Monday, 1 October 2012

Frankie & Benny's Food and Cocktails


Frankie 7 Benny's, Frankie & Benny's Cocktails, Cocktails






One of the restaurant we always wanted to try but never did is Frankie & Benny's. For some reason ours looked a bit run down to us, so I'm glad that we were given the opportunity to proof ourselves wrong.


Frankie 7 Benny's, Frankie & Benny's Cocktails, Cocktails















Frankie 7 Benny's, Frankie & Benny's Cocktails, Cocktails

















It was cold and dark outside when we got there last night. We couldn't see much from outside through the tainted windows of Frankie & Benny's, but once inside, the whole atmosphere has changed. It's very cosy and cheerful, with music from the 30's playing in the background, really giving that old time New York feel. It's a family oriented restaurant with lots of balloons floating on top of the tables, indicating the number of children there was that were already seated.

I was pleasantly surprised with their Children's Fun Pack. They came in card wallets, including a multi-coloured pencil, a puzzle book and something else to keep the children occupied, depending on the season. It was a nature trail set for the Summer pack, and puzzle for the Autumn pack. This is much more appealing than a colouring sheet and a pack of crayons! It is also another proof how family oriented the restaurant is. I also noticed that they sell their children T-shirts of 2 different patterns for £4.95 each.


Frankie 7 Benny's, Frankie & Benny's Cocktails, Cocktails
















Frankie 7 Benny's, Frankie & Benny's Cocktails, Cocktails
Smoothie of the day and Dessert for Abby















Frankie 7 Benny's, Frankie & Benny's Cocktails, Cocktails





















Frankie & Benny's have just released a new cocktail menu, and that's what we were there for. We were offered 4 cocktails to try between the two of us. They have a really good selection of cocktails, from classics to premium ones, and several non-alcoholic choices as well. 

We decided to go for (from top to bottom, left to right) Strawberry Shortcake and Pina Colada to start with, as well as an Espresso Martini that I ordered at the end of the meal. We ordered a Smoothie of the day - Banana and Strawberry from their non-alcoholic menu for Abby to try for the fourth cocktail as hubby had to drive. The Strawberry Ice Cream Sundae with Chocolate Buttons was her dessert of course (which was like strawberry milkshake, heavenly!). Hubby loves Coke Floatie, couldn't resist the temptation and ordered one as well.

The Strawberry Shortcake Cocktail contains Disaronno Amaretto and Strawberry Liqueur, which is blended with strawberries and cream. I made a mistake by drinking this light and creamy cocktail after the Pina Colada, which took over the strawberry flavours. I first tasted the Amaretto, which reminded me of marzipan, and then the plain whipped cream. I initially thought that the cream has taken over the flavours, but the more I sip from this cocktail, the more I can taste the strawberry flavour. It was delightful and very easy to drink (I can hardly taste the alcohol, way too easy to drink!), and I drank it all up!

The Pina Colada was very coconutty and sweet, again a very easy to drink cocktail, but with a slightly stronger alcohol taste. It was surprisingly good as I had undrinkable Pina Coladas before. Their alcohol taste was so strong it made my eyes water! Cocktails are suppose to be easy to drink and makes you happy, and these did it.

The Espresso Martini was WOW. It blew me away in a very good way. I never liked strong alcohol but I couldn't stop myself from taking small sips of it. The Espresso was sweetened and delicious, and if there weren't any alcohol in this I would say that it's a very good coffee. The alcohol content was high but it's a cocktail you can't put down for too long. The waitress thought I didn't like it as it seemed untouched, but believe me, I really wish I could finish it, sip by sip, however I wouldn't want to make Clay drunk by offering him my milk after, so I had to let it go. Hubby had to drive as well so it was a really good cocktail wasted!

The Smoothie of the Day impressed me as well. I really didn't expect much from the Smoothie, as we had strawberries and banana smoothie all the time, although I never liked the strawberry and banana ratio in them. The outcome is strong and weird. But Frankie & Benny's have found the perfect recipe for a Strawberry and Banana Smoothie! I really have no idea how they did it, but it was delicious! None of that sourness, oxidised banana taste, just lovely strawberry and fresh banana flavour. Perhaps it's not real fruit as real fruit does carry that sourness, but I don't care, it was delicious and I who don't really like Smoothie could have easily finished it all up by myself!

Not from the cocktail menu was hubby's coke floatie, which arrived looking like it was about to explode. The vanilla ice cream lava was yummy, and the coke was goood!


Frankie 7 Benny's, Frankie & Benny's Cocktails, Cocktails














Frankie 7 Benny's, Frankie & Benny's Cocktails, Cocktails














Frankie 7 Benny's, Frankie & Benny's Cocktails, Cocktails
















We were a bit greedy (and our tummies paid for it afterwards) and ordered an additional starter to share. I wasn't very keen in their barbecue sauce, and the chicken wings were smothered in them. But thankfully the what seemed to be honey and mustard dipping sauce was absolutely delicious and balanced out the sourness from the barbecue sauce. 

The calamari was a bit too salty, with Grana Padano sprinkled on top too. But it went really really well with the Neapolitan dip. Again, spot on with the compatible flavours of the dips with the dishes! Abby has a thing for Calamaris and I had to stop her again (happened before) before she ate everything up by herself! Good to see her enjoying them, though manners still had to be taught.

The Mozzarella and Tomato Salad is the kind of dish where you have to put a bit of everything in the same bite before the dish will work wonders to your tastebuds. On their own, the mozzarella and tomatoes were a bit bland, but they were amazing eaten with the garlic dough balls and green olives. I added a bit of Neapolitan sauce from the Calamari to the rocket salad, and they worked very well too.


Frankie 7 Benny's, Frankie & Benny's Cocktails, Cocktails
  










Please excuse me for choosing the boring steak and mixed grill again. We love our meat and we haven't had them for ages *curse kitchen hood again*! We did notice that one of their most popular dish was the Meatballs Spaghetti. It did reminded me a bit of Lady and the Tramp, very old time New York like. And their portion was massive with a big plate of spaghetti and five giant meatballs! I was really tempted to order it, but I had doubts I can finish their spaghetti.

Their 28 day aged steaks were really tempting. The rib eye was delicious, although it was half medium well and half medium rare. There were plenty of juicy grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, and even some rocket salad on the side to make the meal a bit more balanced. I was absolutely stuffed but it was difficult not to pick on the yummy crispy house fries.

Hubby wasn't too keen in his mixed grill platter, probably because he was expecting something else hehe. The barbecue sauce was again a bit too overpowering on the chicken, but he was happy with the steak. We both think that the mixed grill platter was a bit overpriced for what's included, and you are most likely paying for the sirloin steak than the other meat.


Frankie 7 Benny's, Frankie & Benny's Cocktails, Cocktails












I was so caught up with our starters I've completely forgotten to take pictures of the children meals. They have split their children menus to Kids and Juniors, which made lots of sense as the amount they eat is so different. But because I thought that their kids meals are much smaller for younger kids, not realising that they've introduced Juniors menu for young adults (mid to late teens I guess), we ordered two kids meals instead of one that Abby and Clay could have easily shared. 

We ordered a Spaghetti Bolognese for Abby and Chicken Penne Pasta with Cream Cheese sauce for Clay. There wasn't much meat in their meaty bolognese sauce to be honest and at one point I was wondering whether it was actually a vegetarian dish. It's not that it wasn't nice, but the lack amount of sauce and meat confused me a bit. Both children preferred the chicken pasta, which has a good amount of grilled chicken pieces in it, and the sauce was delicious. Both dishes weren't overly salty so are very children friendly.

I like it that there is plenty of choices for the children, especially in the Juniors menu. Their meals came with a free drink and dessert, which also have plenty to choose from, so kids in Frankie & Benny's are spoiled really!


Frankie 7 Benny's, Frankie & Benny's Cocktails, Cocktails




















Overall we enjoyed our dining experience and their new range of cocktails very much. It's very family oriented and cheerful, with plenty of birthday celebration going on. We loved their food, especially the way their dips enhanced the flavours of the dish instead of just being there for the sake of being there. There is plenty of choices even for children, and you can tell their restaurant is popular by the busy night. Some might complain about slow service (it wasn't bad at all for us but a table next to us seem to be in a rush) as they are really that busy, so try to give yourself a bit more time there if you have plans afterwards. Service was lovely and we felt looked after.

Their cocktails are fantastic and there is no need for me to stick to their non alcoholic drinks. It felt safe, for me at least, to know that I have cocktail choices that I can finish without worrying to get Clay drunk with my milk. If you are unsure, check with the waiters which ones are milder, or I'm sure you can always ask them to half the shots for your cocktail.

We'll certainly come back again, and next time I'll be trying their popular F&B marked dishes. Their Strawberry Margarita and Woo Woo cocktails are on my to try list too!


Disclosure: We were given 2 complimentary two-course meals and 4 cocktails to try and review; all opinions are honest and my own