Can the artisan Levenshulme bakery carve out a place amongst all the new opening noise in Ancoats?
Gordo last visited the original Trove in Levenshulme six years ago. It was a bakery morphing into a pretty fit café. It was interesting and Gordo planned to go back, but soon found himself in a Twitter row with a Levenshulme-based troll about advertising. The troll hadn’t quite grasped the fundamentals of capitalism or trying to keep writers and journalists in meaningful employment at a time when print was starting to disappear.
He refused to engage with Gordo by telephone so, loathing the cowardice of keyboard warriors, Gordo went to Levenshulme Market where he knew the troll had a food stand.
It looks very contemporary, like an art gallery without the art.
This is where Gordo came unstuck. Mrs Troll was there too, a teacher who turned out to be a world class manipulator of social media 'flamed' Fatty good and proper. Not a very pleasant experience.
It took Gordo a couple of weeks to get over it, until he realised that his Twitter followers had shot up a couple of thousand. Thus, Confidential adopted a new mission statement: educate, inform, entertain... and irritate. Confidential now has over 375,000 followers, up from 15,000 in 2013.
So whilst Gordo owes Mr & Mrs Troll a big tip, he hasn’t been back to Levenshulme since - a place where his family lived for over eighty years - or to the great market he loved to wander around. If Gordo bumped into the bully, he'd probably get himself in trouble all over again.
Then a command came through from food and drink editor, Deanna Thomas; Trove needed reviewing and Gordo had been assigned to do it. Bloody hell.
But this one was in Ancoats. It seems the original Trove is doing well and expanding.
Gordo has had four good experiences in or around Ancoats' Cutting Room Square in the past four months; Elnecot, Canto, Mana and Sugo have all blown Fatty's underpants off. So this was going to be interesting. Would Trove have grown up enough to stand up to these young food warriors?
It looks very contemporary, like an art gallery without the art. Bright and lively, with a mixture of current and post millennials; the blokes with luxurious beards, the ladies, it appears, bringing back a 50s Paris jazz look - much better than the hipsters. It's more Brick Lane than Brick Lane.
Choose your poison at the counter, a range that has grown out of (arguably) the first sourdough bread in Manchester; menu by evolution. It looks a little on the light side to begin with, but looking past the toast or bagel with jam the menu begins to take on a life of its own.
Organic eggs (any way you like) on toast moves onto a full vegan breakfast and poached eggs, Benedict or Florentine. Gordo didn’t fancy the tofu, kimchi (aka evil shit), kale, chilli oil and sesame rice bowl (£6.50), so designed his own eggs Benedict, adding mushroom and black pudding (both £2), and chose the molasses and sunflower seed bread. The body of the dish, two poached eggs, bacon and hollandaise is £8.75. You can add on a glass of Bloody Mary or Prosecco for a compris tickle of £13.75.
That bread toasted well, two lush buttery pieces stacked on top of each other, a couple of eggs that were slightly overdone sat on terrific bacon and topped off with an excellent in-house hollandaise. A cute extra is a few capers, sharply acidic, working well to lift the whole affair. A great big mushroom was gorgeous. But then Gordo tackled the black pudding, presented á la Toblerone. This had been made on the premises, just about the very last thing Gordo expected in this area. Real chunks of pork fat, lush blood filler; the whole giving iodine and violet flavour along with ace mouth-feel. This was very special.
Earl Grey tea, then a couple of world class cakes; a choux bun, perfect with an ever so slightly burned bum, filled with green cream (pistachio or matcha tea flavoured), and a fig and ginger frangipane in a smart crunchy pastry tart that would have Gordo’s gran's dentures tinkling as if they were in a Steinway. Maybe a couple of minutes off the bake? Tiny moan that.
This formula has taken a long time for the Trove team to get right. For Gordo it’s worth a schlepp across town for. In fact, it’s worth a schlepp across country for.
Trove Café, 5 Murray Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 6HS
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you're passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Tea 8, toast 8, eggs 6, bacon 8, hollandaise 9, mushroom 9, black pudding 10, choux bun 9.5, fig tart 9.5