The sun was shining bright as Randy and I strolled along the Vancouver waterfront. I was in town for a quick layover to catch up with family and friends and excited to dig in to Canada’s West Coast culinary community. The sun had just begun to slump towards the horizon as a gaggle of photo-ready tourists blew their Canon’s kisses.
L’Abattoir is located in the center of Van-city’s Gastown between historic Gaoler’s Mews and Blood Alley. The bricks and mortar was assembled in the 19th century and is the site of Vancouver’s first jail. Originally buttressed to the city’s main butchery and meat packing district, the name L’Abattoir pays homage to the neighbourhood’s colourful past.
Set in a refurbished brick and beam building that combines French tile work with industrial fixtures, natural wood, and glass and steel finishes, the restaurant offers a bar and lounge setting, elevated dining room and plush, sun soaked atrium. It was in this glass enclosed, breezy space that the two of us plopped ourselves down for a fine feast. A long lattice wood sculpture which appeared a bit like a timber-web floated above our heads as we whisked our fingers through the menu.
Chef Lee Cooper tips his hat to French influenced West Coast fare which he pairs with Sommelier Robert Herman’s eclectic wine program and Head Barman Shaun Layton’s creative cocktail list. The liquids here really are lovely. We start with two local brews from Squamish and Delta BC, followed by Blue Mountain and Le View Pin vino from the Okanagan Valley. After polishing off our entrees we enjoy a delightful wow factor via a thoughtfully prepared cocktail duo: creamy Avocado Gimlet and watermelon infused tequila punch El Camino.
The kitchen sent out a parade of plates that evening, showcasing top notch culinary craftsmanship. Tartine of Dungeness Crab offered a nice crunch with green apple and fried chickpeas while Potato and Herb Stuffed Tortellini featured an uncomplicated bowl muddled with fresh zucchini and sweet curd. The Steak Diane prepared medium rare was a carnivores masterpiece, a charcoal plate adorned with charred onions, potato fondant and spicy peppercorn.
Dinner ended on a high note with two summer-y sweets, apricot mousse contrasted nicely with kernel ice cream while Champagne Sabayon with Berries covered in cream perfectly represented the bounty of the season.
Howe Sound Brewing Lager
Four Winds Brewing Saison
Blue Mountain Chardonnay
Le Vieux Pin Syrah
rosemary and olive oil infused gin, avocado, apfelkorn schnapps, lime
watermelon infused tequila, campari, lime, salt, grapefruit pop
Tartine of Dungeness Crab
fried chickpeas, salad, green apple
Potato and Herb Stuffed Tortellini
zucchini and fresh curd
Grilled Pork Belly
cabbage, turnips, salsa verde
charred onions, potato fondant, peppercorn condiment
roasted apricots, caramelized apricot, kernel ice cream, lemon meringue
Champagne Sabayon and Berries
honey thyme granola, champagne jelly, berry compote