Sunday, March 2, 2014

Be Love

Address: 1019 Blanshard St.
Phone: 778.433.7181
Price: $12-18
Notes: Alternative-diet friendly and delicious lunch and dinner options

I think many people who consider themselves foodies are also meat eaters. I count myself among this group. There is definitely a confusion deep in my soul about how anyone could possibly live without bacon. That answer, as we discovered during our visit... zucchini bacon! Actually, no. The answer is that when you focus on food flavours and combinations, not necessarily trying to recreate meat dishes, you can create amazing, well-flavoured dishes that tick all the dietary boxes. You just have to think outside the box a bit...

Be Love opened late in December of 2013, although the sibling co-owners have been operating Bliss, a small cafe with a similar vision, for years. Clearly there was a niche in the market for adding another restaurant to the scene, as they have been consistently busy pretty much since opening! The space is taking up half of what used to be the Alpine Market on Blanshard street, but extensive modern renovations have completely transformed the space. The tall ceilings have beautiful beams up to a skylight that makes you feel more like you are outside than inside.

Menu items run the gamut from curries that could just as easily be on any menu to adventurous items such as the "macrobiotic bowl." I was pleasantly surprised to visit fairly early in their lifespan to see that they really have their process down! Every dish ordered at our large table hit the mark, the service was solid, their bartender was fantastic and everything came in record time. I feel like we only just scraped the surface of the menu, especially because many of the flavour combinations are so completely off my radar I don't know what to expect from ordering!  All of the menu items are in a great price point for dinner, but I am surprised that they have not opted for a slightly less pricey lunch menu to feed the hoards of Victoria downtown lunch crowd! They seem to be trying to hit more the price point of Devour (around $15) but I feel like they could do well to rework things a little bit and offer some less adventurous options for closer to $10 or $12. What really impressed me, however, was the ever-changing dessert menu. Typically my partner in food and life and I have a difficult time with competing dairy/soy allergies... but not here! The "cheese" cake is actually made with cashew "cheese!"Everything ordered so far has been impeccable from presentation to flavours to value.

January 31, 2014
I visited with several other Victoria food loving folk as part of the monthly conviviality pledge. Everyone at the table, vegetarian or not, had an amazing meal although I did not document it all.

I started the meal with a few drinks... an important component to conviviality! We had also heard, and had reinforced, that the bartender was fantastic. My partner-in-food-and-life ordered a custom drink with their house-made kombucha and he came over and chatted about its creation, giving all the benefits of sitting at the bar without the compromises of only being able to seat a few people comfortably!

Red Cedar Swizzle
Red Cedar Swizzle
The Red Cedar Swizzle was a popular choice at the table. It was dry, and the cedar infusion flavour was certainly distinct! I love the fact that they use the Long Table gin. Although not quite local, it's still a BC born gin that is reported to be more consistent than our own Victoria Gin. 

Their take on a fernet and cola with their house-made "Quetzal Cola" was delicious. I have such a soft spot for house made cola and fernet, but now that the management has changed at Clive's it's harder to find. I was pretty stoked to discover a replacement here!

Masala Dosa
Masala Dosa
For my main I opted for the dosa, a fermented lentil pancake that I have never had before! It was pretty tasty, although one corner was oddly chewier than the rest (and I probably only noticed because it was my first bite!). The potato curry inside was well flavoured, and a bite combined with the riata and chutney was heavenly. 

Other menu items ordered, enjoyed and shared by the group at the table included the warm quinoa salad, the macrobiotic bowl and the sweet potato gnocchi. 

As mentioned above all the desserts were made without any dairy. Although normally this attempt to recreate the original confuses me, this time it works really well. The richness of the nut-based "cheese" (in this case hazelnut if I recall correctly!) works really well with the sweetness of the desserts.

January 31, 2014
Our service was great! Friendly, prompt and with a personal touch, especially from the bartender. Despite having a large group our food was well organized, came promptly and was without fault.

Be Love on Urbanspoon


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