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Origine Is a New French Bistro Coming to Commercial Bay in the Former Saxon + Parole Site in August

The new eatery headed for the light and airy space is the brainchild of two of the country's hospitality powerhouses Ben Bayly and Chris Martin, along with their wives.
By Sarah Templeton
June 14, 2022
By Sarah Templeton
June 14, 2022

Two of the country's hospitality stalwarts are bringing their combined talents — and that of their partners — to launch a new French bistro opening in Auckland's CBD this August.

Taking over the space that formerly belonged to Saxon + Parole in Commerical Bay, Origine (pronounced Ori-gene) is the brainchild of acclaimed chef and restaurateur Ben Bayly and wife Cara, and Ahi's Chris Martin and his French-born wife, Lucile Fortuna.

Between them, the four have some serious links to French fare. Lucile was born and bred in Lyon, France where she completed her wine and hospitality studies. Ben lived in France for several years, while Chris has six years' experience in Melbourne's Vue de Monde under his belt. If that wasn't enough of a drawcard, they've also already snapped up some powerhouses for the kitchen team including Cassia's Vicky Shah, while Toulouse-born Thibault Peniarbelle (ex-Cassia / The Grove / Apero) has been confirmed as the executive chef.


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The 150-seat space is still under construction, but as former fans of the former Saxon + Parole site will know, it boasts epic views of over Waitematā Harbour through floor-to-ceiling windows. The main dining area is set to seat 100 guests in a mixture of banquette and table and chair seating downstairs, with another 50 upstairs in an open plan mezzanine cocktail bar.

Bringing new meaning to the term 'overachiever', Origine will be the seventh offering in Bayly's repertoire of restaurants, which includes Auckland's Ahi (co-owned with Martin) and The Grounds, as well as Aosta, Little Aosta and Blue Door Bar in Arrowtown.

"When I was first starting out in hospitality, I thought French food was the pinnacle or the origin of all cuisines, so heading to France for nearly four years as a young chef was the making of me," he says. "The French classics are in my bones and I'm so glad to finally have a home for them with Origine."

Origine is set to launch in early August and will be open seven days for lunch and dinner. For regular updates follow on Instagram or head to the official website.

Published on June 14, 2022 by Sarah Templeton
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