By Susan O'Neill Posted March 31, 2010, 3:32 PM EDT
TORONTO Acclaimed chef Claudio Aprile has opened Origin, a restaurant with private dining in the historic buildings at the corner of King and Church Streets. The property housed a number of clothing stores throughout the 19th century, and the design firm Stroudfoot Inc. drew its inspiration for the design from the Victorian corsets and fashions of the day, said Jason Stroud, who collaborated with Aprile on the project.
“The central focus of the main level is an open kitchen on the east side and a lounge/bar area on the west,” Stroud wrote in his blog. “Part of our design concept is to bring some of the history of the building's location and neighbourhood into the restaurant's design aesthetic.” A series of wall treatments depicts corsets from the mid-1800s, and the lighting, crafted out of reclaimed brass wire, also takes on the corset shape.
Stroudfoot Inc. used reclaimed wood from the Gooderham & Worts whiskey distillery to construct the bar and reclaimed barn board from the Cambridge area to create the flooring. Black banquettes line the wall in the lounge area, and dining tables made from repurposed aluminum fill the main dining room, which has a full view of the kitchen.
A semiprivate dining room at the rear of the space, said to be a spot where Andy Warhol once caroused with local artists, is dubbed the Andy Warhol room. A custom white chandelier constructed out of 150 Japanese monster toys, known as kaiju, hangs above the dining table, the surface of which is decorated with army tanks and figures of toy soldiers. “They're combating and attacking the monsters above,” Stroud said in an interview. “It's a little bit of fun.” The room holds 14. A second private dining room, which will seat about 24, is planned for the lower level and will open later this year.
Aprile's menu features a series of small plates and is divided into sections titled Snacks and Sides, Raw Bar, Mozzarella Bar, Chilled, Hot, and Sweet. Cold dishes include Bangkok beef salad with peanut, mint, and mango. Hot items include Miso-glazed black cod, buttercup squash soup, and chorizo with Manchego rice. The cocktail menu, created by mixologist Michelle Tham, includes drinks with names like the Origin Crush, Factory Girl, and Lucky Strike.
Origin seats 140. A patio on Church Street will hold about 100 in the warmer months. The restaurant is open seven days a week and is available for buyouts.