Restaurant: Belle’s on Thirty Two Restaurant
Cuisine: American/West Coast/Bakery/Sandwiches
Last visited: February 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, BC (South Surrey)
Address: 14007 32 Ave
Price Range: $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 4 (based on what I tried)
- Cafe side (1999) & Restaurant side (2006)
- Casual dining, yet modern
- Popular to locals in area
- Family owned and operated
- Home made baked goods
- Fresh baked breads
- Homemade sauces
- Local/made from scratch food
- Pasta Tuesday $18/person
- Roast Beef dinner Sunday $15/person
- Family/kid friendly
- Full bar/sports bar
- Dine in/To-go/Catering
- Patio dining
- Free parking
- Mon-Fri: 11:30am-3pm
- Mon-Fri: 5pm-close
- $10 Weekend brunch: 10am-3pm
- Weekend dinner: 3pm-close
**Recommendations: Shrimp Club, Lambwich
What a pleasant surprise it was to be introduced to Belle’s on Thirty Two Restaurant. It’s located on 32 Avenue in Surrey, BC and it’s one of those places that are known to locals in the neighbourhood, but considered a hidden gem to anyone else. It has a very cute country charm and family owned feel, and I was a bit caught off guard considering their website looked more contemporary. The way I felt coming out of Belle’s was almost like how I felt after being introduced to U-Lounge, also in Surrey. It was almost like having a great little secret that I just couldn’t wait to tell the “Follow Me Foodie” world.
I was a bit confused because the building has two operations. In the front it’s the catering/take out/eat in cafe with a focus on home made soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods. It’s very casual and it seats about 20 people with a pay at cashier service. Along with their fresh food they also have frozen baked goods and dinner entrees to go. The coffee is locally roasted and you definitely get that rustic home style country feel.
The larger portion of the building is their 100 seat restaurant with a full bar and spacious dining area. In a way it kind of reminded me of the Cactus Club when it first started in the 90’s (uh oh… did I just date myself? That’s okay, I’m young! ;)). It was my first time trying Belle’s so I’m not sure what the atmosphere is in the evening or on the weekend. However the lunch was almost all senior citizens and I think there’s a senior house nearby, so if you’re coming for ambiance then I would plan the time of your visit accordingly.
There’s also this gorgeous patio they open for the summer and I was incredibly excited about this. It was all very charming and it was a nice escape from the city and worth checking out if you’re into this type of “Taylor Swift” dining experience.
Okay now enough about the ambiance because I have to start gushing about the food. The food had all the qualities I expect from places like these. It was very home style and everything from the bread to the sauce and the dressings was all made from scratch. It was fresh, affordable and classic, yet not boring. Belle’s steps it up a notch from typical “pub food” and it’s more comfort food with a few West Coast and gourmet twists. I could tell they were holding back on some of the more expensive ingredients used, but nonetheless the food is good and as much as I was kind of expecting it to be good, I was still surprised. It’s definitely one of those local restaurants I’m rooting for and hope people will venture out to try.
On the table:
- Warm brie with Maple walnut topping, apple cinnamon chutney, fresh baguette (for two) $15
- This was the only thing that I wasn’t very impressed with.
- It was good, but I wouldn’t order it again. It tasted better than it looked, but I still didn’t see its value. It’s something you could easily prepare at home so it wasn’t really “restaurant worthy” yet.
- Yes, they serve it with a whole round or brie, but overall it could have been better and I think they know that as well.
- The Maple walnut topping was almost like an apple crumble topping. I could bite into pieces of crunchy walnuts, but it was still quite creamy and more like a paste. It was tasty, but I just wanted more walnuts and some plain toasted ones on top or on the side.
- The whole thing actually reminded me of an apple crumble especially with the cinnamon apple chutney which was more like apple sauce. It was a bit boring and there was some onions in it too, but it was still underwhelming. It was actually more tart from the vinegar than it was sweet and it was barely spiced. The sweetness came from the Maple topping so it was a nice balance though.
- The baguette wasn’t my favourite, and it seemed store bought, but it was crispy despite the way it looks. I thought they made all their breads so this caught me off guard.
- Baby shrimp, avocado, bacon, tomato, arugula, lemon aioli on toasted multigrain $13
- This was a very West Coast Shrimp club and it was very pleasant.
- The multigrain bread was a highlight for me and I’m predicting it was baked in house. It was incredibly nutty, crispy and full of flavour. This was the type of home made bread I was hoping for!
- The bread was perfect thickness for the sandwich and I could taste all the ingredients except for the avocado. They definitely skimped on the avocado and it was made into a paste so it was more like guacamole, but still unnoticeable. It would have been much better if it was slices of avocado.
- The rest of the ingredients were very fresh and I got the creamy crunch of shrimp salad, juicy tang of tomato, crunch of fresh arugula and nice crispy salty bacon.
- The lemon aioli really didn’t stand out and I couldn’t get the tang of lemon or the freshness of it, but the aioli itself was perfect consistency.
- The sandwich was just well organized and dressed and made with fresh ingredients, but it wasn’t anything new in terms of flavour. It might have been if the lemon aioli came through and if they had used fresh slices of avocado though.
Caesar Salad – 4/6
- Creamy dressing, parmesan crisps, focaccia croutons
- This came as the side and it’s a great Caesar salad!
- It was fresh, lightly dressed and I’m pretty sure the dressing is made in house.
- The Focaccia croutons didn’t catch my attention, but the big pieces of thick Parmesan crisps sure did! They were cheesy and salty and almost like Parmesan crackers!
- Braised lamb shoulder, olives, tomato, fresh basil, garlic aioli, arugula, brioche bun $13
- OMG! This ALONE is worth making the trip out for. It’s freaking delicious. That is coming from someone who isn’t ultra keen on lamb, but after this I’m totally on board. This is an epic moment. The day I fully accept and welcome lamb into my diet… willingly and excitedly!
- I’ve always known I like lamb shoulder over lamb rack because it’s less gamey and more like pulled pork. This sandwich was so well made and I’ve been thinking about it even weeks after.
- I have to highlight this brioche bun! Just get a look at the perfect bun and shiny sheen!!
- It reminded me of the Romer’s Burger Bar brioche bun, but this one was even better! This could be the best brioche bun I’ve ever had on a burger. The crumb was looser which allowed the brioche to be super soft, fluffy and almost like a dessert sweet bread, but not too sugary or eggy. It was so light and airy and very buttery in flavour and texture.
- DROOL! Holy crap just look at hoe good that looks?! It tastes exactly like that too!
- It was perfect bread to filling ratio and if anything more filling than bread.
- It’s saucy from this home made garlic aioli that has a little whole grain mustard seed in it. It’s not mayo or spicy, but good quality savoury and very garlicky aioli.
- The lamb was incredibly tender and falling apart. It didn’t have a heavy spice rub or much of a marinade, but it was just well seasoned keeping its natural flavours. There was a generous amount of it and it wasn’t gamey at all and taste like braised beef short ribs. DELISH!!
- Every bite was tender shredded lamb with creamy garlic aioli and then there were lots of salty and tangy bites of a chunky olive and tomato tapenade in a very soft and buttery brioche bun.
- It all just melted in your mouth and was so easy to chew and the olive tapenade gave it a great Mediterranean flavour.
- My only issue is that there was maybe one leaf of basil and the rest was arugula. I think it would have been fantastic if I could taste basil, so that part was unfortunate.
- It can also get a bit salty since there’s a lot of olives in combination with the savoury aioli, but nonetheless it was still delicious and I highly recommend it.
- Parmesan, Swiss, Cheddar, crisp panko crust with salad $14 (Extra $2 for yam fries)
- I have to order mac ‘n cheese if it’s on the menu, and especially if it’s from a place like this. You almost expect it to be extra delicious considering the country home style take on the menu. I knew it was one of the most popular dishes as well and it’s a customer favourite.
- It was good, better than it looked, but not as good as what I was imagining. I’ve had better home made mac n’ cheese. I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t too impressed either.
- At the moment it’s good, but it becomes forgettable.
- Yam Fries – 4/6
- The yam fries were good, but a bit too salty and they got soggy very quickly. They were served with the same delicious savoury garlic aioli used in the lambwich.
- The aioli is very garlicky with some whole grain mustard seed, but it’s not spicy or very apparent in mustard flavour.
- I assumed it would be heaviest on the Cheddar, which it was, especially with the melted cheddar topping.
- I was hoping for more of a “crisp panko crust”, but the panko was dispersed a bit randomly over the top and there wasn’t much of a crust at all.
- It wasn’t creamy or stringy and it wasn’t dry, but actually quite oily in texture and flavour. It felt really greasy without the flavour of all the cheese really coming through.
- There was some Parmesan and Swiss action going on, but not a whole lot. I would have preferred just using all Cheddar and creating an excellent creamy Cheddar mac and cheese sauce rather than using more gourmet cheeses, but using them half way.
- The noodles were slightly over cooked, but I did like the iron skillet to keep it warm.
- I loved the crispy cheese baked on the edges of the skillet and I had more crunch from that than the Panko.
- Greens, red onion, tomato, cucumber, goat cheese, herb croutons, roasted garlic balsamic dressing.
- This came as the side to one of the dishes and it’s actually quite good.
- It was simple, but fresh and they gave quite a decent amount of goat’s cheese. I thought it was going to be a goat’s feta, but it was actually a very creamy goat’s cheese.
- It was very lightly dressed and I don’t recall the roasted garlic balsamic dressing being particularly special.
I missed out this time (I know, what was I thinking?!) but I did have a cupcake tasting the night before, so that’s my excuse. The place is a bakery and specializes in baked goods. It literally and figuratively is probably the bread and butter to this business. I was very tempted to stop by their catering side and pick up a coffee cake. I saw them bringing trays of them from the restaurant kitchen over to the cafe 3 times! They were huge and they looked delicious! I will be back for sure!