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TGI Friday's, the Trafford Centre

Simon Binns gets that Friday feeling on a Sunday

Written by . Published on March 23rd 2011.

TGI Friday's, the Trafford Centre

Love it or loathe it, the Trafford Centre is undeniably a huge draw.

You may choose to go there, or you may be dragged kicking and screaming, but when you’re there, and it’s time to eat, there’s not much that isn’t catered for.

Kids like balloons, dads like burgers, so we headed off to the red and white-striped razzmatazz of TGI Friday’s.

It was 5pm on a Sunday and the place was absolutely packed. It was a curious mix; your expected large family groups; gangs of excitable teenage girls on the non-alcoholic cocktails, and, bizarrely, skin-headed men necking pints of lager.

It’s an odd thing, watching people get slowly tipsy in a shopping centre; it’s an altered reality. We were here for food though, and if TGI’s is about one thing, it is this: portion size.

The three of us started by sharing a half-rack of ribs, which, as if to be the exception that proves the rule, looked like they’d been prised from the carcass of a sparrow, not a cow. They looked a bit sorry for themselves, but tasted pretty good, coated in a sweet barbecue sauce.

Before they arrived, Daisy was kept suitably busy (and quiet) with a goody bag that included pens, a colouring book, stickers and a little game. Ideal.

Then TGI’s ramped up the size. Daisy’s jumbo hot dog, cracking value at £2.99, was the length of her arm, and came with smiley potato faces and baked beans, all demolished within minutes.

The Jack Daniel’s Pepperjack Angus Burger £12.99) – you can’t avoid the TGI tie-up with the JD brand, it’s spread all the way through the telephone directory-esque menu – was big, with a fat onion ring and a rasher of bacon wedged in there for good measure.

It was good enough, but the minimum cooking level is medium, and I like a bit of pink in my burger. It’s not up to the standard of other well-known American franchise burger places, but it was decent enough.

The Chicken Finger BLT (£9.49) was tasty too; nice moist chicken and crisped up bacon, as requested, and the usual standard salad gubbins.

With both though, the amount of bread is a bit overwhelming. There’s masses of it. The fries were a bit limp too and the separate portion of onion rings looked like they’d been through the fryer more than once.

If I’m honest, I was stuffed, and should have stopped there, but I was compelled to see the desert menu, which is essentially massive chocolate things with ice cream.

Daisy tore through the dirt and worm pie (£1.79), a healthy mix of ice cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate sprinkles and two jelly worms.

Sarah made a valiant attempt at an enormous slab of chocolate fudge ‘fixation’ (£5.49), which arrived sat in a bathtub full of chocolate fudge sauce, and I was pleasantly surprised by a tasty Tennessee Toffee Pie (£4.99), which had a delicious crunchy biscuit base underneath toffee ice cream. It was the size of a portable TV from 1975.

So while the food is big, if not particularly clever, TGI Friday’s is good value, The bill was just short of £55 after a couple of drinks and the two grown-ups went a course too far. But feeding a child to the limit for a fiver is pretty good I’d say.

The staff were warm and friendly and made a fuss, and let Daisy pick a balloon on our way out.

None of us could eat for the rest of the evening and Daisy eventually stopped bouncing off the walls before her 7.30 bedtime.

There’s something for everyone here and if the kids are in tow and you can’t keep them quiet, you could do worse. Failing that, you can sit with the skinheads and drown your sorrows.

Rating: 13/20
Breakdown: 6/10 food
4/5 service
3/5 ambience
Address: TGI Fridays
The Trafford Centre The Great Hall0161 748 4135

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Richard Hector-JonesMarch 22nd 2011.

TGIs is another guilty pleasure.

All restaurants should have staff that wear hundreds of GIANT badges on their lapels / braces.

Also it should be mandatory that someone on the other side of a faux wooden divide is celebrating a birthday with uneven sparklers stuck in a banana with foam on it.

What's not to love?

By the way does that top picture really say, "TGI Fridays : In Hell"?

I do hope so...

1 Response: Reply To This...
David DillonSeptember 16th 2011.

"In Here Its Always Friday"

AgricolaMarch 22nd 2011.

I prefer the TGI Friday's in Purgatory. Or is that Prestwich? My lapels are always full of badges too - and I wear Paul Smith suits. It sets them off so

TGI EddyMarch 22nd 2011.

@ RHJ - Youve changed dude. :)

ConManMarch 24th 2011.

TGI - the Rebecca Black of restaurant chains.

David DillonSeptember 16th 2011.

Just to point out the ribs are Pork Ribs..... Not Beef ribs anyway.... no wonder they seemed small eh?!

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