restaurants in vancouver: l'abattoir

B I R T H D A Y  B R U N C H

at a gorgeous gastown resto

Gastown in Vancouver has such a singular charm, what with its cobbled walkways, the steam-powered clock that still chimes every hour, and the cool cafes, restaurants and shops on every corner... it's one of my favourite places to wander about here.

On one such walkabout, I chanced upon L'Abattoir and its beautiful glass-walled patio. It looked absolutely dreamy, and I mentally filed it under "Places I Must Visit Before Leaving Vancouver". Who knew that that opportunity would come knocking so soon?

Thanks to some expert sleuthing by the husband as we were searching for a birthday-worthy brunch venue, we discovered that for all its posh-ness, L'Abattoir's brunch menu was actually pretty accessible.


We headed down on a sunny Sunday afternoon and were initially ushered to an indoor table. But after I requested to sit "outside", the staff quickly accommodated my request (score!).

I didn't know this beforehand, but L'Abattoir was the site of Vancouver's first jail and was also part of the city's meat packing district. I guess that's why there's a raw, unfinished look to the entire place - which is something I do appreciate. I'm glad they didn't completely remodel the space into something too modern and fancy.


But of course we weren't there just to appreciate its colourful history. I ordered buttermilk and ricotta pancakes ($16), while V ordered the full breakfast ($22). Sometimes, I think it's silly to order pancakes when dining out - it's basically like I'm paying for flour, eggs, and milk? But in this case, I was SO glad I went with my gut.

My pancake stack came topped with an assortment of berries, flowers and whipped cream, and was also swimming in a pool of smoked maple syrup - which is exactly the way I like my pancakes (i.e. drowning in syrup). I can't even begin to describe how amazing the combination of flavours were - the berries lent some tang, the syrup's smoky accents added a layer of depth, and the pancakes were wonderfully fluffy and light. Seriously, these were the best pancakes I've had in a while. It comes a close second to the crazy good pancakes I had in a pretty French bistro in Los Angeles.


The full breakfast was pretty good, too. With two eggs (done any way you want), duck sausage, pork and beans, boudin noir (aka blood sausage), rosti, and toast, it's great for sharing and for trying a wide variety of cuts - totally up my husband's alley.

Obviously, the #1 reason I would return is them pancakes. L'Abattoir also offers a bubbly brunch if you'd like some champagne with your meal, and their dinner offerings sound fab too. I hope I'll get a chance to try it!

217 Carrall Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Brunch: Saturday and Sunday, 10am-2pm
Reservations accepted