I have a bit of a ‘thing’
against about shopping malls and ‘entertainment’ centres; those drive up places created to house cinemas, bowling alleys and restaurant chains. I avoid them. For me, they ‘compel’ you to have a ‘good time’ and that puts me off. I’ve never actually eaten at a Frankie and Bennys until last weekend. Initially, I tried to book at our local ‘Centertainment’ but the restaurant was full so instead we booked the Meadowhall Frankie and Bennys
in Sheffield. Meadowhall is an enormous out-of-town shopping mall. The Oasis area of the mall houses a lot of restaurants and food outlets, including Frankie and Bennys, and a cinema. On a Friday evening it is bright and buzzing. If your aged 4, 9 and 6 this is very exciting. As adult I was slightly more reserved.
Despite being warned on the phone that Friday’s are busy and that we may have to wait a few minutes even for a booked table (frankly, I admired the honesty) we were shown straight to our table.
Frankie and Bennys is a massive chain, the formula is American/Italian diner, there is air of nostalgia; black and white classic photos on the wall, booth style seating and tunes from the 50’s and 60’s piped over the top. The food reflects this, familiar dishes; pizza, burger, salads.
For children there are two menus, junior and kids both very reasonably priced. My son has this annoying habit of not eating restaurant food, which makes me reluctant to take him out but at a very reasonable £3.95 for main, dessert and a great touch – refillable drinks, I think that’s worth the gamble.
Usually, the children’s menu is one additional menu. At Frankie and Bennys the distinction between juniors and kids menus is a great idea. Larger portions and a slightly more diverse menu gives older children in my view a good restaurant experience. Rather than lumping all children together and providing the limited children’s dishes it says; ‘we’ve thought about children of different ages and we’ve given you extra choice’. It a good welcoming message. So what did the children I was with choose? The older two choose Fish, chips and beans from the juniors menu. Both children enjoyed the food and cleared their plates, a couple of drinks refills and dessert ice creams all round (but they could have had fruit salad) excellent value at £7.55. My son’s choice was hamburger and chips and despite a previous restaurant track record of enthusiasm followed by rejection, this time he tried everything on his plate and declared it; “Good!”
From the specials menu, I had BBQ Prawns with a sweet chilli salad and my friend had Cajun chicken calazone, we both followed with desserts, she had crumble and I had waffles and ice cream, which was sticky, sweet and indulgent – perfect ‘treat’ pudding. The food was good, the portion generous and at £10.95 for two courses – great value. My only critique would be that, although there is a choice of 13 dishes on the specials menu, only one was vegetarian. To accompany I recommend a glass of the house merlot.
We all really enjoyed Frankie and Bennys the atmosphere is fun and bustling. It didn’t matter that the children repeatedly swapped places and at one point were dancing in the aisle. It is very child friendly and not the sort of place where children are expected to sit nicely and quietly, therefore they had a ball. As parents that made for a relaxing evening. The service was excellent and Liam our waiter was very friendly and helpful.
Frankie and Bennys I am a convert.
I received a £50 voucher to review Frankie and Bennys. The opinions and words expressed are all my own.