L’Abattoir – French, Vancouver

I visited L’Abattoir back in August to celebrate my birthday. I’ve heard about this place from Urbanspoon’s most talked-about restaurant list. Since it was my birthday I wanted to celebrate it at somewhere unusual so L’Abattoir which offers French cuisine was the choice.

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Pretty nice interior design and atmosphere. We were there in the early evening so there were lots of seats. They were all filled around 7PM though! Then it became really noisy in the restaurant because the tables were really close to one another.

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The bread we were given before the entrée. We had cheese twists, buns with bacon bits and sesame flat crackers. They were fresh out of the oven and smelled really good. I usually don’t eat things with bacon bits or twists, but after sampling a bite of each I just ate them all. It was okay for me to eat a tiny bit of bacon bits. I really liked the softness of the bun (or is it a brioche? how do you tell it’s a brioche?), the cheese smell of the twists, and my favourite kind of “bread” – sesame crackers! I have had them at Griffins and Mosaic before but nowhere else, so I was really happy to eat them again. I liked the bread so much that we asked for one more basket after we were done, as there were only 2 pieces of each in the basket. Hearts: 9.2/10

After examining the menu for ‘unusual things’ (I guess that shall be the theme of my birthday), my companion and I decided to share one appetizer and one entree – Rabbit cannelloni as appetizer and Scallops & Oxtail Dumplings as the entrée.

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Rabbit cannelloni, with mushroom and bacon blanquette ($17)
It’s pretty hard to tell what it was since most of the cannelloni was covered in sauce.

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This is what it actually looks like. The size of 1 cannelloni (2 in the dish) is about the size of an average spring roll you would get at a Chinese restaurant.

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This was, well, unusual! I have not tasted something like this before. The meat filling insides tasted like a meatball, and with the cannelloni layer outside, the best I can describe the texture is a combination of har gow (Chinese shrimp dumpling) skin with siu mai (Chinese pork and shrimp dumpling) filling. I did not like the cream because it was too rich and had a “meat gone bad” sour taste to it. It was interesting to try rabbit meat though. Hearts: 4.0/10

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Scallops & Oxtail Dumplings ($26). I normally don’t eat oxtails or any organs but I sampled a small bite. The oxtail dumpling tasted just like a regular deep-fried (pork) dumpling and nothing else. However, the 3 scallops were tender and delicious. The sauce and apple slices complimented the dish well. Hearts: 7.5/10

After the main dishes we were not full so we wanted to get dessert. We were deciding between fizzy lemonade or the chocolate cake but decided to stick with the ‘unusual’ theme and ordered the Fizzy lemonade!

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Fizzy lemonade ($9): Blood orange sorbet, tapioca pearls, and earl grey granita
It came with the candle because I made a note with my reservation that I was there to celebrate my birthday. But a small candle was all I got. The Fizzy lemonade was sour (it’s lemonade after all), but more sour than I expected. It was a unique dessert with sorbet slush – though I couldn’t taste any earl grey flavour because the sour taste was too strong. I did not like it because not only it was too sour, the tapioca pearls were undercooked. I was expecting the pearls to be soft or chewy, but instead, they were quite hard to chew. It’s like your teeth can’t find the pearls. Hearts: 2/10

Before we got the bill, we asked for one more basket of bread for to go since I really liked the bread. I was shocked to find that we were charged $5 for the bread when the bill came. It could be the re-fill or the to-go bread, or both. I thought that it should be the waiter’s responsibility to inform us about the charge. But then we assumed that it was complimentary and should have asked. The pre-tip bill came to $64 after tax for bread, one appetizer, one entrée and one dessert. To me it was quite pricey since the serving size was rather small, especially with the spring roll size of the cannelloni. I was not satisfied with the dessert, and with its $9 price tag.

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Jenny says:

  • I liked the bread, scallops and the interior design
  • I did not like the taste, portion size, price tag and being charged for bread without being informed
  • The only thing I will come back for, is the bread! Even if it costs $5
  • Next time I will just go with the usual! (LOL)
L'Abattoir

L’Abattoir
http://www.labattoir.ca
217 Carrall Street Vancouver

– By Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny

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