Belgard Kitchen, Vancouver.
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.