Christmas is round the corner and it’s time to start eating like it. In a truly daring escapade, Sated battles the mania of Bank at rush hour to preview The Trading House’s Christmas Menu.
Contained in a Grade-II-listed building, The Trading House is a restaurant-bar exhibiting all sorts of knick-knacks and peculiarities, from taxidermy and vintage luggage to ornate colonial accoutrement and bankers at ease. Wood panelling abounds, rising up to an arched ceiling boasting decorative plaster mouldings, from which hang quirky Art Nouveau chandeliers.
On entering, we are led through the length of the building, passed a velvet rope and up a spiral staircase to a private mezzanine floor with a large bar surrounded by intimate seating arrangements.
Naturally, we head straight for the bar and are given a mug of mulled wine by Head Bartender, Stefan Copot, to warm our bones and get us into the festive spirit whilst he sets up for the cocktail demonstration.
Stefan explains that the drinks we are going to be sampling are all twists on well-known cocktails. First up is the Gateway to Riches – a sweet and fruity take on the French Martini, made by smashing fresh blueberries with mint leaves before adding Passoa passion fruit liqueur, Brockmans Gin and Licor 43. This is then topped with pineapple and lemon juice, and garnished with a dehydrated slice of lime. The mint adds a fresh breath to what could otherwise be an overly saccharine drink. Bright, fruit and sweet – it is a fantastic start to the evening.
As we sip down our cocktails in search of the fortunes their name alludes to, a board of canapés is placed before us that contains samples of The Trading House’s Christmas Menu. Smoked Salmon Rilette is propped on top of a crisp olive oil crouton, decorated with a thin cut of red chilli. Roast Jerk Ham is as intriguing as it sounds, served in a lettuce leaf cup with celeriac and apple remolade and honey mustard dressing. The ham itself is tender and flavourful without being overpowering. The apple adds a plump sweetness whilst the honey mustard dressing circles back to the jerk’s gentle spice.
The other two bites on offer are the expressive and finger-licking Turkey Hanging Kebab glazed in a sticky spiced cranberry glaze, and our favourite of the offerings, a moreish pufflet of Mushroom Wellington filled with soft goat’s cheese and roast butternut squash.
With our nibbles seen-off, we head back to the bar for our second cocktail – End of The Earth. Essentially a short Pina Colada, Stefan creates this using Bacardi, Koko Kana, coconut puree, vanilla sugar, and pineapple and lemon juice, before garnishing with a single pineapple leaf and desiccated coconut covered marshmallows.
Dessert is rolled out in the form of soft Chocolate Fudge Brownies capped with a dollop of cream and dressed with young mint leaves. Whilst not overly imaginative, they do hold their own and keep our attention whilst we await the theatrical final drink of the evening.
We are beckoned back to the bar for the East Indian Pornstar – a Ketel One vodka based bevvy with fresh passion fruit, Crème de Mûre liqueur, hibiscus team English Sparkling Brut Rosé and, once again, pineapple and lemon juice. Stefan mixes, shakes and pours the drinks before completing each by whipping egg whites in a cream dispenser and then blowtorching the tops to form a light crust. Certainly a spectacle to behold, we find the drinks pleasant, if not a tad sweet.
We descend from our mezzanine perch and weave our way through the throngs of city workers to the exit. With our bellies containing of our first festive food flavours, we are pleasantly full and braced for the cold. The Trading House’s Christmas Menu dishes themselves follow the same tradition-with-a-twist mantra of the cocktails we sampled and have successfully put us in the mood of more winter feasting.
The Trading House’s Christmas Menu
For more information about The Trading House, visit their website here.