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Family time with Frankie & Benny

Famed for its family-friendly atmosphere and extensive American-Italian menu, my husband and I decided to put both aspects to the test for a weekend lunch with our two-year-old.

Finding something for our picky toddler from the children’s menu was no problem at all. For £4.95 youngsters have the choice of a main meal from a long list in section a, two sides from section b (including options such as baked beans, corn on the cob and sweet potato fries), a dessert and a drink. The number of meal combinations is almost endless.

We thought we were on to a winner with grilled chicken skewers, mashed potato and baked beans with strawberry milk (and brownie for afters). Alas, our tot was far more interested in sampling our starters instead.

frankie benny (5272706)
frankie benny (5272706)

It turns out bruschetta Napoli is not a hit with a two-year-old, however cheeseburger dough balls are.

My husband lost a good portion of his aforementioned cheeseburger dough balls to our tot, but given his verdict that was not necessarily a bad thing: “I wouldn’t have them again,” he said, adding that the filling – described as beef, cheese and pickles – wasn’t to his taste, but that the burger dipping sauce was.

The bruschetta Napoli, however, was delicious from this grown-up’s point of view – a really light toasted ciabatta loaded with fresh, juicy tomatoes, red onion, basil and pesto.

For main course I shied away from my typical choice of burger or pizza, instead selecting a king prawn risotto.

So often risotto can be rich and overwhelming, but this dish was creamy yet light, with really juicy prawns, peas and a courgette and prosecco sauce.

My other half went for a whole rack of smoky barbecue ribs, praising the sauce and succulent meat. It came served with a waistline-busting portion of chips, corn on the cob and bowl of coleslaw – however the kitchen missed his ordered cheese and bacon fries upgrade, along with making the main courses prematurely so they arrived seconds after our starters.

By this time the grown-ups in the party were rather full and our young companion was visibly (and vocally) impatient for her afternoon nap. We asked if we could take her chocolate brownie dessert home and settled the bill in the meantime. Unfortunately, we then forgot about the brownie and managed to leave without it, but I imagine our cake-loving daughter would have enjoyed it.

All in all, aside from a couple of mix-ups in the kitchen, Frankie and Benny’s fared pretty well at catering for us all.

Camille Berriman

Frankie and Benny’s, Parkway, Bury St Edmunds

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