In the Gastown precinct, L’Abattoir is an award-winning restaurant in a 19th-century brick building but my visit is brief and I get no further than the front bar. This is not a bad thing, as is soon revealed by (then) head barman Shaun Layton’s cocktails. With advice from barman Elias, I do a tasting of signature mixes, which involves such wonders as an avocado gimlet made with rosemary and olive-infused gin; a negroni customised with Aperol and fernet branca, and what could constitute a dangerous dessert in a glass, a Clover Club Refashioned, made with gin, fresh raspberries, sweet vermouth, mint and fresh lemon. Many of the concoctions are served in vintage glassware with unexpected garnishes and ingredients of the likes of smoky pear bitters, chilli-infused tequila, agave nectar and orange oil. Vancouver beers such as Red Truck Lager are in demand and the most popular bar snack is baked Pacific oysters with garlic butter and summer truffles. If you do get to the dinner table, tartine of Dungeness crab and roast fillet of Pacific halibut with grapes, capers and thick-cut fries come recommended from the seafood-slanted menu.

L’Abattoir | 217 Carrall Street | +1 604 568-1701

Update: William Johnson has recently taken over from Shaun Layton as L’Abattoir's head barman. 

This copy originally appeared as a part of 'Best of Vancouver, Canadaon www.theaustralian.com.au and is re-published here under license. Susan Kurosawa is a writer at The Australian and is not affiliated with Qantas.

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