Belgard Kitchen, Vancouver. June 2014.

Belgard Kitchen, Vancouver.

June 2014.

For some reason I seem to misread newspaper restaurant reviews. Secret Location, for example. I did the same thing with this place. Alexandra Gill (whoever she is) reviewed it in the Globe and Mail and I remember making a mental note “Got to go there.” Looking at her review, she actually gave it 3.5 stars out of five. It doesn’t even deserve those.

Went for lunch with a friend. No points lost for the place being hard to find and once found complicated to access (guys are working on the concrete front steps so you have to go around to the side through the garage door of a brewery). In fact you might get a little frisson of authenticity dodging the forklift and seeing the open-plan restaurant scene in front of you behind a wall of wine barrels. That however disappeared for me standing waiting to be seated in the hearing-aid-enhanced atonal chaos of very loud uninteresting music, crashing and clatter of service, and shouting clientele, all re-amplified by the concrete floor and 20+ foot industrial ceiling.

Noise can signal excitement, and there were certainly plenty of hip-looking young diners sitting in front of multiple wineglasses mixed with tattooed tradesman chowing burgers. The servers were casually-dressed 20-year-old girls, some very pretty, but predictably inexperienced and caught up in all the “excitement” which turned out to be mostly auditory.

The menu is abbreviated. There were two items out of about a dozen containing meat. I had a pizza with sausage which once I got some chili oil and salt onto it tasted not-bad, and although I may be missing something either because it was lunch time or because I don’t normally go for pointedly a la mode vegetarian food, this lunch you could have off half a dozen food trucks or in about twenty pizzerias around town. And still be able to hear yourself think.

The price was at expectation for the crowd but below it for the overall experience.

Food 6.6, service 6.3, ambience 4.0, value 4.5. Obviously won’t be going back.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 30 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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