We went to Lapinou’s patio with friends on Saturday night. It remains very comfortable. The heat lamps will make it very warm if there is a chill in the air. The extendable canopy overhead will block sunlight, but not a heavy downpour. It can get quite breezy if the wind direction is right.
Lapinou started off more eclectic and inventive (our favourite phase), then shifted towards more traditional French bistro (steak frites), and now has swung to a bit more modern French bistro. Food remains very good and the French wine selection is also extensive. Servers are friendly, though the service itself was a little slow. Having a larger party, we sampled much of the current menu.
Gimme Shelter - Goslings rum, lime, housemade passion fruit ginger beer, angostura bitters - like a more tropical Dark ‘n’ Stormy.
A custom-made virgin sour with coconut, egg white, and tropical fruits - fun.
[Not pictured] Le Solstice - charred pineapple infused rum, Bacardi 8 year rum, lime, pineapple, cardamom, cinnamon (on the egg white on top) - also very tropical and delicious.
The wines-by-the glass are available as 3 oz pours, if you want to do lots of sampling. We tried:
- Domaine Zinck 2020 Riesling from Alsace - nice but not as aromatic as last time.
- Guy Breton Cru Régnié 2021 Beaujolais - unfiltered, stewed strawberries, rhubarb, a hint of mushroom, and wonderful.
Thankfully they brought back their amazing house-smoked ham…
… covered with shaved Comte, celery, caper, truffled mayo-ish drizzle. We had it with the…
… brodflour baguette, warm and oozing with sourdough flavour.
There were three raw options (not including the oysters):
Scallop with green apple, radish, mint, lemon ponzu - fresh, light, delightful.
Seabass, passion fruit, habanero, finger lime - closer to a more standard ceviche.
Beef tartare with chermoula, crispy shallot, yogurt, crackers, on labneh - though the least visually appealing, this was a flavour bomb, rich with cumin. The one to get of the three.
Two of the warm apps followed:
Mushroom croquette, truffle honey, chevre - not oily, crispy on the outside, rich mushroom-y and cheesy on the inside, with a hint of sweet.
French onion tart - caramelized onions, emmental, gruyere, niçoise olives - good but a little too salty (from the olives probably).
Then two salads:
Gem lettuce, meyer lemon, fresh herbs, pistachio - simple and very winning, with the herbs and pistachio providing the right accents.
Lapinou Caesar salad - castelfranco radicchio, parmesan, breadcrumbs, and a nice anchovy dressing - nice, though some bacon-y touch would have elevated it.
We had two regular mains:
Organic salmon, with morels, asparagus, ramp salsa verde, vin jaune - crisp skin, just done and moist, with lots of spring flavours and textures.
Iberico pork, grilled cabbage, white beans, yuzu kosho - moist, richly flavoured, and very satisfying.
They also have larger shareable mains:
Duck au poivre - whole crown of duck, green peppercorn jus - duck was perfectly cooked and very tasty, but the jus had a tad too much salt.
Whole branzino (1.5 lb), lightly cooked, with lemon, a great salsa verde, and pickled caper leaves.
We ordered two sides:
House fries with garlic aioli - thick cut, brined in vinegar first, with a crispy outer texture.
Sauteed spinach - breadcrumbs, black garlic vinaigrette - refreshingly without cloying amounts of butter.
And all three desserts:
Coconut sorbet, fresh and pickled rhubarb, pink peppercorn - light and tangy, perhaps the best of the 3.
Chocolate cake, cream cheese, raspberry, cocoa nibs - not very chocolate-y, but also not too sweet and the overall effect was still very enjoyable.
Brown butter tart, banana mousse, rum ice cream - maybe a tad too much salt in the brown butter, but the mousse and ice cream were awesome.