Recently we were approached to review Frankie & Benny's - the restaurant chain. I immediately said yes as who's going to say no to a free meal??! We've had our voucher for over 6 week s now and we still hadn't made it there, for all sorts of reasons, me being back at work, illness etc. So finally we thought today is the day, we CANNOT be bothered to cook and tidy up afterwards, lets eat out!
After Isla's ballet lesson we set off to our local Frankie and Benny's in Croydon. I've been there before but not for a very long time as it's situated in an out of town retail park next door to a cinema, making it a great place to eat prior to the flicks or after you've done a bit of shopping. I was kind of looking forward to it and I kind of wasn't. The reason I wasn't is that meals out at the moment can be really hit and miss, Isla messes about a lot during meals, picking and playing around with her food, hardly consuming a morsel and Noah, well he's a baby and he can kick off at the drop of a hat. Both of these things happened but to be honest, I think the fact I wasn't cooking and cleaning up outweighed it.
So what happened?
We were shown to a table in a very calm and quiet restaurant - it was about 4.30pm, so our usual time for a family meal out given that bedtime is usually about 7 for the kids. Our waiter straight away gave the kids their little goodie bag with a coloured pencil and some colouring bits in it. He very quickly asked us for our drinks order and was on the ball about bringing a container with some hot water in it to warm Noah's food.
We looked at the menu and I did feel a bit overwhelmed, there is so much choice and in my honest opinion I don't like this. It makes me feel nervous that the kitchen is too stretched and how can it possibly get all those dishes right. I personally always like a smaller menu. When faced with this kind of menu I go to my default selection - a burger. I chose a Bacon Cheese burger with a side of coleslaw. I was impressed with the children's menu, it had lots of things that Isla would eat (Spag Bol, Fish Fingers) and she went for the Chicken Strip and fries. The OH copied me and had a Bacon Cheese Burger with a side of Spicy Onion Rings.
While we waited for our food Isla did her best to guzzle her apple juice as fast as she could so that she wouldn't have room for her dinner. I fed Noah his dinner and once it was finished he went on to demolish lots of snacks. We also had a great 'fart' moment, where Isla did a special 'parp' and then proceeded to go on to ask "Daddy didn't you get to the toilet in time?" Love her.
The food arrived and all was fine until I realised that I had a crispy bread crumbed chicken under my burger bun. I also saw the teeny tiny pot of Coleslaw on the side and thought, "Really? £2.55?" I let the waiter know that mine was wrong, he was fine about it, he'd misheard me. I got a replacement about 10 minutes later. Sorted. Well apart from the fact that it wasn't until we'd finished that I realised I didn't even get the teeny tiny pot of Coleslaw with my replacement burger. The OH felt that the food wasn't hot enough, I'd agree with this. He also said his Onion Rings, although nice, were just not spicy. Regardless of any of this, we ate it all (well apart from Isla who never eats the whole of anything, unless it's chocolate, ice cream.....).
The OH fancied a dessert and I think Isla thinks that every restaurant meal must be finished off with an Ice cream, so we ordered a Yankee Doodle, which the waiter wisely advised us we could easily all share - it was enormous, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream with a massive topping of whipped cream! While the OH and Isla made their way through that I had to take Noah for a little walk round the restaurant because he was getting narky. He cheered up on sight of the balloons and the manager gave him one to play with which was great (Isla soon snaffled it though).
The bill came to around £44 (sorry I wasn't on the ball enough to remember it exactly!) and I think I have mixed feelings about whether it was good value. Frankie and Benny's is great for families, there is no question about that and I liked that I didn't feel frowned upon for having noisy kids or kids that felt like having a bit of a lay down half way through dinner. This mistake over my order could have been made anywhere and it was rectified quickly and without drama. I do think our burgers and chips were slightly over-priced for what they are, oh and I'm pretty sure the ketchup in the Heinz bottles wasn't actually Heinz.... The kids menu is fabulous and priced well. All in all if I was to give it a mark out of 10 I'd say a 7, which isn't bad! Thanks Frankie and Benny's for saving me cooking and washing up after another exhausting day as a working mum of 2.
We were given a £50 voucher to spend at Frankie in Benny's in exchange for a totally honest review