Although I love eating out in London, sometimes everywhere feels a little… samey. The same quirky fonts are used on the menus, the same ‘much loved – much Instagrammed favourites’ are on offer and the decor is that familiar shabby chic look that we all know so well. So, when you come across somewhere unique – it’s definitely something to write home about. Or in my case, blog about. Introducing The Trading House.
With just two branches, in Glasgow and in London, the self confessed ‘peculiar and eccentric’ independent chain has a surprise round every corner. Twinkly fairy lights which tumble down the bannisters of a beautiful spiral staircase are juxtaposed with old ship models, rustic world maps and giant jungle like plants which climb up the wood panelled walls. Situated on Gresham Street, which tends to be busier during the week with city workers thanks to its location – we were treated to a very tranquil atmosphere when we visited one Saturday. Just a few tables were filled but this almost gave the place more of an exclusive, relaxed feel – a rarity in London.
Both the cocktail and food menus are pretty extensive, but this means there is something on offer for even the fussiest of diners. As you probably know by now (since I witter on about it so much), I am dairy-free and egg-free, which can make eating out difficult, especially if you are at the hands of a waiter or waitress who thinks I’m doing this to be trendy or difficult, making the process ten times more embarrassing and drawn out.
Luckily, it was pretty clear on the menu what I could and couldn’t eat but after informing our waitress, she took us through everything on each dish I’d selected, even ensuring the dressings were on the side so that I could dip into some of our sharing starters if I wished to.
Talking of sharing starters, we went all out – opting for the homemade hummus (which was topped with a sprinkling of nuts and seeds), pork chipolatas and calamari. Delicious!
The hummus, if I’m honest – could have done with a little more flavour, as I like mine to be quite garlic-y or very strong on the lemon. However, it all was polished off along with a jar of watermelon soda!
The mains selection was actually very varied and featured lots of options for gluten/dairy/egg free eaters. I eventually opted for the roast chicken and seasoned fries, because it sounded the most hearty and I was extremely hungry (even after consuming pretty much the entire bowl of chipolatas – oops) and my mum decided upon the sea bass, served with spinach and vegetables.
However, the hanging kebabs (coated in garlic butter or sweet chilli) were another very tempting offer and if I returned (which I am planning to), it’s nice to think I’m not limited to one dish only, which is very much the case of other restaurants.
As per usual, my eyes were bigger (and greedier) than my stomach and the huge portions eventually beat me. The chicken however, was gently marinated in a light spice and was absolutely delicious, even without a sauce. Roasted chicken can be a little dry (or boring) but I almost didn’t stop for a breath with this, complimented perfectly by the seasoned fries – which were coated in herbs I wish I could identify by taste alone (you’ll have to trust me on this one).
Although the puddings looked incredible too, following suit with the rest of the menu – we couldn’t manage another bite and instead, spent the rest of the evening admiring our beautiful surroundings, before heading home.
If you’re after somewhere in London without all the cliches, offering amazing food (and incredible decor), then The Trading House is definitely an option to consider. It’s busier during the week when the area is full with businessmen and women, so if you’d like somewhere away from the hustle and bustle on the weekend, this is a great place to try. The portions are very generous for London standards and the prices are reasonable too!
89-91 Gresham St, London EC2V 7NQ