The Tideway Yard was constructed in 1901, the buildings, which currently house The Depot restaurant, were originally the stables and coach houses. The Depot served as a barracks for air raid wardens in the Second World War - the tin helmets were still hanging there in 1983! In order to create more useable space inside the old stable buildings, an iron walkway was designed. The cast iron columns supporting this were salvaged from the County Stand at Aintree racecourse.
The refurbished buildings, including The Depot, re-opened in 1986.We decided to visit on Sunday lunchtime as The Depot is close to several places which would make a good outing on a sunny day, such as Kew Gardens. We chose to drive there and were pleasantly surprised to find that the restaurant had parking which is not so common in London. It is also easily accessible by rail, (details on their website), or you could even cycle or walk along the south bank of the Thames if you are feeling fit. On our arrival, we were cordially met by Rob, the Restaurant Manager, who offered us a refreshing glass of Champagne to welcome us. The Depot was roomy and will seat 120+ dinners. It also has a place where you can just sit with a drink and relax.
We had a table with a wonderful view overlooking the River Thames and if we had come the following Saturday it would have been a prime position to watch the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. This is a traditional rowing contest between the Universities which is held annually normally over the Easter Weekend. However we did get the unusual site of a seal swimming up the river.
In talking to Rob he said that weekday lunchtime clients were mainly office workers and business people with locals taking over in the evening. The weekend tended to be a mixture with tourists mixing with locals but all were welcome. The dress code was casual, within reason, and families are very welcome and they have a menu just for the children.
The menu is "Modern European" with perhaps a hint of Oriental. It is not enormous but is constantly changing so you can always have something different. They also do a one course lunchtime 10.00 special which includes a glass of sparking wine. The wine list is extensive with bottles of wine from 13.50 to 85.00 for the wine expert.
The interior is simple yet stylish with a vibrant atmosphere. The staff were all friendly and were more than willing to help with any request.
For a starter I had the Foie gras & Duck liver Parfait with plum jam, toasted walnut and raisin bread. Sue had the Crispy Duck & watercress salad.
The Foie gras was very tasty with the plum sauce and the walnut and raisin bread complementing nicely. The duck was very well presented with reasonable portions. Sue said the flavours went well together and she really liked it. We gave them both eight out of ten. For the main course, as my wife loves seafood, she had Roast Cod with creamed leeks, bacon and cockles. As it was Sunday I had the roast of the day which was Sirloin of Beef with Yorkshire pudding.
Both were well presented however, my wife did ask for boiled potatoes but unfortunately it came up with roast potatoes which she felt did not really go together with the cockles and she had to remind them that she asked for salad. She said the cockle and bacon went very well together and the sauce kept it moist.
My roast was extremely good with two succulent pieces of thick beef and duck fat roast potatoes done to perfection. Only comment was that you could do with some more vegetables so order some extras.
For desert I had Toasted Chestnut Panettone, glazed apples and vanilla ice cream and Sue had a selection of cheeses. The glazed apples were really good with their sweetness countered by the ice cream. I am a pudding person and I really enjoyed this. Sue commented that the cheese selection was very varied and would suit all tastes. As a cheese person she was very happy.
Our general observations were that The Depot would be a good place to meet if you were staying in the area and wanted to dine with friends. There was no pressure to leave which helped make it a relaxed experience. At the weekend it would be a good place to stop for lunch or dinner if you were visiting one of the local Royal parks or historic houses. You could include it as part of a Thames walk where you could stop dine and then continue your walk or catch public transport home if you are too full up!
General Manager - Steve Oldroyd
Richard and Sue Bassett April 2007