Trade in Commercial Street
Tucked away in a hustling and bustling east London street is the strikingly rustic, yet also modern, coffee and sandwich shop: Trade. Eager not to rest on its laurels as simply a one-stop-shop for a quick hot beverage or snack, the eatery is attempting to expand its ambitious horizons, developing a menu to compete with rivals in the area and assert its own authority on the restaurant market. We sat down on a rainy Monday afternoon to see if its eager aspirations were matched by the food.
The initial impression upon stepping inside Trade is its intriguing juxtaposition of ideas: at the entrance there is an array of fiendishly delicious-looking homemade sandwiches and a handwritten menu of drinks and specials, yet in the back, the main eating area is a brightly-lit modern arena of conversation and noise. The layout of tables is tight and compact, giving it an intimately cosy feel, meaning a diner is able to pull up a chair and wind down an afternoon with a book and coffee, or bring along a friend or partner and have a more private experience. An impressive open garden is also located outside the eating arena that would surely be a glorious location to dine in during the summer months.
The brunch menu is a succinct creation that clearly sticks to the restaurant’s newly-found strengths. The diner can either make their own meal from a selection of treats (from smoked salmon to grilled chorizo, all of which comes with eggs on a bed of toasted sourdough), or choose from a number of varied set meal options. These include Green Eggs and Ham; Asparagus, Prosciutto and Eggs, Chorizo Chilli and Eggs, Pastrami Benedict and Smashed Avocado. Before deciding upon a suitable brunch option, a cappuccino seems like a certainty, given the eatery’s status. Ordered with a mixed berry juice, it does not disappoint. It’s easy to forget how good coffee is supposed to taste in a culture drowned by Starbucks and Costa, but Trade does a fine job of delivering a gorgeously rich and creamy coffee that goes down smoothly. A notable mention is also owed to the selection of fresh juices as the berry mix is a sweet treat that has more than enough to rival any juice bar competitor.
Decision time, and a combination of hearty meals are chosen: the set meal of Chorizo, Chilli and Eggs alongside a self-made creation of chorizo, bacon and smoked beans on top of toasted sourdough bread, with scrambled eggs. The fresh-faced staff are extremely friendly and enthusiastic when receiving orders and keep the queue moving in a brisk manner, whilst maintaining the highest level of service.
The food is served and it’s immediately striking how visually rich the preparation for both meals is – the colours are fizzing with vibrancy, the Italian eggs such a bright shade of yellow, they would put the sun itself to shame. The sourdough bread is toasted to perfection and provides the perfect food palette for the buzzing ingredients, carefully placed together to create a smorgasbord of robust flavour. As the website states, the ingredients are extremely carefully selected; the restaurant utilises the nearby Spitalfields market for fresh fruit and veg, whilst receiving its meat supply from an artisan supplier in Devon – and this consideration is reflected in the taste. The chorizo is perfectly grilled and combines with the meaty bacon to form the backbone of the dish’s flavour. The smoked beans are rich in taste and help to form an almost contemporary modern English breakfast, echoing the restaurant’s juxtaposition of ideas and embracing popular ingredients, while giving them a modern twist.
The generous and extremely moderately priced food is the perfect match for the buzzing ambiance, as Trade proves its versatility and justifies its lofty ambition.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Rosie Yang