Origin North - Anyone been?
I am late to this thread but I came on board to see what others were saying about Origin North.
I went yesterday for a team lunch and have to say that while it may have been one of the most beautiful spaces, it was overall a huge letdown.
It certainly is a nice place, open, roomy, lots of natural light, woody rustic modern. It was a little odd that they set our table up really close to a wall only to tell us that we have to pull our chairs in because the space behind the chairs and the wall was a walkway.
Service was so so, the waitress was nice but there were gaps in her skills. She didn't ask what size wine my colleagues wanted, she took orders for half the table and walked away. What happened was that people on the other side of the table couldn't hear her and she couldn't hear them so she assumed they wanted nothing. There were gaps in the delivery of food so some sat without food for over 5 mins while others that had food waited to eat out of courtesy.
The menu is quite small but with seemingly interesting items and varying degrees of success.
I had a caramelized vegetable sandwich. I think it had eggplant, a lump of mozza, caramelized onions and pesto. Pesto and caramelized onions, blech. Onions were so sweet that they overpowered everything else. I stopped eating after a few bites.
Other items: spring rolls, ok but not worth $9 for 3, deviled eggs, I heard they were nice (fyi - 3 doesn't mean 3 eggs, it means 3 halves), calamari on mango salad, good, spicy spanish fries, very nice.
Salad Nicoise - ok, overdressed
Curry Shrimp - tasty, small $17, maybe 5 or 6 shrimp
Corned Beef Sandwich - good, not great
Grilled Chicken - good
Grilled Fish - good
I think we will not be back for now. Over priced, bad to ok food.
I've heard references to the burger not coming with anything, but I think they must be responding to the complaints, because when I went a few weeks ago it came with the choice of a salad or fries. The burger itself was also fairly substantial (I'd guess 8 ounces) so they might have made it bigger, too. Still 17 bucks. And it was well above average, so I'd say it's $17 well spent.
Food is typical Aprile, comprising of fusion approaches and using 'a bit' of molecular gastronomy here and there to compliment traditional cooking methods.
Portion is on the small side and IMO, a bit pricey for the quality and quantity. Desserts are a reflection of Colborne Lane's heavy handed molecular approach with lots of dusts, crystals, lumps and foams! Very gimmicky!
For first timer who had not experienced Apriles cooking at Senses or Colborne Lane, Origin could be fun. However, for the money, I would prefer spending it at say, Grove. Equally visual pleasing food but taste much better not to mention better value for money!
re: Charles Yu
Charles is bang on! I was there last week with 3 friends. Terrible wine list to start. We all split some dishes. The scallops were pan seared and just ok. The duck wraps were interesting but nothing to write home about. If I had to narrow it down to 2 winners, and I'm being kind, they would be the burger and the Spanish fries. Other than that, no big deal. Unless someone else is buying, I'm not going back.
re: Charles Yu
Thank you all for your replies.
The main attraction was the location as noted above, given the culinary wasteland that is that area....
I think we will skip it and go to Dumpling King instead, completely different 'gastrosphere' and enjoy some dumplings (and a tasty tofu salad too!).
Tough to stray too far when you have a sleeping 5 month old with the MIL babysitting at home ;)
It depends a lot on what sort of experience you're expecting.
I've found the food to be more interesting than how odd or dull it sounds on the menu.
Overall, I've enjoyed it the three times I've been but there are certain dishes that are definitely skippable.
I think of it as sort of a high–end casual chain, sort of like Earl's or Joey only better.
If you're curious, give it a try but keep your expectations tempered. The location will bring me back even though I wasn't blown away by the food. It was good enough compared to the other options in the area, most of which truly are dire.