Gem. (Bel Cafe)

If you’re anything like me and frugality runs through your veins, you might be happy to hear that you can find yourself a piece of Hawksworth, without having to break your bank, at the charming Bel Cafe on the corner of West Georgia and Howe.

Armed with a permanent sweet tooth, both my blessing and my curse, I never need much of an excuse to stop for a cake and cuppa so it was a no brainer for me when I happened to walk by David Hawksworth’s little bistro on a beautifully breezy Saturday afternoon.

His neighbouring principal dining room, Hawksworth restaurant, has topped just about any Vancouver critic’s list worth paying attention to since it’s opening.  Having yet to win that $50 million lottomax jackpot though, a dining experience there has remained a mysteriously elusive minx.  Until that moment where upon my lips meet what is sure to be an enchanting, spellbinding morsel, Bel Cafe will have to do for this city gal on a perpetual budget.

Stepping into Bel Cafe is like stepping into an oasis of whimsy and charm.  With it’s black, white, and turquoise theme, it’s a little like being Alice in Wonderland nibbling on teas and tarts.

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Never a huge fan of tarts, I’m not entirely sure what spurred me to go for the seasonal fruit tart, but there I was breaking into a white chocolate mousse lined crust topped with blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, and pineapple.  For the five bites it took me to finish the pastry, it was a pleasant afternoon treat that highlighted the looming end of summer with its vibrant splash of colours and fresh fruit flavours.

Bel offers several coffee and tea options.  In a nice attempt at staying local, they’ve teamed with Vancouver’s 49th Parallel Roasters in serving their coffee beverages which is sure to please many a Vancouverite.  Their teas hail from a slightly farther neighbourhood – namely, Singapore – but as TWG Teas are known as a world luxury tea, it only seems fitting.

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For those looking for savoury fare, Bel also features soup, salad, and sandwich items.

A good chat and nice cuppa later, would I return?

A lovely reprieve from the busy streets beyond its doors, Bel Cafe’s strength is in its intimately cool charm.  The pastries and bevvies are decent and competively priced between $3-7 dollars.  However, it is the more charming details of cozy booth seating, quirky colour schemes, and table service that sets it apart from similar upscale cafes like Thierry and Mink and that what ultimately, are going to keep me coming back for more.

Bel Cafe on Urbanspoon

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