We all have come across such a person in our lives.
You know, the one who says he/she doesn’t want much of a fuss to celebrate his birthday and completely downplays the whole thing but lo and behold when the fireworks go off with a big to-do this person is secretly pleased as punch. My advice? Take this person to Frankie & Benny’s.
No wonder kids and teenagers love this place. Sparkler topped birthday cakes get carried to a lucky person, which feels like every five minutes, accompanied by the staff singing the obligatory “happy birthday” song. To end the whole saga, tired Cliff Richard has to chime in with a piece of “Congratulations” too. When the spectacle takes place the first time you’re there you can’t help but watch but rest assured after the second time the whole scene will get on your tits.
As far as cocktails go, the Vodka Lime Soda (£4.75) is a true winner but unfortunately, Frankie’s Delight (£2.75) reminded me of those cheap ice lollies I used to eat after school when I was small and the rotten strawberry that came along with it made me doubt much quality control is done.
Rosaria’s Lamb Shank (£12.45) was beautifully tender and flavourful but what a shame that the cook had to spoil the presentation by drowning the plate in sauce that made the carrots float helpless like driftwood at sea. Other than this the BBQ Chicken & Ribs were executed just right and went down a treat. Customers have a choice of upgrading their decent standard fries (£3.55) to cheese & bacon fries; there are some proper bacon pieces to be had in the latter but the cheese resembled off-putting, yellow snot that tasted strange.
The main courses are quite calorific and thankfully there is another menu available with lighter options. If you can get past the fact that the Crab Cake (£5.95) is made of imitation crab it was okay but considering how cheap the ingredients are to make the patty the price is steep. There was nothing special about the Oven Baked Pesto Salmon (£12.45). Two bone-dry bland pieces of fillets with no hint of the promised salad dressing anywhere the Chicken Citrus Salad (£9.95) made me wish I had ordered something else instead.
Lastly, we had the Caramel Pecan Cheesecake (£5.25) which was truly gorgeous and decadent. If only I had this as a starter and main course too!
5/10: Mostly old time favourites - not overly imaginative menu.
7/10: Prices are on the pricy side for a family restaurant but that said the portions are huge.
9/10: I don't know why I scored it so highly, possibly because the staff was so overwhelmingly positive that I was charmed.
6/10: Standard stuff.
3/10: Loud, busy and the "celebratory" episodes are disruptive.
5/10: If I had to go back I would just order the Vodka Lime Cocktail and the cheesecake - safe options guaranteed to be good!
Frankie & Benny's
18/20 Southchurch Road
P.S. I was a guest of Frankie & Benny's.
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