T.G.I. Fridays For Foodies {Review}

My family were invited to T.G.I. Fridays to try out their current menu and some of the new menu items. We didn’t have plans for Mothering Sunday so it seemed as good a time as any for a family lunch. I have to admit that I didn’t have much of an opinion on T.G.I. Fridays before this lunch and I don’t think I’ve ever been to one. I do know, however, that I will be back.

I find it really hard to choose just one thing off the menu, so we chose a lot of things and shared it between all of us, and we overate like crazy. Between us we had probably enough for two meals. It was a little over indulgent, I’ll admit, but it was so very good!TGI Fridays Review

As an American brand serving ‘American’ food, I’ve always disregarded T.G.I. Fridays as expensive fast food. I could not have been more wrong.

(Much to my annoyance, I swapped bags as we were heading out the door, and left my camera at home! So I had to take photos with a phone I’d had for less than 24 hours! Sorry about that!) 

TGI Fridays NachosWe were welcomed with a smile, and led to our tables, where the waitstaff were friendly, professional and informative. They knew the menu well, and were able to make (spot – on!) recommendations throughout the meal. Because we were reviewing the meal they were very accommodating about customising the meals for us, so that we could try as many meals as possible, but Kelly, our server, said that ‘As long as the ingredients are in the building, we’ll always see what we can do!’ so that’s always positive!

Our first dish was a (customised) half Jack Daniel’s® Beef Chilli Double Layered Nachos and half Blackened Chicken Double Layered Nachos.  The beef chilli nachos were great, but the blackened chicken was phenomenal. I could not stop eating it, even though I knew there was plenty more food coming. Combined with generous lashings of sour cream, freshly made salsa and creamy avocado it was simply delicious. These are topped with chillis, but you can take them off and eat it without the spice. In addition to that T.G.I. Fridays make their own crispy flour tortilla chips, and they fantastic.TGi Fridays Pork

Next up was the Jack Daniel’s® BBQ Pork Belly smothered in Jack Daniel’s® glaze, toasted sesame seeds and chili flakes, served with fresh apple slaw. Because we were sharing with the kids, we didn’t have chili flakes on top. I make pork belly often, but I have to tell you, no one ever fights about the last piece of pork belly when I make it! Even my picky eater 3 year old was asking for more!

TGI Fridays SpicyThe Hot Wings were too hot for me. I had a brief taste of what was a very tender bit of chicken and practically drank the Blue Cheese sauce to stop the burn. I don’t do spicy! But, I did love the Blue Cheese sauce. It turns out though that they are replacing the Blue Cheese sauce with something even better – Blue Cheese Peppercorn Sauce. My partner doesn’t like Blue Cheese at all, so he thought the sauce was still too blue, but I was surprised by it. The peppercorn cuts right through the blue cheese, and while you have the cheesy taste, there’s the gentle warmth of the peppercorns in the back of your throat. I think it’s a fantastic addition to the new menu. Though I won’t be ordering the Hot Wings. Needless to say I didn’t try the new sauce coming out on the new menu – it’s three times hotter. Ouch!TGI Fridays Potato Skins

The Bacon Loaded Potato Skins were good, but not unusual from others. The BBQ Pulled Pork Loaded Potato Skins however, were amazing. Pulled pork, red onion, crispy potato skins. Drool. They were fantastic. I would cross the Solent (we had to take a ferry to Southampton) again, just for these. And the Pork Belly.

TGI Fridays ChickenAnother incredible dish was the Jack Daniel’s ® Sesame Chicken Strips. There’s a new sauce coming with these too. A Jack Daniels and Cola sauce. It is super smooth, super sweet but totally moreish. These sesame chicken strips were really good though. Crispy, crunchy on the outside, and soft and succulent on the inside. This is going to be a main meal option on the new menu. I think it’ll do well!

After all of this, we ordered our main meals.

TGI Fridays Big BurgerMy partner had the Warrior burger, a behemoth monster, consisting of two 7oz burgers piled high with Mozzarella dippers, Colby cheese, crispy bacon, American cheese, caramelized onions, and Fridays® mayo and served with onion rings. It was so big, he could only eat one half of it – I think without all the starters he’d have struggled enough, but with them – not a chance.

TGI Friday

I had a customised Steak, Rib and Shrimp Grill. Customised because I don’t eat shrimp, so they added salmon for me instead – though usually it would be chicken, but I really wanted to try the salmon with the glaze. The 6oz rump steak, half a rack of baby back pork ribs coated in Jack Daniel’s® glaze and Jack Daniel’s ® glazed salmon were too much for me. I couldn’t finish it, never mind even touch the basket of chips. The salmon was a little well done for my taste, but I have to say, that glaze on it just works. The ribs were melt-in-your-mouth and the steak was tender with a delicious bourbon peppercorn sauce.

This also came with a side of fresh seasonal veggies. I think they were steamed, since they still had vibrant colour, taste and shape – something that’s often lost in over boiling. I can’t say for certain though.

The children’s menu is quite different to your usual ‘family-restaurant’ menu. While they do still have usual ‘fish fingers’ and pasta, they also have less usual dishes for kids, like BBQ ribs and Chicken Wraps. To be honest, by this time the kids were very full.

But not too full for dessert.

The kids’s menu is pretty much the star of the show, where dessert comes in. Along with the usual suspects, there were two dishes we simply had to try: Fairground Sundae and Sweetshop Sundae.
TGI Fridays Sweetshop Sundae

The Fairground Sundae comes with real dairy ice cream, candy floss, popcorn and mini donuts and a chocolate (or strawberry) sauce. The Sweetshop comes with real dairy ice cream and a sweet shop bag of pick ‘n’ mix sweets and popping candy, served with a chocolate sauce.

TGI Fridays Fairground Sundae

I managed to squeeze a little bit of space for the Chocolate Fudge Fixation, with three layers of chocolate cake with rich chocolate & fudge filling. Oh, as I said that I started drooling a little. The Fudge filling is out of this world. My partner said it was the best dessert he’d ever eaten – and that’s saying something.

If we had been paying for our meal, it would have come to around £100, which is probably more than we’d spend on a regular lunch out, but then we did eat a lot more than we normally would too. I don’t know what other people spend on a meal, normally, but I think £25 a head on starters, mains, desserts and drinks – including smoothies, fruit shakes, a cocktail and regular sodas, isn’t too bad at all.

Normally, when I go to a restaurant, I order something and spend the whole meal wishing I’d ordered what someone else at the table did. Or I leave feeling like I could have probably made the same dish better for less. I can’t say the same for our lunch at T.G.I Fridays. Honestly – with the exception of something that was too spicy for me, there wasn’t anything average or ‘ok’ about any of the food we had. The flavours were fresh, vibrant and delicious.

And when I got home, there were no dishes to wash! Bonus.

*This was a complimentary meal in exchange for a review. Opinions are true and our own. 

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