Friday, August 16, 2013

Origin North

The newest venture by chef Claudio Aprile is Origin North (Twitter: @originnorth, Facebook: Origin North Restaurant & Bar). Located in Bayview Village near Bayview and Sheppard, Origin North is the third restaurant under Aprile's "Origin empire". The Origin umbrella began with its first location on King Street (2010) followed by a second location in Liberty Village (2012).

This uptown restaurant is massive. With 12,000 sq ft, the space houses 200 seats indoors and 138 seats on its two patios.

Much like the Liberty Village location, an enormous bar in the middle of the room catches your attention right away. The floor-to-ceiling windows allows a lot of light in, highlighting the dark plush leather seats as well as the brown wooden beams. Really spacious and comfortable here.

Right of the bat there were several items on Origin North's menu that I recognize from Origin Liberty like the spicy Spanish fries, truffled popcorn and beet salad (I used to work really close to the Liberty location). I made an exception this time and did not order the spicy Spanish fries - I used to order it every single time 'cause I love them! But this time I resisted...I wanted to save room for new dishes instead.

Round 1 of cocktails:

MAPLE SOUR - Bulleit Bourbon + Maple + Lemon + Bitters ($11)
LA DIABLO - Don Julio Blanco + Cassis + Ginger + Lime ($11)

My friend Jason and I shared six plates and two desserts:

MASA CHIPS + avocado + salsa + pumpkin seeds ($12)

BAY SCALLOP SEVICHE + coconut + lime + frozen chili dressing + plantain ($17)


Round 2 of cocktails:

THE BRASS KNUCKLE - Tromba Tequila + Mango + Tangerine + House Made Grenadine + Cayenne ($13)
ORIGIN CRUSH - Tanqueray Gin + Orange Confit + Ginger Beer ($8)

SERRANO HAM + grilled bread + pepper marmalade + reggiano ($16)

BUFULA + pear + rosemary oil + pine nut + honey ($17)

CHINOIS DUCK + flour tortilla + cucumber + hoisin + sriracha + sour cream ($17)

Truffle + maple cotton candy + cheesecake + sparkle cookie ($10)

KALAMANSI DOUGHNUT + finger lime + soft serve ($9)

Let me start off by saying that I've had the Chinois duck several times at the Liberty location but because Jason never had it before we ordered it anyway. The duck was well-marinated and flavourful and like a lot of things, a few drop of sriracha made the whole thing "good" to "great" :)

Okay lets begin. I really liked the salsa and avocado in with the masa chips. The pumpkin seeds added a nice yet different kind of crunch than the chips themselves. I wish the dish came with more chips! The Bay scallop seviche was our favourite dish that evening. The distinctive flavour of coconut really came through with the scallop and the crispy plantain chips were really fun to eat. Taste wise, this was very different than your usual ceviche. Very delicious. As for the crispy Chinese broccoli, I'm not sure why it's even called that. They looked like regular broccoli to me and not Chinese broccoli, or "gai lan", which tastes slightly bitter and has large, dark green leaves and long stems. Name aside, I liked the dish. The batter was just right...thin and crispy. However there was a lot of extra bits of batter beside the broccoli (as shown on the second photo). We didn't eat that. We were also not crazy about the yuzu sauce as it didn't have much yuzu taste to it. It was also oily...not the best with deep fried food. Next up was a gorgeous plate of serrano ham on grilled bread. Savoury ham on top of a sweet pepper marmalade sprinkled with reggiano? Yeah this was very tasty. As for the bufula, the sweetness from both the pear and honey was a bit overpowering; too much "sweet" going on at the same time. For dessert, out of the four components on the long wooden slab we liked the maple cotton candy and the truffle best. The doughnut was good as well but there was too much kalamansi; the doughnut was already filled with the sweet and tangy kalamnsi curd and there's even more of it on the plate. Perhaps too much of a good thing? We welcomed the cold and creamy vanilla soft serve with it. 

Related Posts:
Origin Toronto: 1st post, 2nd post

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