dishes were stylishly presented and well executed. The Duck Confit with Poached Eggs, Almond Waffle, and Eggs Cocotte all satiated our desire to be transported out of the cold.

Can’t afford that plane ticket to Paris at the moment? Au Comptoir can do well to feed your appetite.

2278 West 4th Avenue
Breakfast hours: Monday, Wednesday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Calabash Bistro

Calabash Bistro was the perfect setting for an extended catch-up session with a good friend. As advertised, this place really does have good vibes – and good food – both of the Caribbean flavour. Ah, my feet are tapping and my mouth is watering just remembering it now.

My Caribbean Crab Cakes Benny with Coconut Hollandaise was both spicy and tangy. A dance on the tongue. My friend’s Oxtail Stew was rich in depth of flavour and braised to tender. She moved in her seat with delight. The perfect beverage to accompany is the head-bopping housemade sparkling Ginger Beer.

If you are looking for somewhere to groove brunch, look no further.

428 Carrall Street
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Salmon House on the Hill

A small group of us were gathering for brunch to celebrate my friend’s fortieth birthday. She requested a “room with a view”, thus we ended up at the Salmon House on the Hill – a window-wrapped room perched up on the hillside of the West Vancouver neighbourhood Panorama Village, looking out over downtown Vancouver and beyond.

This restaurant is what I would refer to as traditional West coast – a conventional, wood-beamed room serving an approachable menu. It’s the type of place where you could take any family member from 1 to 99 and all would be comfortable. We were well catered to and felt suitably pampered for a birthday brunch.

The Salmon House is a long-standing choice for special family celebrations. If you go for the view, you will be charmed, for sure.

2229 Folkestone Way, West Vancouver
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Linh Café

The Linh Café has recently opened its doors as a “new” brunch spot in Kits. I use quotes because I’m not sure if it’s an entirely fresh creation, or a rejuvenated version of Café Régalade, which used to occupy this location. I don’t know the actual story, but there seemed to be clues that there were strong ties between the Linh Café and its predecessor. The first clue was that the pig décor remains (actually, almost all of the furnishings were still the same). The second clue was the some of the brunch menu items seemed very close in nature to the previous menu. The final clue was that my breakfast was served in the same execution as before – in an oven-hot, cast-iron skillet served atop wooden planks covered with the classic red gingham paper.

My Paris Breakfast, while obviously not intending to be an authentic Parisian breakfast (i.e., it’s not coffee and bread), was appropriately decadent: grilled tomatoes and ham topped with gooey cheese and sunny up eggs, served with French baguette and delicately dressed greens. My breakfast was also representative of the amazing-looking ham and cheese croissants on display. My friend made a bold claim and announced her Hanoi Breakfast was the best Pho she had ever tasted. She loved the rich beef broth, lightly seasoned with five spice.

Whether it’s reborn or an original, the Linh Café is welcome.

2836 West 4th Avenue
Brunch hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Troll’s Restaurant (Horseshoe Bay)

Today’s breakfast was impromptu, occurring due to the fact that I missed my ferry by two minutes resulting in an hour wait in Horseshoe Bay. I wandered by Troll’s and their outdoor patio was too inviting to pass up on this glorious sunny day.

Troll’s is renowned for their fish and chips, so I assumed anything fried on the menu would be good. And I was right. The hashbrowns were deep-fried with rosemary. Love that. My Ham and Cheese Omelette was simple, just what my appetite fancied.

Horseshoe Bay is a small community that primarily serves as a stopping point for the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal and destinations beyond – Bowen Island, the Sunshine Coast, and Nanaimo. Because most of the businesses here are used to serving the ferry commuters, they are experienced with people only having short periods of time for dining. As a result, the service and food here is a snap. Forty minutes all told – check in, sit down, peruse menu, order, sip tea, gaze at scenery, receive food, eat leisurely, pay bill, visit washroom to check no food in teeth, and walk back to ferry terminal to catch my ride. Just right.

6408 Bay Street, Horseshoe Bay
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

El Camino’s

I’m not one to allow other’s opinions affect me having my own experience. Before visiting El Camino’s, I did check out some online reviews, which were mixed between “meh” and “yeah!”. After visiting I think I get why. This is one of those places that can be polarizing depending on your preferences.

I loved the space. It had a lively atmosphere with great taste in music, just loud enough to get my morning energy pumping. Others complained the tables were too close and music a little too loud. The servers were very laid back, perfect for a lazy brunch, but others might grouch and call them slow. There were plenty of interesting options on the South-of-the-Border–inspired menu. My vegetarian-inclined friend ordered the Huevos Divorciados – two tostadas, each topped with beans, eggs and a split of red and green salsas. Her report was kind, but not raving. On the other hand, I was extremely enthused about my Chorizo Benny with guacamole. One of the tastiest bennys I remember having in a very long time.

Final thoughts... My friend said, “Okay.” I said, “Hooray!” You’ll have to go to decide for yourself.

3250 Main Street
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.