Trof Presents ”The Deaf Institute”, or Trof as I am henceforth going to refer to it, is a cafe, bar and music hall located just off Oxford Road in Manchester.
It’s named “The Deaf Institute” because the sandstone building had embossed above the door “The Deaf & Dumb Institute” – perhaps a remnant from days when we could refer to people as “deaf & dumb” without being “ignorant and rude”.
Trof pride themselves on ethical and responsible food sourcing. With a care for animals that extends beyond the menu (the first time I went, I was recommended a vegetarian dish because that was the waitress’ moral stance), their proactive approach to working with like-minded food producers is commendable.
A staunch carnivore, I’ve never chosen a meal that doesn’t at least contain one animal; the past two things I’ve gone, I’ve ate vegetarian.
I suppose it’d be rude not to have a vegetarian option… Waiiiit…
What have you done to me, Trof?!
Where is it?
Trof is located at The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester, M1 7HE. It’s about 8 minutes walk from Oxford Road Station (Which in today’s winds and rain felt like a 40 minute walk…)
There’s nothing more horrible for a reviewer than lugging round your camera, lens, and flash all day, only to sit down to appreciate some good food in a nice venue and be presented with “No SD card has been inserted”.
Hence, today’s review will have to be updated with pictures later… Boo
Our order consisted of:
- Bacon, Brie, and Cranberry Ciabatta (£5.95) (Ben Tosh)
- Pea, Leek, and Lancashire Cheese Tart (£4.95) (Craig Ineson)
- Seasonal Greens (£2.95) (Craig Ineson)
So, where do I start? Well, I’m going to start by saying I am so disappointed they only serve Eggs Benedict until 4pm… :’(
But, after I got over that initial shock, I was presented with a few possible belly-filling candidates:
There’s just something really nice about this combination – and I absolutely love Pesto and Ciabatta. However, a double carb dish with chips and ciabatta – I thought I’d best stay clear!
Sounds really delicious, but probably the most unhealthy option in the world – and mushy peas are hardly a redeeming “green” on your plate! Definitely one to try next time though… But far too stodgy for today!
I actually opted for the Pea, Leek, and Lancashire Cheese Tart - a vegetarian choice that was a bit of a risk! Why? Because I imagine this tart could be easily done really badly. Although, I’ve got to comment straight away it was not done badly!
It arrived as two medium sized slices of hot, quiche-like tart with a generous side salad. The tart was definitely cheesey – Lancashire Cheese often being particularly strong in flavour, this was no exception. The peas and leek were subtle, but definitely there. The pastry on the bottom was soft and moist and the edge pastry had a bit of crunch to it.
The side salad was the poshest salad I’ve ever had – containing various mixed leaves, sliced radish, and sliced celery. Whatever dressing was on the salad was subtle, but delicious. I couldn’t tell!
The seasonal greens were peas, broccoli, and spinach covered in – what I believe – was a parsley butter (Definitely a herb butter, at least). The season greens were delicious – peas were full of flavour, brocolli was al dente, and the spinach wasn’t excessive – perfect!
Overall, I really enjoyed the food. Definitely of an Excellent standard.
I must comment on the beer though – because I was somewhat disappointed at this. We ordered two Trof Lager – and suffice to say it was alright (nothing spectacular). The pints were £3.30 each – and on our bill we found out that the Trof Lager was actually just Carlsberg under a different name.
If I’d have known it was Trof Lager = Carlsberg, I’d have opted for something not total piss-water.
Fucking Carlsberg… Pfft.
The whole place had a grunge-y, gritty, dirty feel to it. Not dirty in the actually dirty sense… But more in the “it’s the kind of place you’d eat posh food and listen to dubstep” dirty feel.
To describe what I mean – I took a trip to the toilet. Pretty standard toilet, but instead of “taps”, there was an exposed copper pipe (the kind you’d see under a bath) with a button on it to start the water. Never seen that before; doubt I will again! But I liked it.
The whole place was a strange juxtaposition between this grunge-y, gritty, dirty feel at the diner level, with chandeliers and white streamers a-plenty on the roof. Low lighting, inoffensive music, and a good feel about the place. Lots of chat and hustle and bustle.
Quality of Service
The place was busy. The guy was busy. Not much that can be done about that! You know, there were just a few things – For example, I wasn’t sure whether it was table service or order at the bar. Secondly, drinks took a bit of time to come. Meals were quite quick, to be fair.
There was no check back. We weren’t asked if we wanted any desserts or coffees. We weren’t offered our check, though he was about for me to ask for it at least! The guy was a really nice guy!
Having visited Trof last week, I can tell you that the service was consistently average even at quiet times.
Overall – the service was just average. That’s not an insult – it’s what I’d expect of a place like Trof. Not shattering expectations, but not bad in the slightest. Definitely room for improvement.
Value for Money
You know, I’ve thought long and hard about this – and I would have given Trof a 4/5 for Value for Money because, let’s face it, the prices are certainly not extortionate. Two fed for £20 with two drinks, not bad!
However, £3.30 for fucking Carlsberg… Not having that!
One star down.
I don’t think an unfair assessment to give a 3/5. Trof has some really excellent qualities, and some average qualities. I think the average qualities swayed me more than the excellent ones. And, to be fair, (4+4+3+3) / 4 = 3.5… and that’s really what it deserves! I just don’t do half measures!
Quirky, gritty, and saturated with students… Trof, I’d love to go again! Perhaps this time before 4pm so I can have some Eggs Benedict… Actually devastated at that…
See you soon, Trof!
Ben Tosh tl;dr
Ben didn’t know he was doing a review today. I asked him out for some food, then later whipped out the dictaphone. They really should create a Facebook group for me… “Asking your mates out for food, then springing a review on them because you’re a Top Bloke”…
- Food Quality: I think I was a bit optimistic on my Ciabatta… I could compare it to somewhere similar, and it did fall down in comparison – But, it was nice enough, it was as described… Bacon, Brie, Cranberry, Ciabatta… With some chips! And a salad, with a reasonable dressing.
- Atmosphere: I quite liked the atmosphere – had that chilled back, sort of student-y, chill-out zone kind of feel. Few yuppies like me and Craig… Wait, just Craig… I’m a doley… Didn’t seem to be any unsavory characters about. Basic decor, enough seats to sit on, what more can you ask for?
- Quality of Service: Errr… I wouldn’t complain about it! It wasn’t worthy of a mega-fat tip… Nothing against the guy, seemed busy! Friendly enough chap! No complaints, but I wouldn’t go around shouting about it…
- Value for Money: S’alright… Acceptable… £10. Beer and a meal? For what I got I was a little underwhelmed at the quality based on the price… “Standard” is the word.
- Overall: I’d give it 3.5, but Craig doesn’t do halves so… 3/5. I didn’t mind the place; my opinion could have been swayed more with a different choice from the menu… I liked it. You want a one-liner? I don’t do one-liners. That’s my one-liner.
(Dictated, but not read)