Wednesday marked the grand opening of Origin North at Bayview Village. Claudio Aprile, the culinary master behind Colborne Lane and Origin on King and in Liberty Village, has decided to go North to offer his innovative fare to the high-end clientele of this “haute” shopping destination. A couple of weeks ago, I actually left my downtown cocoon and went North – this was a feat for me. Believe it or not, it was my first time at Bayview Village, and I’m not gonna lie, it might be my last as going North is not my thing. However, to all of you that do head up there, mark this culinary destination on your radar as it is not to be missed.
The menu, while similar to the ones we enjoy in their downtown locations, does have a few signature items designed only for the high-end clientele of Bayview Village. That said, the menu prices do not reflect this “haute” clientele, which is very nice to see. The space is beautifully decorated and very large. The open kitchen is front and center and Chef Aprile encourages guests to step inside and watch his sous-chefs at work. Next to the kitchen is a stunning raw bar that offers everything from oysters to snow crab claws to lobster tails. Something to note is their delicious “ocean tour” which is priced at a very reasonable $29 and includes fresh seafood as well as a delightful tuna tartare salad, butter poached lobster served in the tail (yum!) and mussel salad.
Alongside the “ocean tour,” we also tried some items from the snack menu including the famous deviled eggs with smoked bacon – a staple on all Origin menus – the truffled popcorn, which blew my mind, and their homemade pretzel, deliciously soft and buttery. We also sampled the mozzarella bar, which involved grilled calabrese bread topped with combinations like fior di latte, pesto, eggplant and roasted red peppers or mozzarella di Bufala, pear, rosemary oil, pine nuts and honey – sweet and delicious.
We then moved into heartier plates like their signature beet salad (this involves an entire beet boiled and marinated), Chinois duck tacos, crispy calamari with a caramelized peanut sauce and pineapple, as well as curried shrimp and naan bread. The shrimp curry was fantastic and I would order that again in a heartbeat. A highlight of the night was the tomato salad with black quinoa, feta and frozen vinaigrette. Very unique and deliciously light and refreshing.
Dessert was unforgettable – the tapioca and coconut pudding had outstanding textures and flavours and also put on quite a show served with freeze dried fruit. The chocolate crunch bar? Yes, the same one Chef Aprile served at Colborne Lane. Amazing. Overall, the sampling was excellent and a nice addition to the Bayview Village culinary offerings. And the chocolate crunch just may be reason enough for me to go back up North.