Consistent Quality: Origin India

Given the news that another Indian restaurant is joining the Old Strathcona fray (where New Asian Village, Daawat and Origin India have already staked their claims), it looks like Whyte Avenue is becoming quite the hotbed of Indian cuisine.

Origin India is my favourite in the area, owing to their elegance and attention to detail. Their dining room, accented with spot lighting and dark furniture, is intimate and polished. The naan, prepared fresh to order every time, is excellent, and their service is gracious and timely.

Mack and I dined there again in the late fall, but this time opted to order from the a la carte menu, a departure from our usual buffet harvest. We were told by our server that two dishes would suffice to share, though we ended up having to supplement our basmati rice accompaniment with an additional side ($3.00).

Mack, ever the butter chicken faithful, made that dish a necessity ($16.00), while my personal favourite, mutter paneer ($15.00), rounded out our meal. It was a quiet night at the restaurant (we were the only party early on), but it did allow for quick kitchen-to-table service.


The plates were beautifully arranged – tiny pomme frites in a rainbow of colours and an artful mound of rice bookended each entrée serving, and made it seem like we had ordered a buffet for two. Their butter chicken is one of the best in the city – moist and tender, I find the heat just perfect for my palate. The mutter paneer was equally good, the velvety cubes of cheese and pop of peas enrobed in a thick and creamy sauce.

Butter Chicken

Mutter Paneer

Even with the competition, I think Origin India will remain my favourite – its consistency and food quality will keep me coming back, regardless of its neighbours.

Origin India
10511 82 Avenue
(780) 436-0558

Polished but Pricey: Origin India

After visiting the new Old Strathcona office of Lift Interactive (where we won the cutest his and hers t-shirts), Mack and I walked over to Origin India (10511 82 Avenue), the new upscale Maurya Palace outpost. I originally reported about the “coming soon” status of Origin India back in April, and seven months later, it finally opened, apparently because they had to get up to code.

At any rate, we walked past the taped-up paper menu outside, through the doors, and were immediately transported into a world away from the hustle and bustle of Whyte. To the right of the entrance was what looked like a take-out counter, but for the moment was sparkling new and unused. We walked down a few stairs into a dimly lit room and joined the three other parties already seated.

Dominated by brown and reds, the space was warm but chic. Dark leather banquets lined both walls, and above the seats was a wooden, compartmentalized wine shelf that spanned the same length. The buffet section and bar was situated at the back of the room, and without a divide of any kind, the room felt open and welcoming. Knowing that the former occupant of this space was a dollar store, I really have to commend the owners for the absolute transformation they have overseen – I can see how additional construction time would have been necessary.


At the beginning of our visit, the music veered towards the annoying tinkering favoured at Khazana, but thankfully by the end of the night, had switched to an upbeat, Bollywood techno that in my opinion suited the space and the location better.

We were told the buffet was available, but were also provided with menus in case we decided to go the a la carte route. At $19.95 per person, the buffet wasn’t cheap, but we figured it was the best way to sample this new establishment’s fare.

The diamond-shaped plates were an interesting choice, and to some extent, the fact that there was a wide border around it made it easier to grip while we travelled the buffet line. I was disappointed to find, however, that there were only eight hot entrees (plus rice, salad and dessert) to choose from. Along with quality, I figured $20 should also buy variety.

Buffet line-up

We piled our plates high with a sample of everything, and returned to our table where a basket of fresh naan was waiting. The naan was more crisp and not as “doughy” as others I have tried, but the made-to-order factor was a real plus. My favourite dish was the lamb curry – tender, flavourful  and just spicy enough, it was a departure from my usual butter chicken preference. Mack, however, enjoyed his serving of butter chicken, though his only complaint was his need to cut the chicken into more manageable, one-bite sizes (he should have also asked for a shovel in place of a fork, heh).

Our plates (they were almost identical)

The service was fabulous throughout – our waiter checked in with us just often enough to make us feel taken care of without intruding. While I am not sure I will be back (at least not for the pricey buffet), along with Devlin’s next door, I really am starting to see the shift in Old Strathcona businesses from those who target the partying set to those that primarily serve working professionals.

Origin India
10511 82 Avenue
(780) 436-0558
Sunday to Thursday 11:30am-11pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30am-2am