By: Mark Sutherland
L’Abattoir knows that Vancouverites can’t get enough of their French twist on West Coast cuisine, so starting this December, General Manager Paul Grunberg is now indulging our love for brunch. The exposed brick walls with essential 90’s R&B playing in the background was the perfect setting to escape a cold, crisp Vancouver Saturday morning in winter.
My brunch date was running a bit late so my server started me off with some French-pressed coffee from JJ Bean and a currant scone filled with strawberry jam and clotted cream. The scone was wonderfully crunchy and sweet on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. I was a little worried I would fill up on the scone, but the clotted cream was surprisingly light while still having a lovely rich texture to it.
Once Ashley arrived, we were ready to start with a couple of cocktails. As you do at brunch. The Bourbon Cinnamon Toast Milk Punch ($8) was an absolute hit! A creation of cereal infused cream, bourbon, Becherovka, cinnamon and cocoa bitters. In Ashley’s words: “I can never have cereal without Bourbon. Ever again.” I was feeling a little bubbly, so I ordered the Spanish Steps cocktail ($8) which feature a gin-base and finished off with strawberries and rosé bubbles, I wanted nothing more than Spring to come early so I could spend all day drinking them on a patio.
Ordering brunch was not easy – Ashley and I were prepared to order one of everything off the menu! After much deliberation (and perhaps another cocktail…) we went for the Full Breakfast and the Dungeness Crab Cakes with Poached Eggs. Playing on influences from West Coast and French cuisines to bring new life to an English tradition, the use of pork belly and duck sausage were a real treat in the Full Breakfast ($22). The boudin noir was inspired. Lightly fried while still able to hide the sometimes-bitter flavour you get with blood sausage.
A delicious spin on eggs benedict came in the form of Dungeness Crab Cakes with Poached Eggs and Hollandaise sauce ($18). With a couple of decadent crab cakes to entertain poached eggs and a beautiful, buttery Hollandaise, I may never be able to have an English muffin with my benedict ever again. The dish came with potato rösti, which was a nice change from your typical hash browns though were a tad crunchy for my taste.
Our server insisted we finish the meal with one of their Tayberry Berliner Donuts. We really didn’t think we could eat another bite after indulging in the scone before our mains, but after one bite, we devoured the rest of the donut! The pastry itself was heavenly and light while the tayberry jelly provided a lovely balance of sweet and tart in the center.
Do yourself a favour, and get to L’Abattoir this weekend before the brunch line starts to resemble their line for dinner! Chef Lee Cooper’s menu is a welcome addition to the brunch scene in Vancouver that is set to delight without leaving you feeling like you’re going to be weighted down for the rest of the day. But let’s face it, you probably went for a run this morning anyway. Happy brunching!
— Mark Sutherland
L’Abattoir – Gastown
217 Carrall Street