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Feb 6, 2011 05:17 PM

Origin Brunch

This was the debut weekend for Origin's brunch service. I went Saturday morning and enjoyed it enough that I tried to go again today. Unfortunately, they were busier than anticipated and had sold out by the time I got there. Blame the pay-what-you-want promotion that was on this weekend.

We started with the Spanish fries, which are featured on their dinner menu, if I recall. Wonderfully balanced shedded manchego, chopped chorizo and olive tapanade on lovely crispy fries. As good as the mayo was, though, there was a little too much for my taste. I'm not a fan of fishing fries out of a mayo (or any sauce) puddle.

Huevos Rancheros - perfectly done with a wafer of plantain in lieu of the usual tortilla. Would definitely order again.

Duck eggs on rosti - another winner. Crispy rosti, rich duck egg. I'm going to make this for my guests next weekend to serve with the bacon jam I just made.

Burrata French Toast - this one didn't work too well for me. The French toasted brioche was fabulous. The burrata was creamy and was accompanied by pesto, tomatoes, pine nuts and onion. I usually like sweet/savoury combinations, but this was like spreading bruschetta on a donut. The component parts were tasty, but they just didn't hang together well.

Sorry, I didn't think to take a photo of the menu. Next time, I'll try the duck confit french toast, in case that combo works better for me, and the mac n cheese with chorizo.

Did anyone else go? What did you think?

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  1. I saw the rosti and a tablemate had the rancheros eggs which I didn't try, but I imagine were the real winners of the brunch menu.

    I had the omelette of the day (duck confit, barely there stilton and braised pear). It was well cooked but ho hum.

    I also ordered the arugula salad and that was slightly overdressed for my taste but light and fresh.

    My table got a side of crisp bacon and the creamed spinach side. The spinach is on the evening menu.

    I tasted the french toast with duck confit but didn't love it. It made me think of a blueberry cheese danish with a bit of salty meat. The brioche bun was probably the same as they use for the (mini) burgers and it's not dipped in egg batter and fried as a traditional french toast. Maybe the term french toast was merely that the bread was eggy (as brioche is made with egg) and it's of French decent... The girl at the next table ordered it and liked it but said she thought there was too much going on. My tablemate enjoyed it. I thought it was good but not wow, as one would have guessed reading the description.

    Another tablemate had the mac and cheese w/ chorizo. The topping was well browned and I liked the tasty cheesiness and didn't find it heavy at all. The portion was smallish.

    The burger went by and that looked the same as the evening menu. I saw the steak and
    eggs and it looked like a 1/2 benny with a chunk of sizzling steak on the side.

    I've been to Origin once before for evening service and had a good time. The venue and open kitchen is nice for a night out but overall, food wise, I only think it's ok.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chocabot

      We went on Saturday also. Most of us had been to Origin for dinner and liked it, but everyone agreed that brunch was kind of disappointing. But we figured it'll take a while to get everything up to speed anyway. I think we'd all be willing to go back in a few months and try again to see what the brunch is like then. Service and drinks were good.

      Mac and cheese - Not a fan. It's weird but at first bite, it tasted like Pizza Hut meatlover's pizza to me. No one at our table was keen on this dish.

      Spanish fries - Ok.

      Creamed spinach - Everyone found the flavour a bit odd and it was also pretty salty; this was probably the thing we liked least.

      Bacon - Regular bacon, nothing exciting.

      Steak and eggs - Didn't try it but except for comments that it was surprisingly greasy, the people who had it seemed to like it.

      Burrata french toast - This was actually the only item we got which seemed to be a finished dish, the others seemed to have one or two issues. Had a bite, liked it ok - the person who ordered the dish enjoyed it.

      Duck confit french toast - We found the flavour combination a bit odd.

      Duck egg with rosti - Didn't get to try it, but the person who ordered it said the rosti was overdone (the rosti did look really brown) and there was some type of sweet accompaniment (like a chutney?) that was spread under the rosti and he would have preferred it on the side because it was getting too sweet for him.

      Smoked chicken sandwich - Oddly bland, I was trying to figure out where the flavour went. And when I realized that this was priced the same as the french toast, I was pretty surprised because it's a small sandwich. It's on the brioche bun used for the french toast. And it comes by itself on a little plate, no garnishes even - it looked so small and lonely lol.

      I think that what we did when we paid was roughly split the cost of the items we shared, then everyone put in what they wanted for their main. It was pretty random.

    2. I'm more curious about what people paid, and specifically what the wait staff talked about during service. That must've been entertaining.

      10 Replies
      1. re: aser

        I do like this chef, he is of Italian origin and I have enjoyed his food, but Burrata with pesto? Pesto is Ligurian, from the North, very full flavoured, powerful. Burrata is a soft, delicate creamy mozzarella from the south. This combo does not jive in my humble opinion.

          1. re: justpete

            I have had many a Burrata, and many a pesto. It does not appeal to me. But I will try and let you (letcha) know. I would suspect that it is not inedible, but not a union of one.

            1. re: larossa

              I don't mind the idea of burrata with pesto - I could totally see that on crostini or something like that. It's adding those 2 ingredients, and in particular the pesto plus tomatoes and onions to sweet french toast that throws me off. I can't see a sweet/savoury combination like that being enjoyable. In fact, it seems like a lot of wonky flavour combinations that the kitchen was trying out, most unsuccessfully - I guess that's why it was pay what you want?

              1. re: larossa

                Obviously my intent was lost on you. "lemme" know when you've tried. it . ;)

            2. re: larossa

              First off, Claudio is not Italian. Not that this should have anything do to with anything! Secondly, a 'classic' and/or 'traditional' pesto incorporates BASIL, PINENUTS, GARLIC, PARMIGIANO and OLIVE OIL. So lets see...presuming the 'pesto' in question was made with basil, I think we can all agree that Mozzarella and Basil are pretty much in love with eachother (with tomatoes or not). Just my rant of that day!

              1. re: The Macallan 18

                Didn't Claudio go on some rant about food blogger's not knowing what they are talking about?

                1. re: dubchild

                  lol, he pulled that blog post. Except that others have it archived, if I recall correctly... And didn't like photos either, I think.

                  1. re: jlunar

                    The main point of his response to bloggers was to keep an open mind when they come into his restaurants -- not a bad idea I'd say.

                    1. re: EarlyDrive

                      Indeed... those who don't and then would condemn without prior knowledge are laughable... especially when they're completely and totally mistaken. All the more amusing.

          2. Finally tried brunch at Origin. Brunch was the same level of food as dinner and lunch. I'm sure Claudio would be happy to hear that I found the dishes to be busy, bold, inventive and fun. The duck confit french toast reminded me of bbq pork buns. I'm still thinking about the spanish fries and the chicken salad, which is actually a sandwich, was excellent. It took maybe 5 minutes for the food to arrive from the time we ordered. The only disappointment was that dessert is not offered at brunch. The crowd was incredibly mixed; kids, older ladies, and metro types. With its reasonable pricing this will definitely become a sucessful chain.