On Sunday, my family and I were invited along to Frankie and Benny’s at The Fort Shopping Centre in order to review their latest children’s menu. As a family, we are already big fans of the Italian/American restaurant, finding them to be very family friendly with a great extensive menu, but I had never been to The Fort branch before. Needless to say, we had a wonderful time.
The children’s menu has been extended, with new options that include ‘build a burger’ and ‘wrap it up chicken’ options. The children’s menu is good in that it is divided into two separate sections, ‘kids’ and ‘juniors’ so that it caters for both younger and older children. Joe, at 6, still chooses from the younger version, but I like the idea that slightly older children can still eat at the reduced cost (£7.75), rather than having to choose from the adult menu.
We began with drinks and starters. Joe chose the ice cream milkshake in chocolate. It was very creamy and tasty (I know – I couldn’t resist trying it myself) and I liked that it was served in a plastic beaker rather than a glass. It was lunchtime so I resisted the alcohol and opted instead for a ‘mocktail’. The Amalfi Sunrise was beautifully refreshing, a mixture of mango, orange and lemon with a splash of grenadine and lots of ice. The mango came through strongly and was just delicious.
I chose a starter that I knew Joe would enjoy too. This was the garlic dough balls from the specials menu. This is a bowl full of tasty garlic dough balls served with a pot of garlic and parsley dip on the side. It was a very decent sized helping of dough balls that were cooked perfectly (I have had these in the past when they have been rather burnt.). I think that a little extra garlic butter would be good, but other than that, this was fine and Joe enjoyed them too.
Pete chose the Meatballs Italiano as his starter. This is an impressive dish with two large pork and beef meatballs covered in a delicious tomato, chilli and onion sauce. The meatballs are generous in size (about the size of a faggot) and serving them with ciabatta means that the lovely sauce can be mopped up too – no waste in this dish!
For our main meals we again looked to the specials menu (2 courses for £11.95 Sunday to Friday – menu here.) I chose a vegetarian option of Pasta Verde, and this was a lovely, big, rustic plate of food. It usually contains peas, but they happen to be one of my idea of food hell so I asked for them to be left out of my dish. I was really impressed when I was offered different options, and added onions instead. I really enjoyed what was a filling, substantial meal, and think this could also be a great option if served with chicken too. Pete tried the Pulled Pork pizza. Again this is a good sized dish, but due to the dry nature of the pork it may be better served with an accompaniment – barbecue dipping sauce maybe?
Joe chose to have the cheeseburger meal with chips and beans. I was impressed with how tasty the children’s options were, and the portion size was just right – in fact, Joe couldn’t quite finish – especially as he was leaving room for a new dessert he had spotted on the menu and was super excited about…
The dessert had quite frankly got me excited too. The Ice Cream candy shop consists of 2 scoops of ice cream and glass milk bottles of sweets, all served with a jug of chocolate sauce to pour. It comes on its own tray, and there is an old-fashioned paper bag to take home any sweets left over (as if!). There was also a packet of popping candy which caused sheer delight for Joe (and his dad). For just £1.95 this is an absolute bargain – a perfect dessert which is worth popping in for even if you don’t want a complete meal. It is Willie Wonka’s perfect pudding and Joe thought it was pretty near perfect too.
We had a lovely time at Frankie and Benny’s. The service was friendly and attentive, and the food was affordable and tasty. We will definitely be dropping by again soon – for Sweetie shop desserts of course!
*We were invited to sample the menus as part of the Fort Bloggers programme.