Maria Rodriquez, originally from Galicia, and her business partner Phil Veal from Birmingham, might just have created an entirely new type of cuisine based on their joint culinary heritage. Spain meets West Midlands may sound an unlikely marriage, but their take on tapas is fresh, inventive and completely delicious.
They’ve established their light, bright contemporary restaurant on the main street in Helmsley, serving up a series of small plates using local produce, and the influence of the Mediterranean and British Indian cuisine is spellbinding. The simple décor, with a beautiful hand painted floral design on the walls has a very natural feel – imagine a Spanish tapas bar with an open kitchen, and a warm and welcoming front of house – Maria’s charm is stellar.
Originally from Birmingham, Phil has travelled the country seeking out new ways of cooking, whilst Maria came 20 years ago to improve her English – and never went home. The pair first joined forces at York Marriott but both were constantly looking out for opportunities to work together again and establish their own restaurant.
‘We wanted to do our own thing after working for big corporations’ says Maria. ‘And it’s very important to us that Origin is in Yorkshire, it’s got a great position in the culinary world’. Phil agrees, and adds ‘Yorkshire is a big food community, with brilliant festivals and markets, and the produce is first class. The high number of top restaurants in the county is good for business – Yorkshire people will travel a long way to eat good food, which gives us a platform to grow.’
The menus change regularly, but expect the likes of kale and roast garlic hummus, cured duck ham, fig and pine nuts and a classic patatas bravas. Larger plates might include cured trout with pickles and a magnificent lamb pasanda, and ox cheek, cauliflower and horseradish. The dessert menu brings chocolate delice with peanut and salted caramel, and of course churros – crisp, light and moreish. Order as much or as little as you wish – a couple of plates with a glass of wine perhaps – or push the boat out with the seven-course chef’s menu.
‘Food is more than fuel!’ says Maria. ‘It’s not just about filling your belly, I see cooking as a form of art, and our idea is to give people an experience they’ve never had before and an understanding about what they’re eating’. Phil adds ‘I see food as making memories, and Yorkshire people are very open to trying new things. Food culture is very strong in Yorkshire, and there are a lot of different types of cuisine, and our fusion food seems to make folk happy!’