Hello, Commercial Bay! Origin opens next week
Origine Bistro opens its doors this week, adding a beautifully appointed and well-run offering to Auckland’s bustling downtown area.
Modern French bistro with a laid-back New Zealand atmosphere, Origine is owned and operated by celebrity chef and restaurateur Ben Bayly and his wife Cara Bayly, alongside their co-owners Ahi Chris Martin and his French-born wife, Lucile Fortuna .
Origine (“ori-gene”) opens its doors for lunch and dinner on Monday August 22 and will be open 7 days a week, with lunch from 12:00 p.m. and dinner from 5:45 p.m. It’s poised to carve out a place for itself in Auckland’s hospitality scene with live music sessions and a special menu every Sunday.
Meanwhile, Le Bar, Origine’s mezzanine cocktail bar opens on Wednesday, August 24 at 5:00 p.m., offering a menu of cocktails and bar snacks built around the classics.
Bayly is thrilled to add Origin to its roster of businesses, which includes Ahi, Ahi Organic Gardens and The Grounds at Whoa! Studios in Auckland, as well as Aosta, Little Aosta and Blue Door Bar in Arrowtown.
The two couples, who have a combined five-decade experience in French-inspired cuisine and hospitality, are fulfilling a long-held dream of opening a French restaurant, bringing their interpretation of French culinary culture to Auckland.
Bayly, an avowed Francophile, says that although it’s been many months of hard work, he, Chris and Lucile have a sense of excitement that finally brings Origin to life.
“When I started in the hotel industry, I thought French cuisine was the pinnacle or ‘origin’ of all cuisines,” he says. “I went to France, I became French, I love the way the French like to eat and they know how to appreciate a meal. We want to give the meaning with Origine – presenting the classics but in our own way”.
While French cuisine might conjure up images of fine dining, Bayly says Origin will be much more relaxed. “When you think of a traditional French brasserie, some just come for an aperitif, Origine is really a place where you can just walk in and out. Or it could be champagne and oysters all day – the full works.
Calling all bon vivants! Origine is a place to sit and savor – the environment, the cuisine, the company. A Franco-Kiwi purveyor of joie de vivre in every way. Bookings are open now and can be made at www.origine.nz.
Origine’s team of 40 represents an impressive wealth of hotel experience, with many links to France.
Lucile Fortuna, general manager of Origine, was born and raised in Lyon, and obtained her hotel management and sommelier diplomas in the city famous for its Bouchon Lyonnais brasseries. His expertise in French wine is a tremendous asset to the restaurant which will showcase a wide variety of reference appellations and lesser-known French styles.
Ben lived in France for several years, including a stint in Chamonix, in the French Alps. An avowed Francophile, Bayly credits his time in France as having given him the blueprint for analyzing and developing his version of New Zealand cuisine.
Chris has over two decades in the industry, including six years of experience at the prestigious Vue de Monde in Melbourne under his belt and, of course, almost two years running Ahi in Commercial Bay.
Executive Chef Thibault Peniarbelle (Tibo) was born in Noumea and raised in Toulouse – living in Auckland since 2011. Reinforcing the family nature of the new restaurant, Tibo’s partner, Judika Ramcharand who was born and raised in Montreal, takes on the role of restaurant manager.
Origine’s menu represents the best of regional French cuisine, curated to showcase New Zealand’s freshest and finest ingredients. It is based on three fundamental values of French cuisine: seasonality, terroir and technique.
The menu is extensive and is conventionally divided into appetizers (snacks), to share (to share), to start (starters), main courses (mains), sides, desserts and cheeses.
There is also the added temptation of Seafood section, featuring a range of delicious kai moana with which diners can build a seafood tower exactly to their taste – think
Tahitian raw fish,
molds smoked in a wood oven, salted with gin trevallyand of course, a seasonal range of freshly scaled products Oysters
with their distinctive “merroir”.
Reminiscent of a classic French brasserie, the Main Courses offer offers a selection of steaks – of chopped steak(chopped steak) to
wagyu tab (wagyu minced steak),
pork rib steak (pork tenderloin)
venison fillet (deer back) and
veal chop (T bone of veal), all served with fries, salad and classic sauce.
Many great French dishes are represented – some in an instantly recognizable way: Onion soup is enriched by oxtail soup
and surmounted by baguette grilled with
County, duck leg confit
comes with stuffed savoy cabbage and Armagnac juice. Some dishes have a Toulouse-meets-Aotearoa Tibo twist. Snailsfor example, lose their shell to appear in Ravioliwith parsley butter and garlic soup and
rhubarb soufflé is served with
gingerbread (gingerbread) ice cream.
Those who are too fond of making decisions will appreciate the formula of the day – menu of the day. It offers great value two or three course meals and a great way for Tibo and his team to make the most of the best produce on the market throughout the seasons.
Kids have their own “P’tit” section with kid-friendly options that include a drink, fries, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. Small main menu options include crispy fish
(fish cakes), chopped steak and
Parisian gnocchi au gratin.
Imparting a sense of place on the plate is vitally important to Ben, and at Origine local produce and producers are proudly named on the menu – including Oliff Farms eggs, bread from La Voie French, Annabelle fresh goat cheese and Ahi Organic. Garden in South Auckland.
Like the food menu, Origine’s drink menu pays homage to French tradition while anchoring the Aotearoa experience.
On the ground floor, in the main restaurant, Bar Origine offers an unrivaled range of wines, spirits and cocktails from the best French vineyards, cellars and distilleries in France, all supported by solid knowledge within the team. . Those looking for an example side car
Where French 75 have found their lair.
Upstairs on the mezzanine, Le Bar, a destination in itself, is also perfect for a pre-dinner aperitif or an after-dinner digestive. This cocktail bar’s drink menu is built around classics, curated by Ahi’s Anton Baylon and Igor Petrov (former QT bar). A selection of bar snacks, along with a good selection of cold meats and cheeses, make the Bar a complete nightlife destination.
In the space formerly occupied by Saxon + Parole, Origin enjoys an enviable north-westerly aspect with floor-to-ceiling louvered windows offering views of the sparkling Waitematā harbour. A complete and chic redevelopment by the award winning team of Jack McKinney Architects has made the most of the 10 meter high stud and mezzanine. The ground floor can accommodate 100 people on a banquette, bar and table and chairs, while a further 50 guests are accommodated at the Bar on the open mezzanine, which is also available for private bookings.
A centerpiece of inspiration came from Jack’s visit to the Maison de Verre in Paris – the “Maison du Verre”, famous for its three-story glass brick facade. Jack and his team paid homage to Origin with a floor-to-ceiling Austral Venetian glass brick wall, flanking the upper mezzanine entrance and main restaurant bar. Hanging Flos pendants add to the sophisticated vibe, with the northwest aspect capturing the setting sun in the west making Origine a great spot for an afternoon drink. Splashes of color – including red leather banquette seats and table tops covered in tiny azure micro-tiles (the tiles themselves are upcycled keyboards) – bring a feeling of liveliness and warmth, while the Solid French oak flooring offers a feeling of being grounded while sitting high above the city, and imbues the design with tradition.
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