After my long absence from Australia, I've finally started gathering material for blog posts again. I'm glad (and slightly overwhelmed) that there appears to be so many new restaurants/cafes/bars that have popped up in Brisbane in the time that I've been gone. Depo is one such venue that I'd never heard of before but is now much-mentioned in the foodie blogosphere.
With the number of catch-ups that I'm undertaking on my return, it's easy to try new places. Last night, my friend Pizza and I met up at Depo to scope the place out. It's located on Horan Street in West End, which is quiet and dark at night with ample street parking.
The venue is classy and very stylish. Almost every review of this place that I've read praises the ambience and interior decor. On that front, Depo did not disappoint.
Pizza arrived there on time whereas I was delayed by traffic. She had a beer from the bar going so I caught up with an item from their cocktail menu. I'd forgotten how expensive alcoholic drinks are in Australia!
Poached pear spritzer
My misgivings evaporated when I tasted my poached pear spritzer. It was refreshing with a strong pear flavor but not at all over-bearing or sickly sweet. I wish I could have had a bucket of this.
The dinner menu at Depo is limited but ever-changing. It's influenced by what's fresh and in season. I don't mind that there isn't a lot to choose from because it's easier to make a decision. Pizza and I knew what we wanted within minutes.
Both of us are trying to eat relatively healthy so we opted to skip entrees and sides. My main of choice was the tuna, and Pizza went for the pork.
Despite not ordering starters or entrees, we were brought out a small complimentary plate of nibblies. These included artisan bread and butter and a dish of olives. The butter was gorgeous. I'm not sure if it actually is French butter but I have a great impression of genuine French butter that's deep yellow with a rich, intense flavour and it was just like that.
Tuna - with corn and tomato salsa, fennel, snow peas and bisque sauce
My tuna was a thick fillet, cooked med-rare. The tuna itself was pretty good, though nothing remarkable. I would have preferred a bit rarer but maybe that's because I'm used to eating raw tuna in sashimi form. The bisque sauce was a great compliment to the tuna and did help to make it more interesting. I thought the corn and tomato salsa was a strange side, and it was fine on its own but didn't harmonize with the tuna.
Pork with proscuitto, basil, parmesan, sweet potato and minted peas
Pizza thought her pork fillet was fine but that the sauce was too salty for her liking. She also mentioned that although she doesn't normally eat peas, the minted peas were adequately disguised for her to polish them off. She enjoyed the sweet potato mash but concluded that her mother makes better roast vegetables.
We were very indecisive about whether or not we should get dessert. I left it up to Pizza but in the last moment, declared "yes! Let's do it". You can say I let the healthy-eating team down :p.
Yoghurt mousse - with rhubarb, honey pepper ice-cream and blueberries
For my dessert, I went with the yoghurt mousse. I chose it because I had a couple of yoghurt panna cottas in Italy that I really enjoyed. This was nothing like those, in fact it was thick and savoury, but I also liked it. Together with the ice-cream and blueberries, it was a well-rounded dessert.
Chocolate cake with mascarpone ice-cream and vanilla salt
Pizza's chocolate cake sounded like everything a chocolate cake should be: dense and moist with a slight crunch on top. She also enjoyed the mascarpone ice-cream but she was uncertain about what to do with the vanilla salt.
I would say that the ambience at Depot is top notch and I've read mixed reviews about the service but we had pleasant waiters throughout. I can see their intentions with the food, and I like the concept behind having changeable menus to suit the produce, but I fear the execution isn't all there. The mains were $35 each and that definitely brings the food into fine-dining category. At the present, it feels like 'good bistro quality' so there's a way to go. Overall, I liked the dessert better than mains but I'd happily recommend you stop by for a drink to soak the atmosphere.