I first visited L'Abattoir in May 2011. My dining partner and I left on cloud nine. Having had that wonderful dining experience, I decided to celebrate my birthday at L'Abattoir this year. The menu has been redesigned to showcase Fall specialties. You could, however, still find some favorite dishes from the Summer menu such as the dungeness crab and cheakpea toast, the confit of albacore tuna, and the Steak Diane. One particular dish that really stuck in my mind from the Summer menu was the soy glazed duck breast. Unfortunately, they didn't carry that dish forward to the Fall menu.
The breadbasket at L'Abattoir never failed to impress me and my friends. They came fresh and warm from the kitchen. The breadbasket was filled with the anchovy cheese twist, the lightly spiced flat bread and the buttery bacon brioche. Although the breadbasket was complimentary, all of the breads in the breadbasket were perfectly made. It was my friends' first visit to L'Abattoir and the breadbasket alone convinced my friends that L'Abattoir is no ordinary restaurant.
For the appetizers, we ordered the poached egg with black truffle, the marinated North Arm farm beetroot salad, the pan fried veal sweetbread on toast and the Steelhead served with crunchy potato salad.
The poached egg totally got me at my first bite. The combination of poached egg, potato gnocchi, pecorino, fried shallots and black truffle was totally brilliant, they simply melted in my mouth. I should say this was the best poached egg I've ever had.
Beetroot is not my favorite vegetable to begin with as I am not a fan of its earthy flavor. The marinated beetroot dish, however, made me change my mind about this vegetable. The taleggio custard really balanced out the earthy flavor from the beetroot. This was simply my favorite beetroot salad.
The pan fried veal sweetbread was another lovely appetizer. Some of my friends love it while the others and myself found the sauce gribiche a little too sweet.
The last appetizer on the table was the warm steelhead and crunchy potato salad. My friend enjoyed the steelhead with the horseradish sauce and she loved the aromatic flavor of the dill. The downside of this dish was the crunchy potato salad as she found it lacked it flavor.
For the main course we ordered the Steak Diane, the loin of rabbit stuffed with its leg, the scallops and oxtail dumplings, and the pork shoulder cooked in milk.
The Steak Diane was served with potato fondant, charred onions, bone marrow bon bon and garnished with peppercorn. This dish, unfortunately, failed to impress me. It was not a bad dish at all as all the components were cooked properly. I just personally found there were a little too many peppercorns for my liking.
One of my friends ordered the rabbit dish. The loin of rabbit stuffed with its leg was wrapped with bacon and underneath the dish was the cabbage puree. The rabbit dish was then topped with figs and radishes. The rabbit dish was wonderful, the meat was tender and nicely seasoned. All I can hear from my friend was "mmmm~"
My other friend really enjoyed her scallop dish. The oxtail dumplings were wrapped into a cylindrical form. They looked more like an egg roll to me. The scallops were exquisitely seared and together with oxtail dumplings, the Asian pear, the beech mushroom and the hidden bok choy they made a nice combination of texture and flavor. The spiced jus that was poured all over the dish was apparently one of the main stars. My friend couldn't stop telling me how good the spiced jus was.
Although it looked simple in presentation, the pork shoulder was incredibly tender. My gosh, it was just so good.
I was totally surprised and impressed at the same time. The pork shoulder dish easily become my second favorite entrée at L'Abattoir after the soy glazed duck breast.
They totally changed the dessert menu for the Fall season. The Earl Grey Pot de Creme and the Nanaimo bar were our choice of dessert for the night.
The Earl Grey Pot de Creme was a really light dessert. It consisted of three layers: the whipped milk sprinkled with cinnamon at the top, lemon shortbread in the middle and the earl grey cream at the bottom. When all the components were eaten together, you can taste the fluffiness of the whipped milk, the crunchiness of the lemon shortbread and the aromatic flavor of the earl grey. I loved it.
The Nanaimo bar was served with poached pear, chocolate tuile, spiced wine and pear sorbet. The Nanaimo bar itself was rich and creamy. The pear two ways were nicely prepared. I really enjoyed the pear sorbet - it was really refreshing. Although I like the presentation, I personally didn't get how all these components link to each other. I found that it's best to enjoy each component on its own.
The service that night was solid as usual and we left the dining room with a big smile on our faces.