Thursday, August 5, 2010

Origin Restaurant

Lisa (@HipUrbanGirl) organized a mini all-girls Tweetup at Origin last night. I remember Lisa and I talking about going to Origin a month ago on Twitter, and being as organized and on-the-ball as she is, right away Lisa asked for available dates from everyone and BOOM! Reservations were made =) Thanks to Lisa, last night was a get together between five girls, enjoying good food and good conversations, really can't beat that, especially after a stressful work day! It was my first time meeting everyone IRL too so that was exciting =) I don't know about anyone else but I had a blast - there was never a dull moment as we chatted about work, relationships, school, vacations, food, and other girly things ^_^ Great to meet Aimee (@aimeemabelle), Rebecca (@bexz10), Lisa (@HipUrbanGirl), and Alysia (@blarkness). I cant wait to do another Tweetup with these wonderful ladies =)

I have been wanting to try Origin for quite a while now, ever since it opened a few months ago actually. I think I never got around to going because they serve tapas style, small plates for everyone to share, so to me, it was only ideal if a bigger group of people go (as in, more than two) in order to try as many dishes as possible. 

Drinks menu - we didn't order any booze since it was a school/work night. Also, we really came to Origin for the food only.

The waiter came by and explained to us how the menu works (basically explaining to us that its small dishes for everyone to share). He recommended 2-3 dishes per person, and he highly recommended the 32 oz ribeye steak, priced at $70 (stated as market price on the menu). But we all know that there was no way we were gonna order steak at Origin.

After we ordered, I asked the waiter if it was OK for me to take some pictures of the restaurant, mainly of the open kitchen. He said no problem. I think it is always good to ask, especially when I knew that Claudio Aprile, the head chef of Origin, wasn't too pleased about all the picture taking at his restaurant (or at least with people taking pictures with flash). Anyway, although I was given an OK, I still snapped these pictures relatively quickly. I guess I'm paranoid.

As Aimee knows from reading my blog, I ♥ open kitchens!

Oh got caught by one of kitchen staff! =P

Not sure what he was preparing but he was doing it very very diligently and precisely. 

I liked the decor of Origin. Very industrial chic. Not sure if anybody else knows this but besides open kitchens, I also like brick walls =) I like brick walls anywhere really, not just restaurants, but office spaces, living spaces, etc...really adds a touch of "cool" without having to do much. Also really liked the brass/copper piece of artwork that spans the whole wall. Our table was all the way at the end by the windows.

The light above us. Very cool.

For the food, we were each given the "task" of choosing two items from the menu, so we ordered a total of 10 dishes. I thought the portions of each dish on average were just right, not too big or small.

1) Shrimp seviche + lime + tomato + freeze dried corn + coconut - Love the presentation, the liquid nitrogen is super neat.

2) Spicy spanish fries + chorizo + manchego - Probably my favorite dish of the night.

3) Smoked cod croquettes + saffron aioli - My third favorite dish. Simple but delicious.

4) Panner + dried fruit samosas + tamarind sauce

5) Burrata + pesto + romesca - My second favourite. I really liked the combination of the burrata cheese and pesto.

6) Chinois duck wrap + pickled cucumber + hoisin + ariracha + sour cream - The duck was seasoned very well and moist, but wasn't feeling the pickled cucumber and the other sauces together.

7) Creamed spinach + walnuts + raisins + reggiano - Our only veggie dish.

8) Wokked + fried calamari + caramelized peanut sauce + pineapple - This was a very tasty dish, never had calamari with peanut sauce before but it was good.

We were suddenly given chopsticks. I'm not exactly sure what they are for though...we managed fine the whole time without them.

9) Curried shrimp + naan bread - This is not your average curry. The curry here was very tangy and had a nice kick to it, but it was not all about pepper spicy though, as in, I could tell that a lot of different spices and ingredients went into making this curry.

I cut up the naan bread in five portions haha. Actually I had to do that with a lot of the dishes to make sure we all got a chance to taste everything equally.

10) Grilled lamb chops + hummus + yogurt + feta + artichokes - My least favorite of the night, and I love lamb too! Why? Well nothing was wrong with the lamb, just that there was nothing special about it at all. A simple piece of grilled lamb rack. And given that all our other dishes were so unique, this dish fell short. I liked everything else on the dish besides the lamb though.

After finishing our 10 dishes, we were pretty full. But the dessert menu came swiftly after the waiter cleared our table. Out of the list of 8 desserts, only one jumped out at us...

Dulce de leche + espresso ice + caramel crunch + sea salt - LOVED this. Very refreshing! The milk caramel was as smooth as yogurt, while the caramel crunch was a nice touch. The best element was the frozen berries on top - when you bite on them you can immediately feel a burst of icy coolness in your mouth. Didn't taste the sea salt.

With 5 people, no booze, taxes, and gratuity, we paid a total of $36 each. Not bad!

Throughout the night we were wondering why the restaurant was quiet. Although it was a Wednesday, we expected more people. Our question was answered once we left the restaurant and stepped outside, everyone was on the huge patio. It was packed.

Origin for sure lives up to the fact that it serves unique, one-of-a-kind dishes, shared-plates style. You will most likely not find any dishes listed on their menu anywhere else because even though it may be called "curried shrimp" for example, I guarantee that it is not like any other curried shrimp you've ever had. The only exception I guess is the lamb, but they still served it with a combination of sides that were great compliments to the lamb. 

Having said that, not sure if I will go to Origin again. The food was good, the service was good, really no complaints. I would go if a friend wants to go and try the place. But personally, having experienced the food there once is good enough for me.

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