Tuesday, February 1, 2011


At 107-109 King Street East, Origin is easy to get to right in Toronto's downtown. Then again, pretty much all the restaurants I've been drawing are!
This place is darkly lit, very sexy, and surrounds the large island kitchen, where you can see every single thing being made. What organization! What skill. I was so impressed. They also had a very unique interior design, with strange light fixtures, weird acrylic tabletops, and low seats. Everything you order here is meant to be shared- a tapas place, though the menu didn't seem to care what culture they were being inspired by. The variety was huge, the prices ranging from 4$ to 40$. We ordered seven dishes, and were all very satisfied and full. I think a lot of people in their early twenties get scared of a place so classy, but to all you people in college and uni: we walked out of here paying about 40$ each, counting a good tip, wine, and the food is to die for.
Live your gastronomic dreams!

Slam dunk
The mozzarella was massive, and almost sweet, it was so creamy and light! There was quite a bit of oil, but it didn't weight down the crisp and crunchy bread, instead if added a mountain of flavour. I found the bread salty, but with the softly poached pear, I didn't mind at all. What an incredible blend of flavor!

I will eat a platter of these, gosh 
As great as these were, and as many devilled eggs as I can always eat, they just taste like eggs. What can I say? Happy breakfast! Here is your fancy bacon and eggs. Crispy bacon, fluffy yolk, some herb and oil. Enjoy.
Spongy in texture, these not quite golf ball sized croquettes were surprisingly heavy. They had a wonderfully strong, fresh fish flavour, and were salty. Origin does not skimp on the salt, I will say that! The aiolie could have emphasized the garlic more, it mostly tasted of plain mayonnaise.

I still don't know what that mystery ingredient was 
This I had to myself, as it's pretty much impossible to split, let alone three ways. I had to try the raw beef. It was succulent, wet, and had an incredible taste. Imagine the most tender veal you've ever had. That is what this beef was like. Was I worried about food poisoning? Of course not! Eating beef raw is completely safe with proper handling. It's chicken you have to watch out for. Back to the hand roll. I adore sushi, and this was so unique it has given me all sorts of inspiration to put to use in my own kitchen. Apply and nori? Incredible! By the end of this dish I was burning, though. Watch out for those little red peppers, they're devils in disguise.

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies
There was an assortment of mysterious herbs atop this pouting creation that I haven't quite identified, but that added an unusual bitterness to the spicy, smoky fries. They can call them Spanish fries, but I know a poutine when I see one. The sausage was spicy, with the glorious crumble of chorizo. All together the bitterness, salt, spice, and the sweetness of the roasted red pepper kept us picking and nibbling trying to figure out this complex dish. The Manchego was a great finale, killing the spice before it killed our taste buds (as though I could ever recover from that hot hand roll!).

Holy smoking crustaceans! 
Shrimp that was cooked so perfectly that it was firm but buttery, floated in a thick orange broth. Don't let my drawing deceive you, this skillet was bursting at the seams with shrimp! It was overflowing, and they were monsters in size. Though the curry was thick, it was very mild in flavor, letting the shrimp and chick peas do most of the talking. One of the best things about this dish was the naan, clearly fresh baked, steaming and soft. It was great to sop up all that curry sauce.

Sharing our home and sharing our heart 
Actually, there used to be two scallops in this dish. Our enthusiasm just got ahead of us before I remembered to take my reference picture for later. I think that Origin is pretty generous with their portions considering the quality and intricacy of every dish. Though the scallops were as perfect as can be, the rest of this dish lacked clout. The artichoke was strangled out by the flavour of apple in the puree, and the rapini and bacon side was overly crumbled. Even though it was flavourful, it didn't have an appealing texture.

On a completely unrelated note:
Dear Blogspot, please get a better spell check for food terms. You don't even know naan and rapini? Really? Go to a restaurant!
Origin Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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