I used Dine Out Vancouver really as an excuse for a night out with friends. Before going to L'Abattoir, I got a bit of mixed reviews from friends who have been. One claimed it being "Vancouver's Best", and another said it was "between just ok and good, learning more towards good." Reviews are really just reviews; opinions of different people. And the best way to find out if I would like it is of course to try it myself.
L'Abattoir is located in the heart of Gastown. On a nice, glowy winter night such as tonight, it was beautiful for a night stroll to and from. The down side? Parking.
As I'm creeping up in age, or, time changes taste, I much prefer a boutique kind of restaurant these days minus the loud chattering, but more importantly, the loud thumping music. "Chic and trendy", they might call those. I'm there to enjoy a meal and not there to club... much prefer it relaxed, comfortable, and simple.
L'Abattoir is a mix. Split into two levels, they had the bar downstairs, and more tables upstairs. Luckily, no head-throbbing music. It was comfortable and relaxed. Although the tables were a little squishy, I didn't mind it so much.
Up first, passionfruit ginger soda. I give this a two thumbs up. Not too sweet. Anything citrusy plus a little ginger is always good in my books.
Then comes the bread basket. And Mmm, mmm, mmm.... Probably one of the best bread baskets I've had. It was warm. Most were flavoured. Either it be sesame or even one with a bit of anchovies. Giving it a tiny fishy and salty contrast to your taste buds. We were off to a good start. I could go back just for the bread.
This was my appetizer. The pork pate. Love the presentation. I think it's beautiful. Makes me not want to destroy it to eat it. I chose it 'cause I was craving something salty. It was just that so it was satisfying. The apricot spread around the outside of the plate went well with it. However, the pate was a bit too hard to be pate. Don't know if it's just me who imagines pate to be somewhat spreadable.
This other appetizer was better. Oh my goodness, it was so good. The steelhead was sous vide. I surprisingly knew what sous vide meant because my brother had recently talked about making it his next project... to create a machine for the home to sous vide. Anyway, sous viding makes food extra tender and lovely. The steelhead was so moist. Along with the fish, there was also deep fried pork fat, potatoes and a horse radish sauce.
Lamb and ravioli. Very good as well. Lamb was not too gamey.
Sausage and duck breast with German noodles. The German noodles tasted like gnocchi. Also very yummy.
Not pictured was Jen's fish. Forget what kind now. But she said it was also very well done. Flakey and moist... on top of a delicious bed of white beans.
For dessert, we all chose the pineapple upside down cake. And a good choice it was. The cake was perfectly moist. Not too sweet. It came with cubes of passionfruit preserves. Poked into the mascapone cream was a dehydrated slice of pineapple... which was place on top of a piece of fresh pineapple. The whole thing was decadent.
Washed it all down with a cup of tea. The tea came with a tiny cookie.
Love simple decor. The lights made me think of fireflies trapped inside glass jars.
Overall, we all really enjoyed it. I would definitely go back. I don't know if I would rate it as Vancouver's Best, considering how many amazing restaurants there are in Vancouver. (And nothing has yet to top off my experience at La Buca). But, I would definitely say it's better than an ok and even, better than good. Actually, it was quite excellent.
Another great night with the girls - Pat, Maria, and Jen.