Depot Eatery & Oyster Bar
86 Federal St, central city. Ph 363-7048, eatatdepot.co.nz.
Breakfast, lunch & dinner, 7 days.$$
Restaurant Personality of the year: Gatlin Avery
Remember the world before sliders and when oysters didn’t come freshly shucked? Al Brown changed all that when he opened Depot in late 2011. The place is still great. The raw timber tables are wearing in nicely, the lighting is low, the cutlery’s in cans, wine in tumblers — all totally uncontrived. The raw bar is brilliant — do try the clams — and so is everything else. The beef cheek is unctuous, on fluffy light celeriac mash. The hapuku belly — currently served with an eggplant kasundi — is the sort of dish this joint does best: rustic plating, robust flavours, a lesser-known cut. Then there are the brussels sprouts with pig-cheek bacon and walnuts, the kind of dish that makes winter okay. Depot is nearly always full, but this is part of the excitement: it makes you feel you live in a city that’s come of age.
A FAVOURITE DISH: Roasted pork hock with apple-and-horseradish salsa verde.
Shared-plate options / Free-range chicken and/or pork / Bar / Craft beer selection / Bookings not usually taken