The location is special of course. We’re so lucky to be by the river with lovely views and the sunsets over Chiswick can be spectacular. But we wouldn’t want the view to obscure the real efforts made by the kitchen, led by the indomitable Gary Knowles, who’s no nonsense style of cooking is robust, generous and authentic. His team work hard to produce consistent, well sourced and flavoursome food, which is a credit to his determination and passion.
Then there’s the history. Twenty eight years is a long time in most businesses, but quite a feat for a restaurant and we’re proud to have been running The Depot successfully under the same ownership all this time. It’s been a privilege to see our customers, literally, growing with us and throwing parties to commemorate births, Christenings, birthdays (of various significance, usually with a zero at the end), weddings, retirements and naturally deaths. Special events really have become part of our tradition.
We aim to make the old place look attractive and welcoming but it’s the guests who enhance the atmosphere; it can certainly feel very lively on occasions, with the ebb and flow of regulars, neighbours, friends and families, at both lunch and dinner. Our friendly front of house team recognise so many faces it’s astonishing, and seem genuinely over the moon to welcome guests and look after them with warmth and professionalism. We couldn’t leave this subject without mentioning J.F., our lovely host who makes such an effort to accommodate everyone with all their various and inevitable needs and expectations.
Talking of the ‘old place’, it really does go back some, as far back as Victorian times, when Tideway Yard was indeed an old council depot (hence the name) housing refuse carts and horses (hence the stable doors) amongst other things. Given its wonderful position on the river it’s surprising to think that when we looked at the site all that time ago, back in 1986, it was derelict and in danger of being demolished. Thanks to one of the owner’s skills as a designer and architect, the site was saved and sensitively restored and, as such has been much admired.
Then there’s Sunday lunch…if ever there was a Barnes and Depot tradition, it’s this: traditional (and not so traditional!) Sunday lunch, on the river; usually families, but not necessarily. All are welcome for Hereford sirloin of beef or roast Gloucester Old Spot with all the trimmings- crumble with real custard – never a rush, just an easy place to be…
We love our location and our ‘people’ and we feel a real sense of connection with Mortlake and Barnes, whose community we have been a part of for so long. Barnes Summer Fair is always a blast, especially when it pours and the recent food fair has proved a real success. A strong community association can take pride in their work. And of course we have our ‘Yardie’ neighbours who we love to see dropping in for a coffee or working lunch and often indulge in a cocktail or two on a Friday evening.
All in all, we hope we’ve ‘covered the bases’, as one critic once put it, and we can say without too much immodesty that we try hard to deliver what you, the public, want – honest, good-value grub, well selected wines, lively atmosphere, great location and genuine service with a smile. We hope you’ll enjoy coming as much as we’ll enjoy having you…