Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
Trade Union is a fabulous recently owned bar situated on the edge of St Katharine’s Dock, E1. The name Trade Union was derived from the several different trades situated within the bar, it’s an unusual concept but the bar includes an in-house barber, the successful and award winning DRAKES of London, a florist, the Bushwick Pizza Co and just outside Vagabonds coffee shop.
Set in Thomas More Square and surrounded by offices the bar was barely visible on my arrival blocked by the sheer volume of customers sitting outside and taking advantage of the beautiful September evening. Inside as you expect was quieter but still had a buzzy atmosphere and the majority of the tables had a good view of both the kitchen and the bar. I arrived a little early so could spend a few minutes watching the talented bar staff making cocktails before I was asked what I would like to drink. I requested something non-alcoholic and was asked what sort of things I liked, on stating lime, the barman zoomed off and came back with a gorgeous lime and mint long drink topped with crushed ice perfect for cooling off.
The master classes normally have up to 8 participants (we had 10) and on arrival of the others we made our way to the pizza rolling class for our first lesson. Taking in turns to enter the kitchen in pairs we were given an apron and instructions by the head chef to make a part of the pizza, rolling, adding toppings, cooking or cutting. What seemed like seconds later we were given the fruits of our labour, 3 thin and crispy pizzas to taste, they really didn’t last long! Head chef Tomas Zdkowswski then showed us how to make a dessert pizza, topped with Nutella, marshmallows and strawberries. It was absolutely delicious and we could have easily eaten two. Pizza’s eaten we headed off to the separate VIP bar for the gin master class.
The master class was started with introductions and a description of what gin is made of and how it’s distilled. Then came tastings of four neat premium gins with the head barman describing why they tasted so differently, gin not normally being a spirit that you drink neat I found the different tastes surprising and I definitely liked the mellower ones like Sipsmith & Bombay Sapphire best. We were then shown how to make gin cocktails and two people at a time went head to head to make them fastest. It was great fun and we got to taste lots of interesting cocktails too.
You can do either the gin or pizza master class separately at a cost of £20 each or combined for £35. I think the combination would make a perfect night out for a group of friends but you would need to eat first as you only get a taster of pizza not one each. You do get plenty to drink though!
For coffee enthusiast’s Trade Union also hold a coffee master class at cost of £35 per person, this gives an insight into the history, production, flavour profiles and creation of the perfect cup of coffee. This is held at the well-known Vagabond coffee shop right opposite.
We had a really fun evening doing the workshops, I would have liked the pizza workshop to have been a little more hands on but nevertheless it was fun watching everyone else and the atmosphere was very informal and more enjoyable than a strict lesson. Highly recommended for a group of friends or a couple.
For more information or to make a booking visit tradeunion.grandunionbars.com.
Trade Union, 3 Thomas More St, St Katharine’s & Wapping, London, E1W 1YW | 0207 488 9356