Restaurant Review:  Origin City, Smithfield, London

Smithfield is a buzzy place these days, bars and restaurants springing up all over, now the meat market is closing completely. On a sunny summers’ evening the crowds spill out of the pubs onto the pavement and restaurants place tables outside. Origin City, a new venue, is no exception, and is serving some of the best French food in London.

Origin City

That’s strange because all the meat comes from the family’s 600 acre organic farm in Argyll, Scotland. They specialise in traditional heritage breeds such as Black Aberdeen Angus, Large Black and Tamworth outdoor-reared pigs, and Texel Lamb. The fish comes from their aqua farm on Loch Fyne and Chef Graham Chatham is British. What’s French are the wines from their organic family vineyard, Château De La Cômbe, in Provence.

Inside all is gently stylish with low hanging lights revealing tweed banquettes, burgundy and emerald chairs, secluded booths, and long sharing tables with crisp white tablecloths. The walls are covered in wood and fabric which improves the acoustics no end. A bar at the front and an open kitchen at the back complete the setup.

Nduja

There’s a welcoming glass of Champagne and we start with a marvellous selection of canapes – crispy Loch Fyne oysters with sauce ravigote, miniature scotch eggs and Pissaladiere squares, all delicious mouthfuls. Then comes their own sourdough rolls and Ndjuja butter, meltingly smooth, topped with a sail of crisp pork scratching.

Charcuterie

We’ve already seen the sign above the door proclaiming “From Pasture to Plate, Nose to Nail” so nothing is wasted from the animal. Everything is made from scratch and the large plate of charcuterie is all their own work. The meats are sliced as thinly as possible with slices of pickled cucumber to complement their bundles of flavour.

Pastrami

More meat next, this time their Pastrami, a 12 day preparation, including slow cooking for 18 hours. Flat on the plate, it’s covered in Marie rose sauce, grated Old Winchester cheese and more pickles. It’s definitely a hit and a glass of Joseph Catting Pinot Noir from Alsace is a good match.

Morteau

And the charcuterie keeps on coming. Now Morteau, a traditional French sausage from their organic black pigs, cold smoked and then lightly poached. We don’t get the whole thing, just a couple of slices to whet the appetite, sitting on a bed of rich brown lentils with a kick of mustard sauce.

Hogget

This restaurant is a definite mecca for the meat eater, although fish and vegetarian options appear on the menu. Their knockout blow is a Chargrilled Chop of Texel Hogget, year year-old lamb. It’s one long bone with sprigs of charred tenderstem broccoli and doesn’t really need anything else, succulent and juicy. However, they provide dollops of curd and salsa verde to keep your taste buds active.

We’ve now finished with the meat and get an assortment of British cheeses to nibble. They’re served at just below room temperature, not too cold as in many restaurants, and enough to bring out the bite of the blue cheese, my favourite.

Peach Millefeuille

Dessert is a glorious Peach Millefeuille, as French as you can get and none the worse for that. In fact, there’s a Provençal influence evident in all the dishes we’ve eaten, even though most of the ingredients are from Scotland. It’s no surprise then to learn that the owners have spent time in that part of the world. Happily, they’ve brought their little bit of sunshine to West Smithfield.

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Origin City

12 West Smithfield

London EC1A 9JR

+44(0)2045686240

[email protected]

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