If you’re from Manchester, have been a student here or have ever just done a bit of research on the coolest hot spots in the city, this won’t be the first time you’ve heard of Trof NQ. It's like the modern-day food and drink equivalent of Oasis or the Stone Roses. It’s like the left ventricle, helping pump life and soul around the very heart of Manchester city centre morning, noon and night. Okay, that’s probably a bit dramatic but you get the gist.
I haven’t been to Trof since my first year of Uni, way back in 2009 when the Northern Quarter was still yet to be discovered by the majority of Manchester’s mainstream. That was until last Tuesday when I toddled off there for a bit of post-work dinner and mid-week drinking…
In a world of white tiled walls, copper light fixtures and palm leaf wallpaper, Trof NQ is unapologetically itself. Grungy, intimate and unpolished in the most charming way possible. Just like many bars and restaurants in this part of the city, Trof is a sandwich of multiple layers, each as cool and cosy as the last. Antique wallpaper and wooden flooring give it a pub-like vibe, while chesterfield sofas and eclectic light fixtures give it its retro-modern street cred.
Trof is a bar, a restaurant and a great place to grab breakfast or brunch. It wears many hats and to be honest, suits all of them. This time, I was there for dinner and didn’t take too long in ordering myself the Chicken & Chips with Aioli, burnt lemon and fries, and a large glass of Sixty Clicks Shiraz in all its spiced chocolate and cherry glory. What a combo, right?
My on-the-bone chicken was juicy and crispy in all the right places and seriously, seriously tasty – especially with the rich chicken gravy poured over and dunked in the silky garlic dipping sauce. My partner in dine went for the Chermoula Lamb Skewer with apricot cous cous, which boasted that glorious smokiness of chargrilled meat and a sweet but tangy aftertaste coming through the bejewelled cous cous accompaniment. Truly delicious stuff.
The DesignMyNight Digest
If you’re looking for somewhere to don your Valentino heels or your Balenciaga sock shoes, you might feel a smidge out of place. If you’re happy to head out for dinner and drinks of an evening in dog-eared skate shoes and a biker jacket then you’ll feel right at home in this cosy little dim-lit nook of the Northern Quarter.
Food’s great, cocktails are quirky-but-classy and the beer repertoire is certainly not something to sneer at. I love Trof for making me feel chilled out and at home, even at the epicentre of such a fast-paced urban jungle and I think you will too.