Just when you thought they couldn’t possibly squeeze anything else on to the Deepdale Retail Park along comes a major restaurant chain.
Already rammed on to this constricted town centre in the suburbs is a Pizza Hut, Nandos, KFC, McDonalds, Subway and other places I’ve not had cause to clock.
Now Preston has another Frankie and Benny’s (F&Bs) to add to its culinary offer and join the one well established at the Capitol Centre in Walton-le-Dale.
Is this a restaurant too far in Deepdale?
Well, judging from the meal we were served the other night and the quality of service, this Italian American themed joint should do well.
It’s worth making the point straight away that this place is probably not going to win an AA Rosette. It isn’t fine dining - but it makes no pretence at being so. But then again you don’t want it to be, that’s not why you would want to come here.
But just as ‘proper’ restaurants can hit the culinary heights not possible here … they can be hit and miss. F&B may never be fine dining but it doesn’t really miss either. You know what you’re getting - it’s quick, great if you’ve got children, the portions are large and perfectly edible and it’s not expensive. Lovely jubbley.
So... on to our night.
We received a friendly greeting on arrival and shown to a booth. The interior is smart, the music is loud and there are lots of black and white photos of slightly overweight Americans.
There are many deals on offer here, including a £9.95 for two courses set menu and a £24.95 family feast.
There are some great deals if you have children. For £4.25 or £7.75 you can choose from a main course, desert and refillable drink.
My younger daughter chose the Missy’s Margherita. You can’t go wrong sometimes with slices of pizza, chips and some ketchup to keep you children contented.
My elder daughter went for the Spaghetti Bolognese Platter. She tucked in straight away. The small portion she gave me tasted nice, albeit underseasoned, and the pasta wasn’t overcooked. She asked for some Parmesan, which was brought swiftly to the table. The baked bean side dish option however didn’t work and seemed totally out of place.
The unlimited chocolate milkshake worked perfectly to a create a happy atmosphere in our booth.
As we saved some money on the children’s food we decided to have some starters.
To start my wife had that 1970s favourite prawn cocktail (£6.25). The prawns were large and there were plenty in the sauce.
She asked for her main course American Hot pizza (£10.95) to be extra hot. It wasn’t that spicy as it turned out and the base wasn’t crisp. But it was still tasty enough and eaten without complaint.
I chose the Meatballs Italiano (£5.95) for my starter. The chili in the Neapolitan sauce worked well and the rosemary bread was delicious.
My main course, BBQ chicken and ribs (£16.45) was a bit overpriced. It consisted of half a roasted chicken, half a rack of ribs, some corn on the cob and fries. The ‘signature’ BBQ sauce was too sweet for my tastes but the chips were nice and overall I thought it was delicious.
On the whole, it was probably like most of the food on offer. Not very healthy, a large portion and calorie laden.. but does that really matter? This is primarily a place for families and groups to relax and enjoy some comfort food. If you want to drink vegetable juice or munch on a vegan bean burger go somewhere else. If you want cordon bleu or gastro pub dishes created by an executive chef then there are places available not far away from here.
Last to arrive at the table were the deserts from the children’s menu.
They both chose Brownie Sundaes . The warm brownie worked well with the ice cream . They were eaten too quickly for me to dive a spoon in.
With two Diet Pepsis, the bill came to just over £56.