We’ve all been there – all you want is a salad and just don’t want to make one yourself. And then maybe you do, and it doesn’t taste the way you want it to. Total bummer. Well, next time this situation arises, we’ve found at least one good place to get a fix. Origin, a small café and restaurant tucked around the back of Taikang Lu.
The restaurant is all about healthy eating and fresh food. On our first visit, the seasonal menu almost seemed overwhelming, with such a tasty sounding array of dishes to choose from. We also happened to go on a weekend, so besides the regular menu we had the separate brunch one too.
When we first entered the restaurant we were a bit disoriented, all we saw was a bar and two tables. But we were quickly led upstairs to find the dining room, a small room with hardwood floors and walls, adorned with blown up pictures of food. Decorated in earthy tones – think dark blues, greens, browns, the room is very cozy, with a long banquet spanning one wall. And if you want a little more seclusion, there is a tiny outdoor terrace with two tables and little trees, a nice place to get some work or gossiping done.
The atmosphere is serene, at least until you look up and are staring into someone’s cluttered apartment. Regardless, the vibe is very laid-back and chill. And if the dining room doesn’t provide ample people-watching, there are a few outdoor tables on the street level.
The menu has a good selection of salads and sandwiches and if, somehow, none of them tickle your fancy, a DIY option. We tried out an Ahi Tuna sandwich and the grilled chicken and fig salad and have been recommending them to all our friends. The portions aren’t Element Fresh sized, but they are definitely filling and just burst with flavor. There is also have a small selection of appetizers, pastas, and entrees.
Aside from food, they have electric colored fresh fruit drinks and smoothies, divided into one of four purposes, – detox, immunity, skin, and energy. The menu even outlines the benefits of each, so pick wisely. And since alcohol is an important ingredient to a healthy life, naturally Origin has devised their own ‘les cocktail fresh’ which are mixes of fruits and spirits. They didn’t have a “purpose,” but we can guess what they’re there for.
We found the prices to be decent expat prices, especially for the quality of the food. About ¥40-50 for a sandwich or salad, and rising up to ¥120 for a steak. Just note that they only take cash or Unipay. So next time you can’t bear to have any more xiaolongbao, Origin is definitely worth trying for a health fix – and the gelato stand outside!
Origin – House 39, Lane 155 JianGuo C. Rd.(near RuiJin Rd.) 建国中路155弄39号（近瑞金路)