Where better to showcase cocktails made with Champagne, that most quintessentially French tipple, than Auckland’s newest French restaurant and bar, Origine.


Origine feels so authentically reminiscent of a buzzy French brasserie that you almost expect to look out on a view of the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe. Instead, the floor- to-ceiling louvre windows take in expansive views over the Waitematā Harbour, the perfect spot to watch the sun go down in Tāmaki Makaurau.

That authenticity doesn’t come as a surprise once you learn that Lucile Fortuna, one of Origine’s co-owners and its general manager, hails from Lyon, the capital of French gastronomy. Lucile had an early introduction to hospitality, with her parents taking her to restaurants from a young age and then working in her uncle’s brasserie from the age of 15. After undertaking formal training in hospitality and wine, and working in various hotels, bars and restaurants along the way, she made her way to New Zealand via Melbourne.

After deciding to settle down in Auckland, Lucile and her husband Chris Martin became co-owners of Ahi with chef and renowned Francophile Ben Bayly and his wife Cara Bayly in 2020. And now, in Origine, this dream team has collaborated once more to introduce an authentic French brasserie to the Auckland food scene. Says Lucile, “I miss French bistro food and I realised that there was not much in Auckland to choose from. No one was doing this authentic brasserie-style offering and with this great location we just had to do it.”

Lucile and her partners have great ambitions to create in Origine “a place that becomes an institution in French cuisine. I want people to come back and feel at home and always have something new to try. It’s all about consistency and telling the story of technique, terroir, and seasonality.”

While the menu may be undeniably French, Lucile was happy to change it up when it comes to setting the atmosphere and service style. “French service is usually super formal, unobtrusive and a little bit pompous. Kiwis are very different from Europeans, and I love that I can be natural and straight up with our guests. It is also one of the reasons why we call New Zealand home and love where we live.”

That relaxed atmosphere will be especially prevalent on Sundays, when the team plans to offer live entertainment. Le Bar, the cocktail bar set on the mezzanine level, will also reflect that sophisticated-but-not-stuffy style, offering a spot to indulge in a pre-dinner apéritif or après-dinner digestif. Settle down for the night to sip on cocktails or flutes of crisp Champagne – or ask the bartender to mix up a Champagne cocktail so you can experience the best of both worlds. With a classic selection of bar snacks to accompany, it’ll be all too easy to stay on until late. SÍANA CLIFFORD


Purists may bemoan the very concept of a Champagne cocktail – baulking at the idea of mixing Champagne with anything – but Champagne cocktails have been around for more than 150 years and remain popular today. The first iteration, dating back to at least the mid-1800s, is considered to be the very literally named Champagne Cocktail, made by mixing a bitters-soaked sugar cube with cognac in a glass and topping it up with Champagne. The Black Velvet cocktail, a mixture of Guinness and Champagne, was supposedly created to mark the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband in 1861. Since then, mixologists have paired Champagne with spirits including gin (French 75), rum (Old Cuban), and even tequila (Moet Margarita); fruit juices or purées (Mimosa or Bellini); and liqueurs (Kir Royale); and the popularity of Champagne cocktails shows no sign of abating.