Although Trade on Commercial Street has only been open since the start of the year, it has the feel of a place very comfortable in its own skin; somewhere that has found its oeuvre.
It’s a very stylish looking café on the border between Spitalfields and the City. From the outside, it looks fairly unprepossessing and not very big, but once inside you see that it has quite a large space and lovely little outside area. The look is urban and industrial, but without the rough edges. Exposed brickwork, copper piping and a subtle colour palette of muted greens and browns give the place a Scandinavian, almost mid-century modern feel.
Trade, so named because of the historical association of Commercial Street with the London docks, has clearly decided to emphasize quality, provenance and ethical origins of its menu. The hugely tempting array of cakes and the heavenly smell of freshly-roasted coffee, which greets you upon entering, is proof that Trade’s model is working. Meanwhile Alex, the proprietor, is very hands-on, serving coffees and food and generally making sure everything is ticking along and that people are enjoying themselves.
Food is prepared for you while you wait, so you know it’s super-fresh. I tried their famous pastrami sandwich (the pastrami being smoked within Trade’s own smokery), and I’ve got to say it was one of the best I have ever had. Delicious and tangy meat with a subtle hint of smoke, accompanied by pickles and fresh coleslaw – it really hits the spot!
With my sandwich I had a ‘Cascara’, made in-house, a herbal drink made with the by-products of coffee manufacture. It has a light, refreshing flavour, more perhaps like a fruit tea than coffee, but very good all the same. A salted caramel chocolate brownie was a really indulgent (yet delicious!) way to follow the pastrami. Other popular sandwiches include the Reuben, and a lobster roll available at weekends. Healthy breakfasts, delicious-looking pancakes and a variety of tempting meat and veggie dishes are on offer all day.
Even on a weekend the place has plenty of custom, with people on their laptops, reading the papers or just having a hangover-killing brunch. There are plenty of places to perch, and you can sit on your own for a quick coffee or put some tables together to have lunch with a big group of friends. For somewhere cool but with real quality food and drink, Trade is hard to beat.
47 Commercial Street
Tel: 020 3490 1880