Andrew Kay dines out

Lewes has always been an intriguing town and one that over the years has boasted some excellent place to eat, from smart and stylish to robust trenceherman fare. It now boasts somewhere that has once again caught my eye.

Depot is a cinema with a cafe and bar, nothing particularly new about that idea, except that few manage to pull off the cafe element beyone decent coffee and cake.

Depot takes the idea a whole leap forward with a short but well designed menu of dishes that start with a full English breakfast that reads well, through a selection of small dishes to larger offerings and daily specials. And all this in a striking new building that is a glass pavilion enetered through a cuboid tunnel of knapped flints, a triumph of simple modern architecture with local traditional materials.

A large salad that truly deserved the title spring

I had gone along as a staging post before a new opera at Glyndebourne and as such we did not touch the driks menu, no one wants to sleep at the county’s brilliant opera house.

Mr H and Mr L both chose the daily special of grilled hake with a spring salad. I will say to start that this was no skimpy portion, a tranche of hake that would shame the average restaurant’s meagre offerings, perfectly cooked and sat on a large salad that truly deserved the title “spring”. It was packed with beautifully presented vegetables, vibrant in colour and crisp, their words.

I was drawn to the small dishes, first seduced by baby squid with aioli. I love fried squid and this was excellent and yes, the squid was baby sized, but not the portion, there was plenty and plenty of good aioli too, hot with the zing of garlic.

My second dish was dare I say it even better. Roasted bay fennel delivered on a bed of tapenade with a mound of thinly sliced sun dried tomatoes. It was not only delicious, well balanced and perfectly cooked, it was also generous. I’ve been served smaller main courses on many an occasion. So on that note on to the prices. The hake and salad came at a modest £11.50 and my two dishes were £5.50 each. I think few will dispute that this is a bargain, especially considering the quality. I will add that our coffees and teas were also good and piping hot and the service could not have been nicer. I will certainly be back and very soon to maybe see a film from their very well programmed list.

Depot, Pinwell Road, Lewes,
East Sussex BN7 2JS
01273 525354

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