Hidden in the trendy urban-industrial back streets of West End is Depo. A creative space, café, restaurant and bar this place epitomises the creative, quirky and edgy vibes West End is known for. Depo is certainly somewhere you could just “be” all day, with an incredible kit-out of all things old, pre-loved and bike related. It’s like Nan shacked up with the Huntsman on Safari and together they developed an interest for all things 2 wheeled. A glorious mish-mash of old school board games and paraphernalia from the 70’s, leather lounges with granny rugs, taxidermy and disco styled walls…oh and a scooter…here you’ll not only find fuel for the stomach but the eyes as well!
It’s hardly surprising then to hear that this incredible, unique establishment is the brainchild of Brisbane Design icon Alexander Lotersztain, whose office and studio space sits just above the café and Chef Erik Van Genderen who is also founder and owner of West End’s Gear (for the serious bike enthusiast).
It’s an ideal cross pollination of creativity and skill sets with Alex, (of course being the man who has helped shaped the identity of the Brisbane hospitality and dining scene with his design input going into Damian Griffiths’ Limes Hotel, A&C and most recently Kwan’s) intending for the restaurant to cater to events, functions and creative collaborations and Erik (positioned at the food helm) sourcing the best possible produce for his daily designed menu. The pride in provenance is abundantly clear…just wait until you get to the food photos further below…
Depo serves up breakfast, lunch AND dinner 5 days a week, which, before you despair is Wednesday to Sunday and means nine-to-fivers have an opportunity to pay a visit for a relaxed weekend brekkie or some cheeky cocktails shaken or stirred in their lavishly adorned, fully stocked bar. My first Depo experience was last Saturday, when I ventured to the other side of the river for breakfast with fellow foodie aficionado @daz_zling (I’ve since learnt this probably isn’t a place for your Lorna leggings and Nikes post gym session…it just didn’t seem right and next time I’ll dress for the occasion!).
Walking into the front courtyard area I immediately surveyed for the best possible breakfasting spot. Although the white inflatable rubber couches (yes I did test them for authenticity) looked inviting I have a thing about drinking my coffee at a table and chose to pull up a steel curved chair at a gorgeous wooden slat round table in the sunshine. No sooner had I sat down my coffee order was swiftly taken by the friendly and attentive waitress who still managed to ooze that chillaxed vibe West Enders’ have the knack for.
The coffee that day was a gorgeous Ethiopian single origin blend that had a wonderful full-bodied fruit & nut flavour. Finished with exquisite crema it was served with an intensely almond-y macaroon that had a crisp outer shell with a deliciously soft and gooey centre. It was the perfect pre-breakfast snack whilst deliberating over the menu.
I confess I may have known what I wanted to order before I had even arrived that morning and despite the fact that all the other options on the menu sounded incredible (hello Chouquette Viennoiserie and Sticky pork belly with green papaya salad, fried egg, coriander and bread!) I went with my first choice of Toasted quinoa granola with coconut, pistachio, almond, dried fruit, fresh berries and coconut yoghurt, whilst D settled on the Spinach wholemeal pancakes with smoked salmon, poached egg, lemon and dill yoghurt.
The meals arrived swiftly and were so beautifully presented it was straight into photo-capture-mode with SLR in one had and phone in the other. The waft from the Spinach pancakes and fresh salmon was absolutely heavenly and looked idyllic on the plate – the small dollops of tangy lemon dill yoghurt made it look like a dot painting! D kindly let me have a bite and the combination of the savoury pancake with the silky smooth and seriously fresh salmon topped with that creamy yoghurt meant I couldn’t help but omit a few mmmmm’s of satisfaction.
Turning my attention to my big colourful bowl of wholesome Toasted quinoa goodness I dove my spoon straight in. Trying the granola first without any accompaniments and I knew immediately it was a standout dish. Roasted in maple syrup and cinnamon, the crunchy mix of uncooked quinoa flakes and rolled oats with shredded coconut, as well as pistachios, pepitas and buttery macadamias was perfectly balanced by the littering of dried fruit. Plump raisins and sultanas, goji berries and dried blueberries (yum!) were bursts of flavour in each bite. Topped with fresh and juicy pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of the thick, velvety coconut yoghurt meant the dish was simply superb and an innovative take on granola.
Breakfast at Depo is clearly a must and I am certainly champing at the bit to return for dinner to experience Erik’s ‘daily menu’ using locally sourced, fresh produce! (Next time I’ll sit inside at a table with a cow Hyde covered seat…preferably with a view of the buffalo head and NOT wear Lorna and Nikes). Whether it’s for a meal or you’re just looking for coffee, allow yourself to be enveloped by the atmosphere, inspired by the surrounds, hugged by an old leather couch and your taste buds transformed at Depo.
What is your favourite thing about Depo? The food? The atmos? The interior? Or all of the above?