By DiscoverGlasgowOrg, Oct 14 2015 11:07PM
As a Glaswegian, when I hear someone say ‘There’s a new food place opened up…’ my first thought is always a sarcastic ‘Great! Another burger place…’
It’s not that I don’t like burgers. Or burger restaurants. Quite the opposite, in fact. I adore them.
It’s just…there’s a lot of them in Glasgow. All next to each other, like a wee burger city, ready to create absolute havoc by having people like me stop dead in the street for 10 minutes while I decide which one to choose from.
So when The Trading House in St Vincent Place began its marketing and pre-launch communications , showing off its horse-drawn stagecoaches, illustrations of hot air balloons, and two dapper chaps called Mr Peculiar and Mr Particular to name a few, I was curious as to what they could bring to a thriving market that would be a bit…different.
Housed inside the Citizen Building on St Vincent Place, you’d be forgiven for walking past and not initially noticing that the construction work has finished and the magnificent red sandstone building is now the home to The New World Trading Company’s first venture in Scotland.
Once inside though, it’s anything but modest, revelling in its globe trodden sophistication.
The venue mirrors the feel of the East India Trading Company, but doesn’t overdo it. You’re not tripping over wooden elephants, or served by people with fake handlebar moustache’s and Abraham Lincoln top hats. There’s just enough of the little touches to convince you that you’re not in Glasgow (I may have tried to steal one of the fancy hanging lamps, but apparently that’s frowned upon - who knew?).
They currently boast an Almanac of 80 Ale’s which include some of Scotland’s best - chosen personally by the company’s Beer Guru. These fine ales, wheat beers, and stouts sit comfortably beside quite an extensive gin selection. My advice would be to dive into the Almanac and not be afraid to try some of the stuff you’ve never heard of - the Delirium and Gamma Ray were favourites of ours!
If you’re feeling fancy, then there’s an extensive cocktail selection to mull over. All are Trading Company twists on traditional favourites such as Cardamom Old Fashioned and Raspberry Amaretto Sour, and if you can’t decide, ask the bar staff! They've had extensive training, and were forced to try every item on the menu (such a hard life!). They’ll even give you some background to the drink, and how it was made or named (again, such a terrible job…).
The food menu is equally as impressive and varied, without being confusing or offering too much to choose from. The kitchen itself is being run by Martin Kane, who has previously manned Darcy’s in Princes Square, and also the famous Willow Tea Rooms.
To start I tried the goat’s cheese & tomato quiche, and was amazed at what should have been a standard, boring dish being dressed up in what my Dad describes as a ‘fitba pie’ shell. It was fantastic, with nae a soggy crust in site, and just the right size so as not to fill you up. I have it on great authority that the Basket of Wings is a great choice also - not too greasy!
For main course I went for the Malaysian Chicken Curry while my friend chose the 9oz Rump Steak. Again, the portion sizes were just right - the only thing I struggled with was it was a tad too spicy for me, but that's personal taste rather than a complaint. My companion’s plate was licked clean in 10 minutes flat. I’m not a steak connoisseur, but I'll take that as a positive sign.
In the evening we returned to try the cocktail making class, before switching over to the Ale Room, specially designed with a focus on lagers. The walls are teeming with history about the drink, housing framed mounts of different keg plugs. We sampled a dozen of the lagers, ales, and oddities that are available on The Trading House menu, smelling the grain used to make each one.
It is a testament to a town built on beer that this restaurant and bar has managed to bring something fresh to St. Vincent Street. Taken individually, these individual points would simply be plusses in a review. But The Trading House is more than a sum of its parts, it’s a friendly space filled with tasteful delights, with a slightly eccentric aesthetic that makes it homely and yet exotic at the same time. We look forward to trying all 80 beers on sale, but by then we are sure the knowledgeable Beer Guru will have found another score for us to sample.
We wiled away the afternoon with a few ales and cocktails, while the staff continued to surprise us with their knowledge of the food and drink. The accompanying live music was decent but not too loud, an acoustic set presented by pair of guitarist singers. It was at this moment that we were presented with the dessert menu, and realised that we were definitely liking this place. I tend to judge restaurants based on their sticky toffee pudding. Some are really sickly sweet, while others are overdone and dry. Then there are those that are too heavy and can't be finished, but I am happy to say The Trading House has nailed it. It was really spongy with a smooth sauce, and a dollop of ice cream on the top, and is hands down the best sticky toffee I've eaten. Relief!