The Glasgow Trading House is a lovely building in a long line of lovely buildings, such is St Vincent Place.
I unwittingly walked past it every day and didn’t realise what exactly was inside until I was recently asked to check it out.
First impressions upon entering are of a deep, rich environment, low-lit and with a synchronicity of theme throughout. Picture a mash of the East Indian Trading Company, ships carrying IPA to the cast of Indian Summers and you’re most of the way there.
We’re offered a choice of eating in the bar area or the restaurant. We choose the latter.
We order a Cardamom Martinez cocktail (gin, cardamom, elderflower and vermouth) and a Pacific Pale Ale. The beer doubles up as the house ale, so I’m curious as to what kind of beer they choose to represent the restaurant.
The ale is a wonderful find. It has the perfect balance of Nelson Sauvin / New Zealand style hoppiness and has the balls to have a moderately malty body. It’s an extremely relaxing pint. The cocktail is exquisite clear and moreish, served in a beautiful crystal tumbler, and tastes lemony, sweet and fresh. Lovely.
Our pre-starter nibble consist of Mixed Olives and Pork Scratchings with chilli, spring onion and sweet apple sauce. The large, ripe green olives were sweet and juicy which contrasted with a purple fruity variety. The portion was a good size for sharing. The Scratchings were very enjoyable, not least because they actually tasted of what they were meant to. Too many times I’ve ordered Scratchings in other places to be presented with a tasteless crunch. Glad to see that remedied here.
Our starters proper were Homemade Houmous with crudités and flatbread and Crispy Calamari with Piri Piri salt and lemon mayo.
The Calamari batter was incredibly light and crispy with a hint of piri piri and the it was cooked to perfection. Lemon mayo and a simple dressed rocket salad were the perfect light accompaniments. The Houmous was delicious, as was the crisp, light fresh bread is was served with. I could have stuffed my pockets full of that bread and smuggled it out of the restaurant.
The main courses we ordered were Halloumi and Sesame Seed Falafel Kebab with couscous- including roast veg, garlic butter for Emma while I had Chicken & Chorizo Pie with mash, mushy peas and gravy.
I’ll let Emma tell you about her main in her own words.
The kebab is served hanging with the couscous in a dish at the base and the garlic butter in a pot at the top. The waitress then turns the pot over to allow the butter to drizzle slowly down over the kebab to the couscous. There is a real element of theatre to the dish.
The falafel were encrusted with crisp black sesame seeds. The flavour combination of sweet spice, salty halloumi, and garlic butter was divine. Giant couscous and roasted veg complimented the dish perfectly. This dish was the star of the show for me.
The Chicken and Chorizo Pie had shortcrust pastry at the sides and puff pastry on the top. The paprika in the chorizo added a rounded warmth to the pie, while the onion mashed potato and mushy peas made for a homely, filling, tasty meal.
I enjoyed two more beers throughout the meal. There was an Australian Pale Ale called Little Creatures and an American beer called Goose IPA.
Now, to say that the beers at Glasgow Trading House are impressive isn’t even touching on what they’ve done here. Along with the menus at the table is a beautiful hand-bound book, telling in some detail about all of the bottled beer available in the restaurant. I’ve never seen anything like it. Clearly, a lot of work has gone into sourcing the ales and presenting them in a knowledgable way. A very classy touch.
Emma had a blueberry and caraway bramble: (gin, blueberries, caraway syrup, lime dash served with a mint sprig) This was the colour of a bramble with the flavour of sweet blueberry and maraschino cherries. The mint added a real freshness and complimented the fruit well.
We could only manage a dessert to share, which should be no surprise given what is written above. We had a Rocky road kebab (strawberries, marshmallows, hazelnut brownie, ginger biscuit rubble, and biscuit sauce. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream).
Again the kebab was served hanging, with the biscuit rubble and ice cream at the base and biscuit sauce at the top. The sauce was thick so took a minute to trickle down. Once the dish was ready to eat we got stuck in. There were a lot of different textures from crumbly biscuity base and crunchy hazelnut caramelised chocolate brownies to soft marshmallows, juicy strawberries and creamy ice cream. Perfect for sharing after a large meal.
The staff that served us were well-informed and welcoming. We were given recommendations when asked for both drinks and food and we weren’t kept waiting for anything we ordered. They struck a perfect balance between efficiency and friendliness. They should be commended.
This is a new favourite for me. The combination of taking the gastropub ethos to the next level while providing a stunning range of beers & cocktails is going to keep us coming back again and again, especially while the staff are so friendly. You may also be pleased to hear that there is also a Trading House in London!