If you walk past L’Abattoir restaurant, direction north, and take a hard left at Gaoler’s Mews, you are a mere 10 steps away from No. 1, where, once a month, a set of eight places will be available for a very special dinner. Restaurant co-owner Paul Grunberg and co-owner and chef Lee Cooper, along with sommelier extraordinaire Lisa Haley, bring along two or three of L’Abattoir’s cooks, and prepare a one-of-a-kind culinary extravaganza at an exclusive chef’s table.
“We thought this would be a fantastic way to really connect with guests, and it kind of takes us back to our early days,” Grunberg says during a preview of the dinner. Cooper agrees, saying, “it is a pretty interactive thing. Our guests can ask plenty of questions, and we are right there with them for the evening.” The place settings are all side-by-side, and directly across from them, on the same large stainless steel counter, the chefs do the prepping, cutting, carving, plating—all up close and personal.
Behind the counter are the actual stoves and ovens, used most of the time for the private dining room located just upstairs. But for the selected evenings, No. 1 Gaoler’s Mews will be the only game in town. “Each guest will have our full attention—there won’t be any competing events upstairs,” says Grunberg. Haley will match various wines, all hand-picked by her, with the many courses. “It’s going to be a great adventure,” she says. Everything is done within the intimate confines of the space, providing a rare opportunity to observe, and interact with, one of the finest culinary teams in British Columbia.
Some of the delights on that preview evening: baked Pacific oyster with summer truffle; foie gras parfait, grilled bread, and quince parmesan royale; spicy tuna pizza; asparagus with boudin blanc and bagna cauda; and pigeon in caramelized garlic sauce. Haley’s wine selections included a Mount Pleasant Semillon 2007, Cantina del Pino Barbaresco, and Bollinger NV rosé.
You can reserve seats for two or more. The first three seatings, for May, June, and July, sold out in less than three minutes. Indeed, this is one hot ticket.
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