10 Mar

A brief vacation abroad has gotten me behind on my postings so pardon the tardiness. For the event of Valentine’s Day, one seeks a restaurant where you can have a relaxed and intimate atmosphere and where you can almost guarantee a certain level of quality… especially if the restaurant is not one already known to your significant other. Sadly many restaurants succumb to the “special” St-Valentine’s day menu to accommodate the larger number of patrons they may expect. Personally that doesn’t fly for me so I wanted a place that had their usual menu and that wouldn’t be trying to push us out the door to get more people. In the end, I decided to take my girlfriend (such a strange word to write after all this time… haha) to my Mile End favourite, Lawrence. While I had never been for dinner as of yet, my brunch place of choice had been on my list for a while dinner-wise. I was pretty confident that this would be a good choice, so off we went for a hopefully lovely Saturday night.

From an atmosphere point of view, Lawrence hit it perfectly for dinner. The low lighting, the sparse yet comfy surroundings, the good but not intrusive music and most importantly, the impeccable service from end-to-end. Good attention from the entire service team and without any sense of pushing us out. Wonderful job by co-owner Sefi Amir and her team – perfect on a night such as Valentine’s day.

First up, we were treating to some of Lawrence’s wonderfully fresh bread (available at their butcher shop down the street) to go with some starting drinks. On this evening, I chose to go with the Bourdon Apple Cider. Loved the touch of rosemary to go with the combination of bourbon and apple.

For starters, I went with the salted duck breast with lentils, radishes and parmesan because I can’t say no to duck when it’s on the menu. A consistent theme with Lawrence when you scan the menu is how the combinations in the dishes seem slightly strange when you read them aloud. Thankfully however, the combinations work beautifully. In this case, the salty and fatty duck breast mixed so well with the freshness of the radishes, the sharpness of the parmesan and the lentils. Such a wonderful dish. The first bite pretty much confirmed that I had made the right choice for the night.

My girlfriend went with the octopus with chickpeas and coriander. Outside of the wonderfully tender octopus, the interesting part of this dish was the overall creaminess with the sauce which somehow didn’t overshadow the coriander and the chickpeas. Just another wonderfully fresh dish from the kitchen.

Main dish wise, Lawrence is strong on meats which I love… the fact that I greatly enjoy their butcher shop and understand the quality of meats they use made me very excited to see how they use their own products in the restaurant. My choice of the pork sirloin with sauerkraut, sage and leeks certainly lived up to my expectations. A beautiful piece of fatty pork, the acidic sauerkraut and the cooked down leeks all held together by a small sauce… just a great meaty dish. I loved this plate so much…. which makes the fact that my girlfriend’s choice was even better just blow my mind.

Pig’s offal (in this case – heart, tongue and liver) with clams and salt lemon and white beans. Just ridiculous in all the right ways. Beautiful pieces of offal cooked perfectly, the fresh clams, the rich broth, the hardiness of the beans… this dish was a perfect balance of all the elements one seeks in a dish. This is a dish who people who say they will never like offal and those who love it. If you can’t love this dish, you have a serious problem.

We still had some room for dessert so we went for a piece of marshmallow, chocolate and spice cake. The one relative negative of the night – I enjoyed all the components individually but something didn’t mesh properly together. Personally I think the texture of the marshmallow was the weak link for me.

So a slight negative to finish the evening but it didn’t matter frankly. Lawrence was the experience I had hoped for and the one I hoped my girlfriend would get to experience for her first time. It was great evening through and through. Props to Chef Cohen and the rest of the staff for the great meal. I was already a fan with brunch and their butcher shop. Dinner just confirmed how amazing Lawrence is and how I will continue to support the wonderful work they do. You should as well!


5201 Saint-Laurent
514 503 1070

Lawrence on Urbanspoon


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