Claudio Aprile’s soon-to-open restaurant will bring liquid caesar salads to King Street East

Claudio Aprile’s soon-to-open restaurant will bring liquid caesar salads to King Street East

Claudio Aprile at Colborne Lane (Photo by Rick O'Brien)

Soft-serve ice cream and oysters seems like an odd pairing, but not to Toronto’s pre-eminent food renegade, Claudio Aprile. Both are slated to be served at his in-the-works restaurant, Origin, which is scheduled to open in June at 107 King Street East. “I think of Origin as the younger, more rebellious brother of Colborne Lane,” says Aprile, noting that the new venture will be less technique oriented, and as much about natural inspiration as ingredient sourcing. He intends for the place to be “a collection” of his many travels, his international training and his taste for both high and low cuisine. There will be a soft-serve machine, for example, because if you ask Aprile, “Dairy Queen’s is the best ice cream on the planet.”

The menu is still in the works—Aprile assures us that it will be until the 11th hour—but it will certainly tackle the raw bar concept. Many do well with the idea, he says, but there are still avenues to be explored with it. As with all his projects, the goal is to stand out on the restaurant scene: “That’s why you won’t find a caesar salad on any menu of mine.” In superb avant-gardist style, Aprile is planning a liquid caesar salad for Origin. Crazy? Perhaps. Aprile’s been called a mad scientist before for his molecular gastronomy approach to cooking, but he takes issue with the title: “Someone who is mad is out of control, and everything I do is about control.”

Even so, it looks like Aprile is loosening the reins for his new restaurant. Origin will share some elements with its more docile sibling—like cutting-edge design and Aprile’s top 40 musical selections (because “everything we do in life should have a soundtrack”)—but there will be no A-list private hideaway akin to Colborne Lane’s. “There is nothing private about Origin,” explains Aprile. “It’s open, honest and extremely interactive.” And good news: it will be more affordable, too.

If Origin’s combination of controlled rebellion, wide-ranging fare and lower prices is a bit perplexing, think of it this way: for Aprile, it’s about “having a bowl of Thai soup that is as detailed and as complex as an eight-course Michelin-starred meal.” Or, if the fancy strikes, a dipped cone.