SquareMeal Review of
The Trading House
The seductively lit, marble-pillared halls of the old Bank of New Zealand are the impressive setting for this new pub, bar and dining room combo from the Mancunian owners of City behemoth The Alchemist. Dramatic Egyptian art nouveau chandeliers and exotic taxidermy mostly complement the glorious listed interior. Yet the food and drink are not so glorious. Cocktails such as cardamom and pineapple Margaritas and strawberry and mint Martinis tend towards the fruity, floral and syrupy-sweet; a Sazerac is unconvincingly softened with lavender syrup. Discerning drinkers should go off-menu, because our dry Martini was impeccable. The menu lists a mammoth collection of pub grub. To start, a deli platter of houmous, coleslaw, coronation chicken, roasted peppers and Caesar salad was mayo-heavy and pretty average; other choices include prawn cocktail and baked Camembert. Next, we plumped for the signature ‘hanging’ kebab (chicken, lamb kofta, prawn, beef or halloumi), which had an oily, garlicky sauce running down it and left an unpleasant coating in the mouth. Chorizo pie with mash and mushy peas was on a par with a supermarket’s ‘upmarket’ line. In all, this House’s strongest trade is in simple cocktails – but it also has decent wines (from £16) and beer.