Being a huge fan of the cooking competition Masterchef, I found out about this restaurant through watching the Canadian version of it which is airing right now every Monday night on CTV. One of the judges on Masterchef Canada is Claudio Aprile who is the owner of Origin. What originally caught my eye about this restaurant was seeing the pictures of their food on its website and while looking through the gallery of pictures I thought the presentation of their food was just impeccable. I tend to always eat with my eyes first so this restaurant immediately caught my attention and was added to my “must try” list I keep in my head.
So I thought what better day to try this restaurant than on my birthday. There are two locations of Origin. The first one opened in downtown Toronto in 2010 which was also the location I visited. The second location appropriately called Origin North is located north of the city in Bayview Village which opened its doors in 2012. Origin brands itself by emphasizing that it’s a high energy global food bar that celebrates the diverse cuisines of the world.
Upon arriving at our 7:15PM reservation we were seated at the exposed kitchen bar which is beginning to be a very common trend in high end restaurants. It’s my favourite area to be seated as I love watching the cooks do their culinary magic right in front of my eyes.
The first dish that we got was their Bay Scallop Ceviche which was off of their “Raw Bar” portion of the menu. The scallop ceviche is kept very cold throughout as it’s served within a bowl of ice. I loved the four plantain chips which was extremely crunchy and complimented the soft texture of the ceviche well when eaten both together. The plaintain chips also elevated the presentation of this dish to a whole new level which I loved and without it the dish just wouldn’t be the same. The scallop ceviche was mixed within this mango puree which was different than most of the ceviches I tried in the past since normally the ceviche is paired with more of a cirtus flavour. The mango brought out a more creamier side to this ceviche instead.
Lime, Mango Puree, Coconut, Plantain Chips - Cost $17
The second dish that was ordered was also from their “Raw Bar” which was the Steak Tartare. A runny egg yolk is served over it so when you break the yolk it oozes all over the steak acting as its sauce. There’s also an Asian flare to it with its side of rice chips (which I wasn’t crazy for) and it’s also accompanied by a very tasty truffle salad. Although this dish did taste great, me and my friend had stomach problems literally at the exact same time after leaving the restaurant and my guess would definitely have to be because of eating this. It could be the fact that our stomachs were not used to digesting what literally is raw meat so I would definitely be cautious when ordering this dish as your stomach may not be able to handle it.
Truffle, Horseradish, Parmesan, Egg Yolk, Puffed Rice Chips - Cost $19
The below dish was their special of the night as introduced to us by our waiter. He called it the Pretzel so how I thought this dish would look like was completely different than what we received. It’s definitely more like a croissant than a pretzel and to me it was the most underwhelming food of the night. Its taste and look wasn’t anything special since the bread could have been store bought for all we know. It’s served underneath this layer of what tasted to me like cream cheese.
Pretzel served underneath a layer of cream cheese - Cost $5
The Butternut Squash Risotto was my favourite of the night. It was cooked perfectly al dente and the creaminess in the flavour of the butternut squash tasted amazing. Having such a creamy texture in the risotto, I loved mixing in some of the crunch offered by the side of the fried up pumpkin chips which was also seasoned to perfection. If someone is stumped at the menu and can’t really decide on what to order, I would definitely offer this dish as my top recommendation.
Butternut Squash, Pumpkin, Marscapone - Cost $17
There is always room for dessert for me and the below two were our waiter’s top 2 personal favourites. I couldn’t make up my mind on what I wanted so I normally ask for a recommendation when my mind is being all indecisive on me. The first dessert was their Glazed Banana. It also comes with vanilla custard, hazelnut cereal, and chocolate sorbet. The portion size of this was huge. The banana has a caramel glaze on top of it which reminded me of a creme brulee. The custard was delicious and the hazelnut cereal tasted like hazelnut flavoured rice crispies.
Banana, Caramel, Vanilla Custard, Chocolate Sorbet, Hazelnut - Cost $10
The second recommended dessert was the Dulce de Leche. The dessert is served in this glass cone which allows you to see the beautiful layers from the bottom up. The first layer is their lemon sponge cake, the middle layer is the dulce de leche mix of custard and yogurt, and then it has these bright red raspberries to top it all off. It’s a dessert that tastes just as good as it looks.
Lemon Sponge, Raspberries, Yogurt - Cost $10
Origin is a very trendy restaurant located near the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto where food culture is running rapid. It’s backed by a great chef in Claudio so it already brings some instant credibility to the restaurant. I thought the service was really good as well. Our waiter was nice and professional, gave us our space and was always mindful when our glasses of water was empty so we never had to ask for a refill which is always nice (I drink a lot of water!). The food came out extremely fast especially the raw dishes which literally was around 4 minutes after we placed the order.
The biggest miss of the night was their so called pretzel which was less than ordinary and of course my stomach problem that was most likely caused by me not used to eating raw meat. The price of some of the dishes were also a little bit more expensive than some other similar restaurants I’ve been to before. With all that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Origin and would definitely go back when I have the chance. Luckily their second location Origin North is much closer to my home so I’m sure my second stop here is just around the corner.
Monday to Friday (11:30am to 3:00pm); Saturday to Sunday (11:00am to 3:00pm) - Lunch
Monday to Sunday (5pm to close) - Dinner
The Everyday Foodie Report Card
Overall: 87% Everyday Foodie Satisfaction