ORIGIN: Plates you won’t want to share

416-406-8009    |    $6-$29 sharing plates

 

I’ve been to Origin three times now, two in the summer and just recently. I liked the variety and concept, but wasn’t really impressed by any one dish. The menu has been tweaked a bit since then, and I think it’s for the better. I’ll detail last night’s experience, but the recommendation is based on all three visits as a whole.

Food

The menu is divided into Snacks, Raw, Mozza Bar, Chilled, Hot and Sweet. If there isn’t at least three things that interest you, you’re probably crazy. Only issue is price: $17 mozza on crustini plates and $12 for a small fry portion aren’t exactly good value. In any case, here are some quick hits on what we sampled:

  • Spicy spanish fries, chorizo, manchego: Essentially Spanish poutine and it’s delicious. It won’t surprise you, it won’t refresh you, but it will make you happy.

  • Buffalo mozzarella, pear, rosemary oil, pine nuts, honey on crustini (below): I’ve had this all three times I’ve gone for a reason. Sweet, savoury, nutty, and cheese. Win.

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Photo Credit: Sammylicious.net

  • Buffalo mozzarella, pesto, eggplant, roasted red pepper: More conventional flavours, roasted red pepper is the dominant flavour though.

  • Duck, flour tortillas, cucumber, hoisin, sriracha, sour cream: This is a winning combination. Everyone around the table enjoyed.

  • Jerk rock hen, fried rice, grapefruit, coconut, mango: A lot of people’s favourite around the table. Hen was tender, flavours bright.

  • Chorizo, manchego risotto, poached egg, salsa verde, dried black olive: Very successful. Risotto forms the creamy body, poached egg adds to richness, chorizo is spice, salsa verde is bright, and black olive adds salt. Not much for texture here, but doesn’t really matter. 

Other dishes (above) I’d recommend testing out are the deviled eggs (you’ll hear about these from anyone you talk to about this place) and the spicy tuna hand roll with apple, shiso, miso mayo, and amaranth. 

Service and Ambience

Lots to look at inside this place in the dining area and in the lounge space; the deep purple is an interesting palate for the funky light fixtures and furniture, and it fits the eclectic food choices.

Initially service was a little bumpy as we were told we’d all need to eat from the $50 prix fixe menu due to the growth of our group from 5 to 7 diners. After some ‘Really? Why would we want to do that?’, we were able to go a la carte for all.

The Reco?

You should definitely go. Are you likely to be blown away? Maybe. Is it going to be expensive? Probably. But as a couple or big group, you can get an unrivaled variety of well-executed sharing plates that’s likely to leave you satisfied.

Other reviews:
Toronto Life   |Globe and Mail|Toronto Star

 Posted by: Jacob, Visited Nov 12, 2011

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