July 28th, 2015

Quirky new restaurant in the heart of the city

The Secret, by Helen Kaye

Set in what was formerly the Bank of New Zealand, this Grade I and in parts Grade II listed building is a delight for the eyes. We popped down one Wednesday evening to see how the food measured up to the quirky decor.

The Restaurant: The Trading House

The Location: 89-91 Gresham St, London EC2V 7NQ

What they say: “Frontier importers and exporters of particular and peculiar eccentricities, curiosities and antiquities. Offering a soon-to-be world-famous selection of spiced-twist cocktails, a traditionally British G&T list, Champagne, wine, and a vast worldwide selection of craft beers, ales and ciders. Food is inspired by the deli, rotisserie and BBQ. With live music every night, sublime social times are guaranteed!”

If you order one thing, make it…: Kebabs. Admittedly it’s not something you’d expect to find on the menu of a smart city eatery, but forget any preconceptions of those delightful 3am kebabs you may have experienced in your youth… (or ummmm the other weekend!) These are kebabs for grown-ups. In the mini-heatwave we’re experiencing at the moment, the range BBQ foods including kebabs was a welcome addition to what otherwise is quite hearty food on the menu – think fish & chips, pies, currys etc. We chose the chicken kebab which arrived on a long skewer with a sumptuous garlic sauce to drizzle over, along with perfectly cooked chips. The chicken was succulent and the garlic gave it a real kick. I might just well be a kebab convert…

Best of the rest: We loved the concept of their sharing deli boards. You can choose 4 things from a range of meats, fish and cheese and they’ll make up the board either for a main course or to share as starter. We plumped for the homemade scotch egg, hummus, poached salmon and prosciutto. It comes served with fresh flatbread and was a great way to start the meal. For main I had the chicken caesar salad which was packed full of plump croutons, bacon, fresh salad leaves and of course a lovely caesar dressing. And if you think a salad won’t suffice for a main meal, think again. This was a hearty portion and more than enough for a main course. If you can still find room for dessert, we recommend you stay on the kebab theme and go for the strawberry and marshmallow kebabs. It comes with chocolate sauce which you can pour in at the top and let drip down over your kebab string. Very naughty but very good nonetheless. If you’re in the mood for something a little more traditional, the sticky toffee pudding is a safe bet.  

Top Tipple: There is marvellous selection of ales on offer and the very creatively named menu – The Anthology of Ales – which is packed full of every type of ale imaginable. My husband had the Proper Job ale – which was a refreshing choice, whilst I had a glass of the sauvignon blanc. It was crisp and dry – perfect for a warm summer evening.

The atmosphere: This is an impressive place to come for dinner or cocktails. As the former Bank of New Zealand it has beautiful high ceilings, stunning wood panelled walls and quirky stuffed animals on the wall which give it an almost offbeat colonial feel. There is live music every night, and for the evening we were there was a pianist and singer which provided a really relaxing ambience to wile away the hours. 

The bill for two: A very reasonable £60 for 3 courses and a drink each


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