Al Brown is arguably New Zealand’s favourite chef. And now his smart-casual eatery is officially Auckland’s favourite restaurant. Or at least it’s best. Open for just 8 months, Depot scored accolades in the prestigious Metro Magazine Restaurant Awards announced in April, including the ultimate gong for Restaurant Of The Year. Judge and Metro mag editor Simon Wilson claims that “Depot has changed the dining scene.
We’re getting more casual and Depot leads the charge here, providing a great dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere.” Brown’s winning formula? Most cooking is done over coals or hard woods, giving his simple plates (many designed for sharing) deep flavour and succulence. Wine comes in tumblers and there are no reservations. It’s stylish…but extremely unpretentious, rather like Mr Brown himself. And his menu is a culinary celebration of all it means to be Kiwi, with spanking local produce very much in evidence. Roasted bone marrow with parsley and shallot salad, green tomatoes on ciabatta with goats curd and oregano, crisp pork hock with apple and horseradish, and hapuku belly with green olives, lime and herbs are typical offerings. Regulars know to start with a round of turbot sliders with pickled lemon and watercress and a selection of shucked-to-order oysters and clams….and finish with Brown’s version of the Canadian sugar hit, Sugar Pie. www.eatatdepot.co.nz