It was a highly anticipated night for me…checking out the newly opened L’Abattoir with fellow foodie friend @foodandtell! I’m a restaurant fan-girl as I enjoy the fun and discovery of a new dining establishment. Trying a new restaurant is as exciting as opening a present on my birthday. I’m geek; I take joy in simple things like that. And our food adventure on their opening night was witnessed by Scout Magazine…we gave them some good sh&*s and giggles about it ;)
Guess we arrived early as the romantic beautiful room was still pretty empty but the bar was already hopping with Shaun Layton furiously mixing up some good drinks. I took a brief tour around the restaurant and was awestruck with the back dining area. It has a glass ceiling which the lit the space with natural light and guests sit under intertwined branches that stretched across the length of the room.
The wait staff was anxious, eager, and keen as it was opening night. General Manager, Paul Grunberg, was also ‘hands on deck’ and working the room to ensure the guests were enjoying the experience and food. Our waiter was extremely friendly too and I pre-warned him about my photo-snapping. For a summer perfect day at such a restaurant, of course I had to start going through their cocktails list. My inaugural drink was the Pisco Punch #2
It was a fusion of pisco, fresh watermelon, kaffir lime infused syrup, mint, fresh lime, and bitters. And like its description, the sweet refreshing drink was like a summer in a glass.
As a starter, we had a ‘version’ of a bread basket which really was a mix of buns, cheese twists, and crisps..and most of it had bits of bacon it. That’s like my new mantra…anything with bacon tastes better.
I’m a poached egg fan so as our first starter was a dish that had poached egg, quinoa, swiss chard, homemade ricotta cheese, tomato sauce. It seemed like the egg was the bind that held the flavours and textures of the ingredients together.
Next starter was the dungeness crab and chickpea toast with toasted brioche, light crab custard, and carrot pickles.
This is purely out of personal association …this custard like dish totally reminded me of the ‘cocktail fruit salad and shrimp in mayo’ that is served at Chinese banquets; Chef Lee Cooper probably wants to put a cleaver through me for that one. But aside from that, I really liked the creamy custard and the delicateness of the brioche cup.
We continued our sharing with the main courses. The first to arrive was the steamed fillet of ling cod.
It was a light dish with celeriac croquettes, glazed celery, artichokes and tomato olive oil sauce. It was a nice surprise of how the citric tangy tomato added another layer of flavour. It was almost yin yang of the strong tomato with the subtleness of the rest of the dish…but worked out very well.
Next came the roasted fillet of steelhead.
This was more flavourful with the raviolies of smoked trout belly, rich browned butter and caper emulsion. I really like the smoky savoury taste of the sauce. With the raviolies, think I was expecting something different. When I ate it, the texture and flavour was like a ‘repeat’ of the fillet instead of enhancing it. As a separate dish, it would taste great but I think as a complement to the fillet it would have been better if the raviolies had a different filling. *throws hands up* I’m not a chef but I’m listening to what my taste-buds are telling me.
No opening hiccups for this latest addition to the burgeoning Gastown dining scene. L’Abattoir is chic and cool with down to earth friendly staff. This neighbourhood is for sure becoming the mecca of culinary excellence.
217 Carrall Street