Depot (Auckland CBD, New Zealand)
Like what their site says “There’s an energy and passion about Depot. Not overly precious or pretentious – just fast, fun and fresh.”, and I agree 100% with it, I love this place, good food and great wine, I think that is why this place is quite successful and there is no lunch time that I passed by that this place is empty, always full to the brim but turn overs are quite fast, so think of it as the highest level of fast food, as they literally serve fast but fresh and of top quality.
This place of Al Brown reflects his attitude towards produce and food where what is serve is in season, beautifully cooked mostly using charcoal or hard wood, and most importantly to be enjoyed with friends where it is suggested to order a selection of small plates and pass it around the table like what you do with tapas.
It’s a vibrant and chic place, you will notice the vibe once you step in on this cosy place. We came here as a small group and was seated on the far middle high tables so we can either enjoy the food standing or using the high chairs. We started with some Grilled Pita Breads served with this wonderful hummus, we also grabbed some of their house wine which I really liked as it was served on a rustic looking carafe, we grabbed a couple of the Central Otago Pinot Noir by Duncan Forsyth (NZ$41.00).
Together with our starters we enjoyed this New Zealand Meat board with Depots wild rabbit rillettes and popcorn duck tongues, with Waikanae wild pork salami, Otlellos beef bresaola and paprika pork lomo served with cherry relish, Olfa’s fig and fennel crostini (NZ$39.00). This was one meat board with lots of surprises, everything was fantastic, I was fascinated by the duck tongues as a week before heading here I had a duck head in one of the Chinese restaurants in the CBD and I did not like it, but here they made it quite special, crispy and insides was so tender once it touches your tongue it melted, like a perfectly cooked wagyu beef.
Then the sharing platters started to come in, staring with this Hapuka sliders with pickled lemon mayo & watercress (NZ$19.00). This honestly was the best, meaning top 1! fish slider I ever tasted, like what Trevor James always say, this is what your dreams are made of. Tasty, meaty, not fishy delicious Hapuka served on soft fluffy mini buns, its simply perfect.
Next up was this Lamb ribs with skordalia & cumin paprika oil (NZ$20.00), a nice and tasty finger food to nibble on, it’s so delicious trust me you will keep on licking and sucking that bone until it dries out and becomes tasteless. Ribs was so tender and juicy!
Then we had some Potato skins with Kingsmeade manchego, truffle oil & porcini salt (NZ$12.00) to add some carbs to our orders. Again, this is one of the best potato skins I tried, very crispy, very tasty, not oily and the umami in that cheese and truffle oil was just exploding with goodness.
Then more meats in the form of Skirt steak with tobacco onions, iceberg wedge & habanero mustard (NZ$29.00), it comes perfectly cooked the way I wanted it, grilled outer layer and rare insides in this meat cut is the best way to serve it, the tastiest beef cut you will ever have, very juicy. The iceberg wedge balances the flavour out and the tobacco onion gives an interesting texture to the dish.
Another meat that came out was this Crisp Freedom Farms pork hock with apple & horseradish salsa verde (NZ$36.00), it’s like a posh deboned crispy pata, to me, skin is so crisp not too oily and the meat was filled with juices, it was sticky from the melting collagen which also adds to the rich flavour. The Apple & horseradish salsa verde was a nice touch, adding a different dimension on the flavour which cuts to the grease from the skin, fruity, sweet, tangy with a bit of spice. I really loved this dish.
Then for my favourite, it has to be a nice fish and it is this wonderful Hapuka belly with eggplant kasundi, lemon & toasts (NZ$33.00). That belly is oily, tender, the texture is right up to my alley, sticky slimy goodness, I can’t explain the joy every bite I take on this dish, this is just the best part of this fish (and the head), accompanied by this nice eggplant chutney, I can’t get enough of this.
This was one of my favourite dining experiences, food was great, perfect in every aspect. The combination of flavours and cuts used was just well thought of. All the dishes I tried instantly became a favourite which is quite rare for most restaurants, usually you have one pick but here everything was my pick. Have you tried Depot? If not, you are missing a lot!
Address: 86 Federal St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Phone: +649 363 7048