There was Hardly any fine dining restaurants in Richmond until Origo Club opened its doors across from the Richmond Oval. The lease was said to have cost the owners a whopping amount of 5 million over 10 years, this alone has made the restaurant the most highly anticipated restaurant in the Lower Mainland this year.
This certainly is exciting news for a city mainly known for Chinese food. Many of the locals would love the idea of not having to travel to Gastown for haute cuisine, exclusive French wines, and trendy coffee beverages.
The expectation was high when I came here with a bunch of friends visiting from Seattle.
Serving our table was the bar manager Winson Ho, who appeared to have a vast knowledge of wines, sake, whisky, and many aspects of mixology. If you know a bartender who used to carve ice at a Japanese bar for a whole year, you are in good hands for the most properly-served drinks!
The wine list here is curated by managing partner Woody Wu, former sommelier at Hawksworth, offering fine wines imported from Burgundy and Bordeaux, not only by the bottle but also by the glass dispensed by a Coravin system. On the main dining room wall, there is a display of a partnership between the restaurant and Champagne Barons de Rothschild. They are really serious about their wines here.
And chef David Pan is helming the kitchen. A classically trained chef, he is also a culinary expert with extensive knowledge of fine wine and food pairing, which he has gained on the line at a number of prestigious restaurants such as Chartwell, Market by Jean-Georges, and Bishop’s.
Our visiting guests, however, did feel like having sake for the evening. Winson recommended a bottle of the Shichi hon yari ‘Tama Sakae’ junmai, a very smooth and balanced one to slowly enjoy during the entire dinner service.
And the food is impeccable.
To wake up the palate, a couple of small bite dishes from the ‘Mignardises” section certainly did the job nicely. The Escargots is dressed in a delicious warm butter infused with lemon, garlic, and parsley – the aroma is just incredible. The Frog Legs comes to the table delicately as the special of the day, and the flavour is so clean and exquisite.
For “Petits Plats”, two dishes stand out with such elegance. The Petoncles, or the pan-fried scallops, are cooked perfectly with such a silky centre when cut in halves. The flavourful elements also include sunchoke puree and champaign vinaigrette. The Terrine de Fois Gras, with celeriac purée, kirsch-macerated cherries and ruby-port gelée on the side, impressed everyone with such a buttery texture,
The mains, also known as “Grand Plats” on the menu are drawing out the praises. The Pates Pappardelle a la Truffle features house-made pappardelle with truffles, morels, truffle mornay sauce and comté cheese, and the added shaved black truffle for $20 is really worth it for elevating the flavours. I find the version of the Morue Charbonniere here is just as brilliant as the one I love at Blue Water Cafe, with the piece of shoyu-glazed sablefish cooked to perfection and simmered in an umami- forward consomme infused with precious matsutake mushroom. And the final bow is for the Entrecote de Boeuf, the 48 days dry-aged ribeye steak, with peppercorn sauce, forest mushrooms, cipollini and fennel puree, a truly class act for such a culinary showcase.
We also grabbed the freshly made desserts of the day, all beautifully presented and prepared by pastry chef Remi Ho, who was a sous chef at the Swiss pastry house, Chez Christophe.
What a classic dinner to remember! The dishes are definitely not shy of bold, but very familiar French flavours. The classically trained chef has put everything is so precise on the plate. The service is also impeccable here as the staff has such a solid knowledge of food and beverages. If I have something negative to say – perhaps the tables and chairs seem a bit too loungy for me. The bar is stunning though, undoubtedly the most gorgeous I have seen outside of downtown Vancouver!
6888 River Rd #110, Richmond, BC V7C 0B5
(604) 285-8889 or origoclub.ca