On a rainy Tuesday night we made our way down to Origano on Leith Walk - a place we've known about for a long time but we must admit, had never been. The outside of the restaurant is a garish monotone green, which makes it pretty surprising when you get in the door and the interior is stylish and romantic, with exposed brick and candle lit tables.
We hadn't reserved and we were lucky to be seated - even more so with a prime view of the open kitchen and log-fired pizza oven. Origano is clearly a popular spot for locals and we were happy to see so many people eating good pizza and not two-for-tuesday bullshit at home.
With the menu in front of us, it's clear that pizza is king here. There are a couple of options for starters - garlic bread, olives or bruschetta, and then twenty different pizza options to choose from - most along a classical vein. You also get to choose your size - 11, 14 or 16 inch - that's something of a rarity these days and we thought that was pretty sick.
We ordered a bruschetta funghi to start - a combination of mushrooms, blue cheese and truffle oil on bread that was as delicious as it sounds. So good that we entirely forgot to take a photo of it. Then we ordered a couple of 11 inch pizzas - a Margherita (£7.95) as usual and then a Gambero Piccante (£10.95) topped with prawns, chillies, jalapeños, garlic, rocket, and santos tomatoes.
We ordered a bottle of pinot noir that sounded pretty good and the waitress told us it was out of stock but they'd give us a better one for the same price... we've heard that wee chestnut before, (hell we've used it before) - but the replacement wine was delicious AF. The service was a little fragmented, the starter coming before the wine and we had to give the waitress a little nudge to remind her to bring the wine over.
Both pizzas had a really nice bake from the log-fired oven - evenly cooked with a nice amount of char - no doubt the Pizzaiolo has been firing pizzas for a long time. The dough itself was surprisingly light and airy; it was pleasant but didn't blow us away with flavour.
There was only a smattering of the advertised mozzarella and we must admit, we prefer a cheesier pie. The sauce was good and the pizza was insanely herbaceous - led by, you guessed it - buckets of oregano. It's a little bit of shock on the first bite, but it is uniquely tasty and makes the pizza here stand out from other competitors.
The Gambero Piccante was hidden under a heavy blanket of rocket, and with the prawns, fresh tomatoes and chillies it was almost salad-like in composition. We did think the prawns were a little too Tesco, we would have liked some big juicy fuckers on there. Overall though the flavours worked really well together and this was a good pie.
With room to spare, we shared a Tiramisu - a dessert close to our hearts. We used to live above a now sadly closed Italian cafe and their Tiramisu healed broken hearts, hangovers and everything in between. Origano's was absolutely dynamite, maybe the best we've tasted in a long time: save space for this guy - you won't be disappointed.
Past the garish green facade, Origano is beautiful inside, with a genuine ambience.
The pizza alone is good, but not our favourite. The total experience however is great and we'd recommend for a date - For a total bill of around £50 for two, this makes Origano a really good value dinner date, that feels a touch fancy but you still get to eat pizza. The light and crisp base coupled with a conservative coating of cheese means you don't leave feeling heavy and bloated, so it's perfect for those whose dates don't end straight after dinner...