Me and Bailey have been to all of the branches of Trof loads of times and have always found them to be very pleasant, if a little inconsistent. The Fallowfield branch in particular has always been ace and on a number of occasions I have taken visiting friends and family there as a shining example of a good Manchester eatery. My brother even commented once when I took him there that it reminded him of the type of cool bar you get in Barcelona's El Raval. We used to visit all the time because they did simply the best fish finger sandwiches you could ever wish for - amazing, crispy home made fish fingers on thick white tin loaf. Absolutely delicious, especially with their spiced fries. This has since been taken off the menu which has caused Bailey in particular some fairly serious heartbreak.
On this occasion we had very high expectations! We were starving, hungover, skint and also I had been on the amazing trip to Home Sweet Home just the day before.
Our Trof experience started well. We selected a very nice little table in the outside area which was lovely and cosy despite the fact that it was chucking it down with rain. I also love looking at the menus in Trof because they look really cool, have a really good selection of stuff and also are pretty much the only menu not in France I can think of that has Orangina on it.
Another good start to our meal was that when we got down to the bar to order there were loads of cake samples out for us to try. They were really outstanding, on sampling a piece of a really yummy jammy Bakewell Slice Alex said "I almost wish I hadn't tasted that. It's so nice that you never want to not be eating it ever again." This reminded me that once when I had been in the Deaf Institute branch of Trof, I had seen a man eating the most amazing chocolate brownie cheesecake. Enquiring about the awesome looking cake to a nearby member of staff, she told me all about the pastry chef who comes in to make their cakes and who is responsible for everyone working there getting super fat. She told me that he is really good at making cakes and he just makes whatever he feels like making on a particular day so there are always different things on sale. We commented that it's things like this that sets Trof apart from chain pubs and restaurants even if their food is a bit more inconsistent.
Bailey, Alex and Gray also had a really nice time drinking their milkshakes and commented that you couldn't help drinking them really fast because they were so tasty.
However, from this point a few little things started to go a bit downhill. Don't get me wrong, we had a really nice time and I would still probably recommend Trof to most people as it can be amazing, but I don't think it quite lived up to our expectations.
Firstly, in spite of the fact that we had given the bar our table number and them knowing that we were all sitting together, there must have been a bit of a communication error in the kitchen which meant that we all got our orders separately so none of us really got to eat together which was a bit rubbish. I hate eating while everyone else is sitting there and I also don't like sitting there while everyone else is eating!
Secondly, I thought the staff were a bit standoffish and perhaps a little on the rude side. They were rubbish at getting us the condiments we asked for and when we finally did get them, the bottles were all pretty much empty which led to some HP Sauce bottle chaos. As I am also very nosy I did earwig in on a conversation between the staff and some customers who had been waiting 45 minutes for their food. Although the situation was dealt with through the offer of free pints, the bar staff weren't apologetic or bothered at all, although the kitchen staff did offer a heartfelt apology through the service window which I think the disgruntled customers appreciated.
Also we felt that the portions just weren't what was promised by the menu.
For example Alex ordered the Fried Brekkie, saying he thought the "piled plate" described on the menu would be enough for him as opposed to the "giant" Royal Brekkie. But when it arrived, the fact that the plate wasn't actually "piled" was a little disappointing.
Gray ordered the Veggie Burger which looked a picture - perfectly presented and a gorgeous bright green falafel burger which was very tasty. However again, the small pot of spiced fries was a bit too petite. And those spiced fries are amazing, you really want more than a petite pot of those bad boys.
Hannah's fried Veggie Brekkie could also hardly be described as a "Burstin' plate" - even if Hannah is the most lovely little thing she can still put food away in an impressive quantity!
One rather controversial thing about the Veggie Brekkies is that on the plate is a rather unconventional (for a breakfast plate) selection of veggies - caramelised onions, courgettes and peppers. I love that idea and think it's scrum but our beloved Paul Barnes was less than impressed by this as he points out in his Itchy Guide to Five Places for a Good, Cheap Breakfast in Manchester.
Bailey ordered the Roast Chicken Roast Dinner which he thought was done really well and cooked to perfection. However, once again he felt there just wasn't enough of each thing on the plate.
Is it that we are too greedy? That may well be part of it but I guess they need to take into account that most youngsters like ourselves who go out to places like Trof on a Sunday are mostly looking for a gut-busting meal to cure our hangovers. Having said that I would still argue that the food is of a high standard.
After all this portion disappointment I was glad that when I (finally) got my lunch I had ordered not one but TWO dinners: jacket potato with beans for a nice bit of stodge and a Superfood Salad to try and right some of the wrongs of the night before. The jacket was nice and fluffy and my salad was fresh, zingy and tasty. However, the aioli promised by the menu was nowhere to be seen and it just didn't live up to the standard of the awesome Home Sweet Home salad I had chowed down on 24 hours previously.
Our trip to Trof did end on a high note with another trip to the bar to order full sized versions of those delectable home made cakes.
We had a selection including lemon cake, millionaire shortbread, another slice of that amazing Bakewell and carrot cake. Perfect with a nice cuppa to round off the meal.
So actually a few niggles with Trof this time but as I said we already pretty much knew that they are fairly inconsistent and I have had some wonderful meals there in the past. I suppose linking in with what we had said earlier in the meal, the danger of visiting independent eateries is that it can be more of a gamble. It's not like we will never be visiting again as it is a very nice and relaxed place and we especially love going there on nights out as we always have a great time. I think I'll just be wary in future and I think the day and time of visit may also make a difference. One thing they DO need to do PRONTO is get that bloody fish finger sarnie back on the menu and I'm sure we would be back there pretty much every weekend.