Review – The Troll’s Pantry
Unless you’ve been hiding under a small vegetarian shaped rock for the majority of the year, you’ll have heard of The Troll’s Pantry. I’m obviously one to jump headfirst onto a food-based bandwagon, particularly when it’s rolling straight out of my home town, hence my ‘numerous’ visits to The Troll’s Pantry.
For those of you not in the know, The Troll’s Pantry is a street food sensation that has been rocking the city. Burgers are the game and maximum enjoyment is the aim, all being served out of a pop-up by ‘The Troll’ himself. I’m not talking poor quality, trading out of a van, add a quid for chips and a can of pop kinda burgers – these are the real deal.
The Troll’s Pantry has been operating since early 2012, initially dotted around the city, including stints on Conway Street in Hove and evenings at The Bugle Inn. The Troll found his first proper home on Circus Street, behind Grand Parade and near the Wood Recycling Centre. Opening hours were varied but loyalty and positive word of mouth ensured hordes of customers kept returning. Queues, especially on a Saturday, stretched right around the block and The Troll’s Pantry often sold out.
Christmas time 2012 saw a mammoth uprising in The Troll’s popularity. This is when I first heard murmurings – “have you been to that burger place near the Uni?” “have you heard of that burger shack near the All Nite Diner?” – The answer was always, ‘no, what are you on about?’ It took me until post-Christmas and well into the New Year to take these murmurings seriously.
By this time The Troll’s Pantry had taken up a new, permanent home at the aptly named Hobgoblin Pub on London Road, serving lunchtimes and evenings with a rotating menu of burger delights.
But why? Why all the fuss? What’s so special about this Troll’s Pantry you and the city harp on about?
Let me put it to you simply. Forget your pub grub, your takeaways, forget everything you’ve ever tasted before. This is a burger like no other.
For a start, the patties are made solely of 35 day aged steak mince, from grass-fed, Longhorn Sussex cattle. No preservatives, no additives, just meat. 100% pure Sussex beef. A cracking start.
The Troll then combines his beefy patties with intelligent combinations of local, seasonal produce. All hand foraged, all sauces handmade, this list of extras is impressive. Think beer and chocolate sauce, foraged herb salad, Bourbon bacon jam and smoked foresters cheese. These combinations transform the burgers into exquisite meat creations. Oh, and did I mention he kneads and bakes all his own brioche buns too?
Each burger has a different theme, if you will. For example The Imperial, The Stinky Breath, The Hunter and The Smoky Mountain. These are the ‘standard’ range with specials including The Drunken Knight and The Trollkano making random appearances. I’m on a mission to try them all and am constantly on the eye-out for an appearance from the ultra rare Bounty Hunter burger!
My favourite Troll’s Pantry experience so far has got to be a visit one Friday evening with a group of friends. I’d organised the excursion from our Hove-based habitats down to the unfamiliar London Road territory, under the guise that this will be a burger like no other. I’d previously only tried The Imperial – 35 day aged Longhorn pattie, St Giles cheese, pickles, American mustard, Heinz ketchup, salad (£6.50) and this time was eager to sample a different burger.
Each time The Troll does service, there’s a choice of two of his burgers with an option to double up for an extra £3. Seeing no reason why I shouldn’t undertake such an offer, I ordered a Double Woodland – 2 x 35 day aged Longhorn patties, wild garlic and sorrel salad, wild garlic mayo, forest honey and mustard sauce, smoked foresters cheese, brioche bun (£10.50)
Unwrapping this beast of a burger, juices ooze out and saturate the greaseproof paper casing. I think I demolished my burger in under five minutes – it was superb. The wild garlic mayo really shone through and as always, the beef patties were cooked to perfection. The smoked cheese complemented the honey and mustard sauce perfectly and each element came together to produce a very, very tasty burger indeed. However, I think the burgers work better as a single pattie rather than a double as the meat content tends to overpower the flavoursome fillings.
So far I’ve tried three of The Troll’s Pantry burgers and I’m determined to devour the whole range come the end of summer. Personally, I see The Troll’s Pantry outgrowing The Hobgoblin and I would love to see him set up his own burger bar. Only time will tell.
Overall, I can’t recommend The Troll’s Pantry enough. I suggest you head down during trading hours, join the queue and get in on burger revolution that’s sweeping the city.