Bringing life back to the abandoned Irish Heather space (Irish Heather has since moved on to better digs), Paul Grunberg – former GM at Bao Bei , MARKET and Chambar – has whipped the Gastown spot into L’Abattoir. And while the restaurant is erupting with ideas, ambition and flare, contrary to what the name suggests (Abattoir means slaughterhouse) the menu doesn’t revolve around meat; rather it’s homage to Gastown’s heritage; specifically a salute to the tale about the nearby Blood Alley being a butchery district.
The three-section restaurant revolves around a 48-seat mezzanine overlooking the solarium, which boasts a 30-foot long tree branch chandelier. A lowered 10-seat bar is at the front with a section of high-tops, for those waiting for a table or just in for a pint; further in, the 40-seat main dining room. All three parts have the uniform look of red exposed brick, black and white plastic chairs, wooden tables, grey booths, and custom designed chandeliers. Chef Lee Cooper (from the Okanagan’s Mission Hill and Fresco) devised the menu, and his foodie fans should have a blast with the sheer intricacy of the French-influenced fare, but to anyone else about to strap in for what seems like a rocket sled of delicious bewilderment, keep in mind that L’Abattoir often prefers articulation to demonstration, as witnessed in entrées like the Indian-style leg of lamb and roasted flank steak with sweetbread.
Other choices include a poached halibut with mussels and spinach dumplings; free-range chicken with soy and sesame and, for the vegetarian of the group, a crispy mushroom turnover. Entrées hover around $22-$24 a plate. Starters include the likes of a Dungeness crab with chickpea toast, confit albacore tuna, raw pacific ousters, poached egg with quinoa and Swiss chard, and the mostaccioli pasta with mozzarella and borlotti beans, all ranging from $10-$13 a pop.
Cooper ensures his hardest stamp of approval for freshness, as does Shaun Layton – the barman behind the cocktail lineup. There is the classic martini and daiquiri available, but there are more interesting finds, like the Fino Sour (Fino sherry, Cognac, lemon, clove, grapefruit peel), the Donald Draper (Buffalo Trace, Pineau De Charentes, Apricot de Pouillson, bitters, Absinthe), or the Spot of Tea (Beefeater 21 gin, Pimms No.1, English breakfast tea syrup, orange marmalade, fresh lemon). And, be warned, Layton serves with a heavy hand.
217 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC
Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm, Bar until midnight (Brunch and Lunch coming soon)
Cuisine – French
Area – Gastown
Price – $$$ (Within Reach)
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