Depot Eatery (86 Federal Street)
I was beyond excited when I was presented with an opportunity to visit this treasure of Al Browns. It was definitely my first experience at an oyster bar, and it was such a tasty experience that I know it won’t be my last. Depot doesn’t take reservations, so when we arrived we were told there would be about a half an hour wait for a table; which was fine – they just took our name and number and we popped across to SkyCity for a wander and a drink. About 25 minutes later we were in, with rumbling bellies. It is a delightful set-up, lots of big shared tables (and numerous smaller ones too) with high seating. We ordered some oysters and clams (I had taken a strong stance on how much I disliked them; little did I know I would be such an easy convert!) followed by numerous small plates to share. There is the option of ordering one big main (like a slab of meat, or a chicken) and topping it up with sides, but we wanted a little bit of everything so we ordered tapas style. We tried tacos (my favourite), bone marrow, duck fat yams, lamb ribs and meaty yorkshire puddings – everything was extremely rich, filling and delicious. Tried as we might, we just couldn’t finish off the plates, so me (being me) bundles all the leftovers into a doggy bag and took ’em home.
It was a wonderful dining experience, accentuated by the incredible wait staff. Attentive, humorous and knowledgeable, they were an awesome bunch who seemed to have time for everyone and they actually added a gloss to the evening that I didn’t know could be had.