06 May 2011

Best. Restaurant. Ever.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to lunch with a business colleague (thank you, Peggy!) at a new restaurant of her selection (new to me, not to Toronto).  If you know me, you will be aware of my peculiar tendencies around food and restaurants: namely, that I must always check the menu in advance and am terrified - seriously, very scared - of new and/or exotic food.  If I don't recognize it, I don't eat it.  Period.  It's a very weird issue and hugely inconvenient for my friends and family who are, generally, far more adventurous in their tastes.  I'm working on it!

To that end, I decided to be very adult about the whole situation and let my colleague - and the restaurant - surprise me.  And what a surprise it was: I was
NOT disappointed!

Origin Restaurant is located at 107-109 King Street East, and features a menu of avante garde international cuisine.  The atmosphere is chic but casual, and dishes are served tapas-style and designed to be shared.  I'm no restaurant or food critic, but I know what I like: steamed snap peas with a drizzle of olive oil and flakes of sea salt started us on just the right note, followed by a beet salad, black cod in miso broth, the "Origin" burger with smoky mayo and avocado and the showstopper: Spanish fries with Chorizo sausage.  Amazing.  For the kid in all of us, Origin also serves up a mean soda float: its on the menu in Cream Soda, but for those of us who are a little picky (read: me), they were more than willing to substitute with Coke.

The service was terrific - our server had the looks and the charm of a younger Jude Law, with a Hercule Poirot moustache! - and everyone took care that we had a great experience, from the hostess to the busboy.  One more interesting aspect of the restaurant was the seating arrangement: it might not be to everyone's taste to be seated at the kitchen bar, where you can watch the service process while you dine, but I thought it was spectacular.  The care each chef took with the dishes he was preparing was nothing short of inspirational, and I loved watching the preparation of my burger from ingredients through to service.  Delightful!

I wasn't able to capture many great pictures since I was in a bit of a hurry (and people were looking at me funny) but here are a couple of highlights from the interior, as well as a couple of shots of the spectacularly beautiful beet salad.  ALL the dishes were as pretty as this!

I tried to add the website address but either it's down or my computer is a wee bit on the fritz: either scenario is as likely as the other.  So I'll have to settle for providing their contact info directly (and suggesting it might make a great Mother's Day gift for that special mum in your life!):

107-109 King Street East
Toronto, ON
M5C 1G3
(416) 603-8009
open Weekdays: 11.30am - 11pm
Weekends: 5pm - 11pm

Wishing everyone a fabulous mother's day weekend!