Food fads, they come and go. 90s it was pesto, few years ago it was meatballs and now it’s burgers and ribs. Well, that was the fad in London last year, obviously that means it’s arrived up here now. So where better to find this latest foodie trend other than the hipster drenched streets of Manchester’s Northern Quarter?
Whether Trof have spotted an opening after Almost Famous’ truly phenomenal, short lived success; or were just impressed by AF’s dedication to making the burger an edible entity rather than a formless, grey slush in between some disintegrating bun halves is a question I haven’t asked anyone; however Wednesday nights are now slider time upstairs in Trof’s new bourbon bar and their main menu burger (available every day) seems to have undergone a good-taste makeover too – when we mentioned this to our server she summed up, ‘well we do have new chefs and they are good.’ Good to know, seeing as I’ll be eating their food.
The short Wednesday menu is basically sliders, hot dogs and other Americana related items such as slaw, shakes and onion rings. Actually that’s all there is on it. There’s a choice of three sliders, so we had one of each. Pulled pork was soft and smokey, rather drowning in a sweet, piquant sauce (no bad thing) but the adverted crackling wasn’t self-evident. The lamb slider was delicious – a warm, cumin-y and in no way sweaty tasting. Beef and bone marrow was pink, tender, salty and moreish with all the good umami tastiness from the marrow without the greasy sloppiness you sometimes get from sucking it out of the bone.
Taking advantage of the ‘slightly less price if you buy two sides’ deal we wolfed down some lightly battered but way too greasy onion rings and some tasty parmesan and truffle fries that were very sans truffle. I got a hit off one fry and that was my lot.
As mentioned before the Trof burger has had a little makeover, it seems almost the same, yet it’s just been cooked/assembled well (maybe that’s because they’ve got good chefs? – ed). I’m old enough to remember Trof when it was just a one place operation in Fallowfield, the burger was my treat each time that much needed loan cheque came in – when Trof expanded the quality of their burgers went steadily down hill – but this was a juicy, pink in the middle, charred on the outside delight served in a proper bun. Good to see them back on form.
Sitting in the bourbon bar we ditched the usual burger complimenting beer and supped (a lot of) cocktails (£5 before 8pm) – a parma violet aviation; sugary, minty julep; sharp Hemingway daiquiri and a smokey Martinez (precursor the martini apparently). All well mixed, all lethal; don’t think I’d have the Hemingway again, it was just a little too sharp and a little too fruity, but that’s just personal taste.
Trof’s new menu makeover/new chefs/whatever is a good thing – there’s care put in to the food, they’re sourcing everything local/high welfare (eg. they use Frosts Butchers for their meat and he informs me it’s all from Cheshire) and they obviously understand taste. Everything (bar the chips) had a perfect harmony of flavour with accompaniments cleverly chosen to cut through, highlight and compliment everything else on the plate.
And what do I think of sliders? Turn ’em in to proper sized burgers, I like more than a mouthful – especially when everything tastes so good!
Price for three sliders, two sides, one burger, one rendang and six cocktails – £60.40 (please note, the cocktails take up £30 of that!)
Food – 8/10
Service – 7/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value for money – 6/10 – the sliders are a bit expensive really.
Total – 29/40
Go again? Yes it’s good for relaxed eats and the food has got back to its initial (good old days) standards.