Coffee Break: Bel Café

Bel Cafe, Hotel Georgia | BCBusiness

Enjoy elevated café fare and meticulously crafted beverages in the downtown core

Attached to the opulently hushed lobby of The Rosewood Hotel Georgia is the always-bustling Bel Café, a part of David Hawksworth’s culinary domain.

Inspired by European style with an urban Vancouver splash, the café’s interior reflects its city outpost at Howe and Georgia streets, and welcomes film stars, cabinet members and bicycle couriers at the same table. Inside, vibrant rows of macarons—a Parisian favourite and Bel Café specialty—are showcased on the pastry case’s top shelf, with both classic and offbeat flavours on rotation such as vanilla bean and PB & J.  

If you are planning to eat in, expect to be seated and assisted by a server. “The quality of the food deserves the same quality of service,” says Anna Heyd, Bel Café manager. Heyd, whose current favourite macaron is strawberry lemon, has a very hands-on approach to management and has memorized the names of approximately 400 regulars from nearby shops and businesses, who she greets with a wide smile, and often a memorized beverage. “I like to treat people like they were guests in my home,” she says.

Bel Café Tips

BEST TABLE Nestled in the back, near the hotel entrance, the quietest table is barstool seating that peeks into the lobby.

DRINK UP The Bel chocolate chai tea latte uses a house-made chocolate syrup that adds just enough sweetness to the chai spice.

MUST-TRY ORDER The Valrhona dark chocolate chunk cookie.

INSIDER TIP Just ask, and they’ll add avocado to almost anything.

Amid a variety of coffee blends by 49th Parallel, The Hawksworth Epic Espresso is the menu’s feature roast, whose flavour shifts subtly through the seasons as new beans are introduced, but it retains its signature balance of acidity and sweetness. Shots are pulled from a shining Kees van der Westen Mirage espresso machine, which Heyd describes as the “Ferrari of espresso machines.” The tea selection is by Vancouver-based Spot Tea, with choices like lavender Earl Grey and mango sencha green tea.

Along with caffeine, Bel Café cultivates a plot of pastries, macarons and other sweets developed seasonally by award-winning pastry chef Wayne Kozinko. “In winter you can expect chocolate, citrus, exotic fruit,” says Kozinko, whose current favourite macarons are key lime pie and cookies and cream. In the summer he uses local berries and fruits from B.C.’s Interior.

Kozinko draws inspiration from France, where he recently visited the famed Valrhona chocolate school to bring back the complex flavour profiles of single-origin chocolates and blends. Kozinko hints that light, acidic white chocolate creations are in the works for spring.

If you are looking to grab some lunch, Bel Café offers fresh tasting yet palatably ornate sandwiches, salads and soups by chef David Hawksworth, whose current favourite macaron is key lime pie.