When we went down to Trade on Commercial Street we had to poke around under scaffolding to find it and that’s both a pity and sneakily useful, because it really is a hidden gem.
While the building work is probably going on for a bit longer (on the floors above and quite quietly) the cafe itself is a finished masterpiece. It’s got the nicest minimalist look while still feeling like home. It helps that Marion and her staff are like a mother hen and her family. It’s also nice to find somewhere a stones throw away from the busy market but not crowded with pushy people demanding weird coffee combinations.
Don’t get me wrong, the food and drink options are eclectic and adventurous and they can make you most any coffee you desire – or an iced chocolate – but there’s not the overwhelming and impatient group of staff and regulars that can make you feel uncomfortable in the more popular Soho cafes.
The menu is small but comprehensive and changes depending on what is in season and what looks good this week. It is genuinely handling impressively well and the options range from pancakes with maple syrup to lobster roll and tuna melt. We recommend you try at least one of the salads and as tempting as the sandwiches on the counter look, the smashed avo and chicken and bacon club we treated ourselves to were perfection.
With sides like homemade baked beans and slow roasted plum tomatoes, you know the offerings are going to be good. The eggs are free range and there’s free wifi in case you have to be doing something else at the same time. Go crazy and have a smoothie while you’re checking your email – healthy but not too sweet.
If you want to stay skinny then keep away from the cakes! The servings are generous and the options are difficult to stop eating. That said, if all you want is something sweet and filling on your shopping or lunch break then Trade is great for a quick afternoon tea stop. You’ve be warned though – it is hard to stop at once slice.
Everyone about the place is peaceful and quiet and the food looks as good as it tastes. Service is quick and friendly and if you get there just before the lunch rush you can bag a table outside. There’s something for everyone – even the celiacs and vegans. I enjoyed the coffee and the story behind it so if it’s a slow day for staff ask them to tell you all about it.
The best thing about Trade is that it’s not yet flooded with hipsters so get yourself down there before it’s ‘discovered’ by a lot of people with excessively groomed facial hair. It’s weird and wonderful and like sitting in your own home and eating gourmet lunch food.