NEW BG Urban Cafe (Bread Garden) NEW Menu

Restaurant: BG Urban Cafe (Formerly known as Bread Garden)
Cuisine:
Cafe/Bakery/Desserts/Salads/Sandwiches/International
Last visited: May 25, 2011
Location: Multiple locations in Metro Vancouver.
Address: 101 – 889 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC (Downtown)
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2.5 for savoury, 3.5 for baked goods
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 3
Additional comments:

  • Franchise
  • Currently only in BC
  • New brand/menu
  • Multiple locations
  • Mostly pre-made items
  • Some freshly baked goods
  • Locally baked breads
  • Quarterly changing menu
  • Affordable
  • Patio seating
  • Catering available
  • Breakfast until 11am
  • Free wifi
  • Open daily 6:30am-6pm (this location)
  • Buy one get one FREE in store coupons until June 15, 2011.

**Recommendations: From what I tried the Smoked Turkey Club House, Old Fashioned Macaroni & Cheese, Cinnamon Knot, Mango Mousse Cake & Chocolate Conspiracy Cake. The Cinnamon Knot is a must.

Everybody knows Bread Garden, but who knows “BG Urban Cafe”? Bread Garden has gone through a complete makeover and it’s now called “BG Urban Cafe”. With a new menu, logo, and renovations for each store, I must say it was about time. The last time I had gone to the formerly known Bread Garden was when they were still serving Mac & Cheese and Shepherd’s Pie, but they’ve managed to keep the signature favourites (yes, the mac & cheese is still there) while introducing a new menu.

I didn’t really have anything against Bread Garden before, but it just never really crossed my mind as a place for good food. However when their signs started to change last year and they started to look more modern, it did catch my eye and curiosity. Yes, marketing works on me, I strongly believe it does on everyone.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I was invited to try their new menu. I rarely go to franchises because I like trying new things and I didn’t know if it was going to be a relaunch of their name, but basically still serving the same stuff. But regardless, new menus always interest me and I can’t veto a franchise without trying it first.

I left the ordering more or less in their hands and I’m pretty glad too because I tried a selection of things I would have never really ordered. I found the entree like savoury dishes at most mediocre, but I took a liking and interest to their new grilled sandwiches and baked goods. No it’s not only because I have a sweet tooth, but overall they just tasted better.

The style of Bread Garden was a bit random, more European and old fashioned American before, but now they’re more West Coast focused and diverse in their menu. I noticed a curve towards some Thai and Indian inspired options as well. I found most of the savoury things dishes I could find elsewhere for better or the same price though, and it was affordable, but not cheap either.

The pre-made sauces and absence of a hot kitchen kind of crinkles my nose, but from a franchise perspective, I can see the importance of remaining consistent and the need for quality control, so I have to take it as is. Anyways I would definitely come back for some things, but overall it’s intended more for people looking for a convenient, casual, and quick lunch than someone like me.

**There are buy one get one FREE in store coupons until June 15, 2011. Offers include free Breakfast Bagels, Thai Chicken Wrap, Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Thai Coconut Curry with a purchase.

On the table:

**Old Fashioned Macaroni & Cheese – 4.5/6

  • Rich & Creamy Cheddar Cheese Sauce $6.99
  • If it wasn’t for the overcooked noodles I would say it’s a 5/6!
  • This is one of the old favourites. If mac n’ cheese is on the menu, it’s almost always on my table.
  • I appreciate gourmet mac n’ cheeses, but there’s nothing wrong with the old fashioned kind. This was definitely comfort food at its best.
  • The ratio of cheese sauce to macaroni was probably 2:1 and the dish was a bit shallow, but it’s so rich and indulgent that it’s the right amount.
  • Considering I just had one of the best Mac & Cheese at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, this one still managed to make me smile!

  • It’s super creamy, decently stringy and really cheesy with lots of aged Cheddar cheese sauce coating each noodle without slipping off.
  • It was thick and close to a Cheddar cheese bechamel sauce.
  • It’s nothing fancy and was almost eating just ooey gooey melted creamy cheddar cheese sauce, but it had a home made quality and flavour.
  • The noodles became secondary and I just really wish they weren’t so soft and breaking apart like they might in a casserole.
  • It would have been even better with a crispy gratin crust, but this did the job fine.

Chicken Veronica Salad2.5/6

  • With Mini Croissant, Artisan Greens, Chicken Salad, Grapes & Pecans $7.99
  • This is from their new menu and it had a decent amount of chicken, but I’ve had better salads for the same price.
  • I think there’s a mistake on their menu because I’m 99% sure those are walnuts and not pecans.
  • It’s also served with 2 crostini and not a croissant, although a croissant would have made for a nice sandwich.
  • It brought me back to the Veronica Salad at White Spot. This version was very basic though.
  • It wasn’t much of a “chicken salad” as much as it was ingredients of a chicken salad topped on top of a salad.
  • It was just Romaine lettuce, diced celery, sweet red grapes, cubes of premade baked chicken, crushed walnuts and a creamy dressing that didn’t have any flavour.
  • It’s a sweet and savoury salad with bursts of sweet grapes that had more flavour than the runny mayo like dressing, which I didn’t care for.
  • I liked the textures and I like sweet and savoury, but it’s nothing you couldn’t easily assemble at home.
  • The crostini wasn’t crunchy and a bit stale too.

**Smoked Turkey Club House4/6

  • Smoked Turkey, Maple Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Mayo, Honey Mustard, Lettuce & tomatoes on Potato Rosemary Bread $7.99
  • Along with the mac and cheese, this was quite easily my second favourite savoury menu item. It’s from the new menu, and it’s a bit pricey, but very good.
  • I love a good club house sandwich and it’s even better when it’s made with good bread and grilled like a panini. This was a pretty good quality club house.
  • The bread is a total upgrade from what they used to offer. It’s made from a local bakery and had a ton of flavour and chewy texture. It was aromatic from a decent amount of Rosemary which just went perfectly with the turkey and melted cheddar cheese.

  • It was a 2:1 ratio of filling to bread, but the bread was so flavourful that it had a solid role in the sandwich. I almost wanted just the bread.
  • It grilled up thin and crispy, yet had that soft chew and it wasn’t hard or crunchy.
  • It’s a hot sandwich and it’s on the sweeter side because of the honey mustard and Maple bacon.
  • The honey mustard (neon in colour though) really gives it flavour and complements the meats well.
  • It was the perfect ratio of all the ingredients, albeit I wouldn’t mind a bit more romaine, but it’s still fine.
  • It was a bit saucy from the mayo, mustard and ooey gooey melted Cheddar cheese which you could taste, and the triple combination just made for a better than average club house.
  • It had about 3 slices of smoked turkey, which was good, but not really smoky, and then a couple strips of bacon, which were the flimsy kind, but I could still taste it’s salty bite although not crispy. It almost comes off as prosciutto.
  • It had good crunch, nice chew from the potato bread, sweet and savoury flavours, strong cheese and a nice hint of Rosemary to give it that gourmet quality.

Thai Coconut Curry with Chicken1.5/6

  • Thai Chicken, Mushrooms, Bean Sprouts, Red Peppers & Pineapple in a Green Curry Sauce. Served on a bed of Jasmine Rice $7.99
  • This is from their new menu, but I likely would not order it even though it seems to be a favourite. If there was a slight twist from the original, I might, but if it’s almost a knock off, then Westernized versions just don’t cut it for me.
  • I’m also not keen on pre-assembled, premade and reheated items especially with the rice underneath.
  • The only Westernized Thai rice dish I’ve ever really liked is the Bang Bang Chicken from Cheesecake Factory.
  • Obviously this is a Westernized version of Thai coconut curry, but it almost tastes too healthy, although I’m sure it’s not really.
  • The sauce is very light and thin and almost soupy rather than creamy and it’s surprisingly quite aromatic and herby with dried basil.
  • It tastes like a basic combo of green curry paste and a little coconut milk, but it’s watered down.
  • It’s more spicy than I thought it would be too, for most people it would be a medium spicy and for Thai people it would be very mild.

  • The rice kind of gets soggy and mushy underneath.
  • There’s a ton of crunchy sweet fresh bell peppers, green onions, bean sprouts and then some roughly sliced mushrooms that don’t get cooked through the reheating process.
  • There were about 3 very tiny pieces of crushed  pineapple bits which reminded me of having sweet and sour pork.
  • The premade grilled and then baked chicken was moist and tender with a light curry glaze, but it was quite mild and not really sweet or anything.
  • This entree just really needs more of a sauce and although it’s not bland it’s just one dimensional with Thai basil flavour and some spice.

Thai Chicken Wrap2.5/6

  • Thai Marinated Chicken with Red Peppers, Carrots, Green Onions & Rice mixed with Thai Mayo Sauce $6.99
  • Although I wouldn’t order the “Thai Coconut Curry with Chicken” as a main, I actually would order it in wrap form, and I did.
  • This is one of the favorites and it’s from the original menu.
  • At first I thought it was just going to be the Thai Coconut Curry Chicken entree in wrap form, but it wasn’t, although it’s similar with ingredients.
  • I liked the wrap better, and it would be good (3/6) if it wasn’t for the chutney which I thought was a chunky sweet and tangy plum sauce marmalade.

  • Yeah I had no love for this chutney, but I still needed to use it because it did make the wrap taste better.
  • I just didn’t like that it was supposed to be a “mango chutney” and it had 2 raisins in it and tasted like clumpy plum jam. It was just too artificial and I would have rather just had that standard Sweet Thai Chili sauce.
  • The wrap was quite good and it was grilled nice and crispy and there was a decent amount of chicken, but the rice was mushy and a bit bland. I’m glad it wasn’t dry or wet stuffing though.
  • There’s not much sauce in it and I couldn’t taste this “Thai mayo sauce”, but it was less herby, spicy and aromatic than the coconut curry sauce from the main.
  • The chutney gave it a sweet and tangy flavour and it became more substantial as a flavouring than the Thai mayo sauce.

Mighty Leaf Tea – The coffees and teas are all brought it, which is quite expected for a franchise, and they do use good brands.

Wine – I didn’t know Bread Garden served wine, but they do. They also sell them in smaller bottles too now so that it’s never a stale glass.

Desserts

You saw it coming! Just because they took out the “bakery” in the name it doesn’t mean it’s not still on the menu. It’s a pretty big focus too and each location has an on site mini bakery that allows them to bake some things in house. The cakes are all brought in and sourced from local bakeries, but most are only available for BG Urban Cafe. They also offer smaller slices of cheesecake now, so forget the “there’s no room for dessert” excuse, which I never use anyways.

**Mango Mousse Cake3.5/6

  • $5.99
  • This is from their original menu and it’s a popular favourite. It’s produced by a local bakery and I really enjoyed it.
  • This is usually served with a raspberry coulis decor.
  • It’s very light and airy yet creamy and still fluffy. It has good mango flavour and it’s not as good as those Asian style mango mousse cakes, but it was still good!
  • It has a soft cakey crust, a sliced almond edge, and then it’s topped with a raspberry coulis which tastes like artificial raspberry jelly.
  • It was sweet, but not too sweet and it’s very light and just easy to eat and enjoy.

**Chocolate Conspiracy3.5/6

  • $5.99
  • This is one of their new desserts. It’s a classic chocolate cake and it’s everything you want in a chocolate cake.
  • It’s better than your typical grocery store chocolate cakes (well similar to ones you might get from the Save-On bakery), and it’s actually quite gourmet for a cafe.
  • It’s very rich and quite sweet though and it’s a denser chocolate cake, but not as dense as a brownie or as sweet as fudge.
  • It’s not a deep bittersweet chocolate or a milk chocolate, but maybe around 60% cocao (?).
  • It has a rich and sweet creamy chocolate ganache with moist cakey layers that’s reminiscent of a cakey brownie.
  • There are also creamy layers of chocolate cream in between and it wasn’t greasy or overly sweet.
  • It’s a solid chocolate cake that you’ve probably tried before, but it still satisfies any sweet tooth or chocolate craving.

**Cinnamon Knot 6/6

  • $2.99
  • Save the best for last! And they did! YUM! How did I not know about these?! Right, because Bread Garden was an old memory…
  • These are actually from their old menu, but with the relaunch of their brand they might as well relaunch these! They’re amazing!
  • It helped that I got one baked fresh from the oven, but they’re even good if you take then home and just pop them in the microwave.
  • These were so good! It smelled like a cinnamon bun, but it didn’t have the icing which makes it not as sweet, easier to eat, and even better in my opinion!
  • The bread was super soft and incredibly stretchy and it had such a nice pull and it was almost like monkey bread!
  • It was topped with soft syrupy coated walnuts and everything was so moist, buttery, fluffy and light, yet equally as rich and indulgent.
  • It’s not too sweet with a hint of cinnamon and probably made with a mound of butter to get it that texture, but it was fabulous!
  • It also had this crispy flaky croissant like golden brown edge with a thin brown sugar butter glaze that was amazing.
  • It was soft and chewy and crunchy from the nuts and not oily, greasy or very sweet, so you felt like you could eat more than one! It was dangerous!
  • You should feel guilty for not ordering this!

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15 Comments

  • Linda says:

    mmmm i love bread garden actually – i’m a big sad that they changed their franchise a bit though.. i still remember david edo coming to my nutrition class talking about breadgarden – a really nice guy for sure! plus he brought his cinnamon knots for us too lol

    mmmm the veronica salad looks yummy but a bit overdressed for my liking – look at those grapes! kinda reminds me of chinese fruit salad with all that mayo! i like their wraps usually too and their sandwiches too! f you do go back, try some pasta salad, those are pretty yummers as well!

    wow that mac and cheese looks so cheesy but those noodles definitely look overcooked! at least they make most things in house, at least i hope they do 🙂

  • vivian says:

    Have you tried the cin buns from Grounds for Coffee? They were voted for best and wondering how these compare.

  • laura says:

    cinnamon knots are my favorite item from Bread Garden…haven’t been in there in a while, but I should just go for those!

  • Bow says:

    Those ARE walnuts and crostini, instead of that mini croissant. Westernized variations on Asian food suck, ‘cos they miss entirely the flavours that make up Asian food…sorta like recipes in newspapers that are called stir-fries, using modifications of original recipes and adding sweet elements that Asians wouldn’t use(like honey); besides ” stir-fries” can not be duplicated at home because one can not heat a wok hot enuff to create “wok hay”(the flavour food gets from a well seasoned wok); I’ve seen woks with flames shooting 5+ feet high, as the chef shakes the wok, stirring vigorously ! The BG Urban cafe and the White Spot cooks can’t do that. Bread Garden food looks better than it tastes.

  • Dilara says:

    wow Bread Garden… totally brings back high school memories! My girlfriends and I used to go there (the Metrotown location) to hang out, drink coffee, hot chocolate… we thought we were so cool! lol

    I used to work in the Metrotowers so we used to to order from Bread Garden quite often for our catered meetings. Their sandwiches and wraps are pretty standard, nothing spectacular in my opinion. But I did really enjoy the Thai Chicken Wrap (sans side sauce). The new smoked turkey club house looks decent, I might give that a go.

    From their dessert selection, I remember really liking their tarts – the blueberry and chocolate pecan ones were my favorites. Not sure if they still have them on the menu. Your description of the cinnamon knot makes me want to try it, and I don’t even like cinnamon! Go figure.

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – ur so cute!! Actually almost nothing is made in house… except they do bake some of the stuff in house. Since it’s franchise they have strict quality control.. so everything is premade and prepackaged pretty much. Sorry to burst your bubble lol But yes the pasta salad chick pea one looked yummers! I agree the salad was a bit overdressed too.

    @vivian – these aren’t cinnamon buns though so I can’t even compare them to a cinnamon bun.. these are less sweet and no icing and more just a super soft stretchy sweet bread with cinnamon… you have to try it. it’s not too sweet or dessert like, but just a solid “snack”. It rich with butter and not with as much sugar as a cinnamon bun.

    @laura- YES!!!! 🙂

    @Bow – Bow! I totally thought/compared to White Spot too!! However I really do like the Bang Bang Chicken at Cheesecake Factory… and I sometimes don’t mind the rice bowls at Cactus Club.. it really depends on who’s making it huh? I guess the crowd they target are not you and I though.

    @Dilara – LOL at your first comment! I think you’ll like the turkey club! Yes I agree, it’s all quite standard.. but trust me these paninis are pretty damn good.. and we seem to have similar tastes no? Ohh I missed their tarts.. but they did have them i think… but I don’t see them in my photo either…

    I’m not huge on cinnamon and I really didn’t like the buns until later in university when I didn’t mind them if someone else ordered it… i’d have a bite.. I’m still not a major fan, but these are really light! Only smells like a cinnamon bun!

  • Anne Bright says:

    Please advise if you have a cake menu so that I may order a cake.

    Thank you.

  • Mijune says:

    @Anne Bright – Hi Anne thanks for visiting. This is actually my blog and not the restaurant website so I think it’s best if you call the restaurant to ask if they have a cake menu. It’s not a cake place though although they have some available.

  • Happiness says:

    @ Anne Bright – Hi Anne, they don’t exactly have a cake menu. However, the mouse cake and the chocolate cake does come in as a cake with pre-cut slices. You can always call them and ask if they have a whole cake in store.

    @ Mijune – Love your blog, and I have to agree that BG Urban Cafe has really delicious food. As for the Thai Chicken Wrap, you always ask for thai chilli sauce or salsa. I do that all the time.

  • Mijune says:

    @happiness – aww thanks!!! So happy you enjoy this blog and thanks for helping me answer questions

  • Mel says:

    The thai wrap is served with salsa, not mango chutney-the latter is served with butter chicken wrap.

  • Mijune says:

    @Mel – oh that’s interesting. Maybe they served me the wrong sauce then? This was when they just rebranded so they could have been still getting the hang of things?

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