I feel like London food joints, especially inner city of London ones can get so samey. Maybe it’s made by the fact I grew up in London and so have been frequenting those venues basically since I knew how to order a G&T, or maybe it’s because individuality is something that’s becoming harder and harder to source in the restaurant industry, everyone seems to be copying each other, and so when something actually makes me sit up, pay attention and marvel at the wonder of the food and decor and general inspirational vibes, I tend to natter about it to everyone I know.
The amount of effort that has been put into renovating this grade II listed building into an East India Trading Company inspired trip back to decadence is incredible. You step in and are immediately taken aback by the art work, the taxidermy, the old maps, books, lights, pretty much everything in sight that brings you away from the hum drum of London teetering outside and transports you to another little world.
The Phileas Fogg theme does not go unnoticed, and the options you have seem to revolve around the foods he would have tried in that infamous trip ‘Around The World in 80 Days.’ Home comforts like Scotch Eggs and Ham Pate, are juxtaposed with Gumbo, Hanging Kebabs and Malaysian Curries.
Okay okay – so here’s where I give you a major tip – GET THE HANGING KEBAB. Okay maybe the caps weren’t necessary and that was a little bossy – soz guys. But seriously if the picture of that lamb kofta getting smothered in good old peri sauce dripping down the skewer isn’t making you hungry at your desk right now after a bank holiday weekend where you probably drank too much, you aren’t doing Tuesday right. To make it even better, they also do a garlic chicken and a pork belly one – gimme dat meat. (Sorry guys – Vegan I am not.) Buuuuuuut Vegans and Veggies can rejoice at a menu that has so much choice, I would not be bewildered in the least if a carnivore opted for some of the greener options.
The starters are plentiful and varied- pates, scotch eggs, baked cheese (oh baked cheese – I <3 you so.) But the real star was the Crispy Calamari. The batter is light and crisp, with all of that salt and pepper flavour we all know and love. I find that SO many places tend to overdo calamari, making it dry and rubbery when fried. But this was delightfully tender and the batter simply melted in the mouth. I could definitely eat about 54363 servings in one sitting, but the kitchen might freak out a bit so maybe don’t do that.
The cocktail menu stands out, in a world of Adventure bars and Be At One’s this is one that stands out, and with good reason. With Elderflower Tea infused creations muddled with gin and fresh peach and Chai Martinis, they’re doing something bold and different, and it works. The staff are well informed and knowledgeable when it comes to the drink menus, at the ready with recommendations before I’d even had a glance at the menu and if you’re not a cocktail lover – the beer menu does not disappoint. From IPAs to Stouts and Lagers, the well stocked bar pretty much ensures that you’re going to stumble across something you haven’t tried before, and you’re going to love it.
*This meal was provided by The Trading House London but all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.