Monday, 1 July 2013

Restaurant review: Frankie and Benny's

My first two experiences of eating at Frankie and Benny's weren't particularly positive. On the first occasion I ordered the Chicken Carbonara Bake which was way too creamy for my liking so I couldn't eat much of it. On the second occasion, I had a burger which was pretty good. However, I started to feel ill about 8 hours later and consequently spent all night throwing up. I think it's doubtful that the food actually made me ill as I ate half a packet of Pringles a couple of hours before I started feeling dodgy, but it did put me off going back to Frankie and Benny's for a while.

After visiting Frankie and Benny's a few weeks ago for the first time since the throwing up incident and having a lovely meal, myself and my boyfriend decided to go there for our anniversary meal. I live within walking distance of the Frankie and Benny's restaurant in Cardiff, so it's pretty convenient. They also provide a great specials menu from Sunday to Friday with 2 courses for £10.95 or 3 courses for £12.20. Considering that some of their main courses alone cost over £12, this is a bargain.

The specials menu is fairly limited compared to their full menu, but there's still plenty of choice for everyone in my humble opinion. There's actually too much choice for me, even though I have to steer well clear of anything which contains their philly cheese sauce. I also always avoid their Carbonara after my first negative experience of Frankie and Benny's. I chose the BBQ pulled pork potato skins for my starter, the BBQ Burger for my main and the Mint Choc Waffle for my dessert. 

BBQ pulled pork potato skins

I love potato skins at the best of times, and these definitely didn't disappoint. The skins were the perfect level of crispy, and the pork was tender and tasty. The cheese on top finished them off nicely, and the BBQ flavour was an excellent addition. Thumbs up for the starter!

BBQ Burger

As you can see, the burger was pretty big and smothered in BBQ sauce, salad and bacon. The burger itself was quite disappointing as the consistency wasn't great. It tasted processed and watery in parts, so I didn't eat the whole thing. However, the toasted sesame bun, bacon and BBQ sauce were lovely so I polished all those off. The chips were also delicious and just the way I like them, as I would expect in this type of restaurant. So apart from the burger itself, the main course also got a thumbs up.

Mint Choc Waffle

The dessert was definitely my highlight of the meal. The waffle was warm and flavoured with cinnamon, topped with mint chocolate chip ice cream, warm chocolate fudge sauce and chocolate honeycomb. The ice cream was good quality ice cream... I know good quality ice cream when I taste it, believe me. Although the chocolate fudge sauce was very rich, it had been used sparingly so that it didn't overpower the rest of the dessert. The chocolate honeycomb pieces were really tasty too and worked well with the mint choc chip ice cream. I would probably have chosen vanilla ice cream for this dessert if I had a choice,  but the mint choc chip really works. Massive round of applause for the dessert!

Frankie and Benny's has a nice family-friendly atmosphere, although it can be noisy at times when the staff sing happy birthday to the birthday guests in a T.G.I.Friday's style. They also don't sell refillable soft drinks, which is disappointing and fairly unusual for an American-style restaurant chain these days. However, on the whole, my latest experience at Frankie and Benny's was definitely a satisfying one. 

So, it's safe to say that my phobia of Frankie and Benny's has been eradicated after my two initial bad experiences. However, I won't be ordering a burger there again!

Has anyone else had as many 'hit' and 'miss' experiences at Frankie and Benny's as I have? Have you tried their bargain specials menu?

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