Heading to Trio on a Thursday lunchtime LSi were unsure of what to expect from the rather up-market venue nestled in the heart of our scruffy beloved student area. On arrival we found the building itself to be an exercise in tempered civility: inhabiting the suburban sort of style common to mid-range franchises, odd for an independent establishment, perhaps a photo mural or two short of looking like a franchise with twenty chains in seven cities. It’s smart, certainly, and light enough to make lunch dining a pleasant daytime treat rather than a soporific indulgence. But there’s a measured emptiness to it, an almost deliberately elusive character to the space that harmonises perfectly with the Topshop suited, working lunch clientele. One suspects it’s a bit of a challenge trying to keep a consistent tone across the three floors of the Trio Complex (the restaurant, the fine upstairs cocktail bar, and the amusingly seedy basement bar), but for what it’s worth, it largely works.
Top billing on the lunchtime menu is given to the new Superfoods range: concoctions of bulgar wheat and quinoa trickling off the staffs’ tongues before you can say “Guardian Weekend Supplement”. With a student diet that renders anything not packaged in carcinogenic microwavable packets a rare oddity, the menu requires a certain degree of bravery (“This looks lovely, but could we have a side of chips, too?”). The bravery, however, is rewarded. The salmon steak, floating on a geyser of equal parts bulgar wheat and crisp vegetables, is as light as clear mid-February sun, the juices of the fish amply flavouring the New Age bed beneath it. The steak option, which we chose to be accompanied with greens loaded full of seaweed, pak choi and other mineral bursting ingredients, was tasty and surprisingly filling. Having paid our indulgences with these, Trio happily allowed us to sink once more into sin with an oozing chocolate fudge cake; a slight mess with rigidity of soufflé but the weight of espresso that seemed oddly loose after the balance of the preceding dish. The Pecan Pie too provided relief; it was the perfect guilty pleasure to finish an overwhelmingly healthy meal.
It should also be noted that menu doesn’t just cater for those on a new year detox, the main menu offers up a wide range of choices including the ‘Wully Bully’s’ All American Burger complete with bacon, lettuce, cheese and onion rings, and the Indonesian Curry with butternut squash, Asian vegetables and peanut curry sauce. There’s also great options on the lunch menu from the classic Trio Chicken and Bacon club to the more sophisticated Crab and Avocado deli sandwich, these do not however come with the average costings and will set you back between £8-9.
That said, the prices reflect the quality of food, service and atmosphere on offer a Trio, and well worth a visit if you’re after something superior to the burgers on offer in the likes of Skyrack.
Caitlin Williams & Max Bruges