27 May 2015

The Trading House, and the ale equivalent of "slutty rosé"

You know an evening is going to go quite well when you're picked up by a horse and carriage, and greeted with a cooling raspberry bellini. It's a truth universally acknowledged, right? 

Our ride from St Pauls to The Trading House

We were taken a scenic route around the city of London, to the delight of ourselves and tourists alike, who probably thought we were of royal descent. Not too shabby! It helped that for once, the weather was on our side. We sat on top of the carriage, loving life, and I may have given the odd passer-by a royal wave...

The Trading House, located on Gresham Street, is a converted pub, and was formerly the Bank of New Zealand. The city location is perfect for smart client lunches and most importantly, for post-work drinks. But if you're neither a fancy client nor a city worker (*cue tentative wave*), if you visit you'll fall in love the moment you set your eyes upon the imposing, beautiful interior.

It's a grade 1 listed site, which means The Trading House were limited on what they could do in the bank-to-pub conversion. For instance, the bar was built from the ground up, with lights extending from the bar itself because nothing was allowed to hang from the ceilings that wasn't formerly there. Luckily, the bank had some killer lights to begin with and the wood-panelled walls meant the decoration was already half complete. 

The Trading House haven't been complacent about decoration, though. On the contrary, when we arrived the workforce were in full flow (we visited before it was officially open to the public) with elaborate and ornamental finishing touches. The detail was fantastic. 

And halfway through our cocktail class, this fella popped up...

But I'm getting ahead of myself! 

When we arrived we were offered a drink, and were gathered into two groups for a cocktail masterclass. We were hosted by Nick, a self-taught bartender, who donned a brilliant flat-cap.

We were entertained by his anecdotes on the origins of cocktails, and shown how to make two classics (with a twist) - a Blackberry Bramble, and a Pineapple & Black Cardamom Margherita. And then we did a taste test, y'know, to make sure he was doing his job right (he was). 

He told us it was a pet hate of his when bartenders went to mix cocktails and slammed down the silver mixer against the glass. It weakens the glass over time, apparently, and it's better to create a suction between the mixer and the glass anyway - you just need to give it a little twist.

You learn something new every day, huh?

The Blackberry Bramble

And then it was our turn to have a go. I chose to sit it out and take pictures because I'm a wuss, okay? Making cocktails is also a lot harder than it looks, but that's obviously testament to bartenders who make it look effortless. 

Getting stuck in and trying to get the measurements *just* right

The Pineapple & Black Cardamom Margherita

My serious intolerance of tequila, the key ingredient of a Margherita, meant I was more than hesitant to give this a taste. But, to my relief, the tequila wasn't overpowering, and it complimented nicely by the sweet pineapple and hint of black cardamom creeping through. Yum.

And then it was a new group's turn to give the margherita their best shot. The shaking process was hilarious...


Going for it!

All cocktail-ed out (if that's possible), we then had the chance to sample the deli boards on offer... an offer we accepted very enthusiastically.

The presentation was beautiful... 

And finally, when everyone had taken the obligatory #foodporn snaps (yep, that is a flower petal next to the parma ham), we loaded up.

My favourite part was the scotch eggs, with a soft yolk and melt-in-your-mouth breadcrumb. Corrr.

Satisfied with the spread, we were moved along to sample some ales.

I still had my mojito on the go, so I had to slurp this pretty quickly to er, prepare for the ale tasting.

Now, there's no point me going into this in too much detail, because ale is not my strong point. We sampled 4 ales - two of which were brewed by one of the bartenders - and were talked through the hop content, and to be honest most of it went over my head!

I confided in my table that I wasn't really an ale drinker. I much prefer wine, specifically rosé... specifically White Zinfandel. To which someone said that at university, whenever one of the girls was "on the pull" they'd drink rosé, which consequently became known as "slutty rosé" in their household.

And I said that the ideal situation for me would be to find an ale which tasted like "slutty rosé" (which is how I will now refer to rosé, whether I have slutty intentions or not)... and guess what, guys... I did!

Presenting the rosé drinker's ale quivalent: Schneider Weisse...

It's the closest thing you will get to (slutty) rosé, you have my word.

And so ended our session at The Trading House. I think it's safe to say that after multiple cocktails and a fair amount of ale, we were all feeling a little bit worse for wear!

We took a few snaps of "The Anthology of Ales" menu (as I said, the attention to detail is second to none here, and they are serious about their ales) and said our goodbyes, with a promise that we'd be back soon.

The Trading House - Food Menu & Cocktail Menu (it looks so so good!)

*I was a guest of The Trading House

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