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Frankie & Benny's children's meal

Price: £3.95 (service not included).

Age restriction: Available for children up to the age of 11.

  • Main course. Options available include: Margherita pizza, pasta, jacket potato or sausage and mash.
  • Small bowl of vegetables or side salad (without dressing or onion).
  • Dessert. (Ice-cream, fruit salad or banana & custard.)
  • Unlimited soft drinks (including milk!).
A Junior Meal is also available for £6.25 with similar contents but larger portions and a more grown up selection of main courses.

The full menus are available online, complete with pictures.

Comments: I've been to plenty of restaurants where the kid's menu has pretty much been a choice between burger, sausage or chicken nuggets, all with chips and beans, and the waiter has sighed deeply when I've tried requesting three glasses of milk. I've felt tolerated rather than welcomed.

I was thus very pleased when we wandered into Franky & Benny's at the weekend and got the impression that they're actively trying to attract families with young children. The kid's meals have plenty of healthy options and the food is presented in such a way that children will actually eat it. For instance, the fruit salad was simply some large bits of chopped up fruit without sauce or slime. The portions were also remarkably large - the pizzas were thin but the size of an adult plate.

Each of our kids was given a fun pack containing an activity book, a magnetic jigsaw and an eleven-in-one crayon where different colours can be cycled through by pulling out the current tip and shoving it in the other end to propel the next colour into place. The crayons alone kept them busy until the food arrived.

The service was good - I didn't even have to ask for straws. The design of the restaurant itself wasn't great, however. The walls were decorated drably with old photos. The kitchen was open to view, which was all very well, but extremely noisy.

As far as I was concerned, the adult food was tasty. I'm not much of a foodie, though. In my first term at university, everyone else in my hall of residence lost weight because they couldn't stomach the catering. I put on a stone. Still, everyone in our group at Frankie & Benny's enjoyed their meal, while the kids ate well and were kept entertained. This made me happy.

Conclusion: From now on, if I have the kids with me, my vote is going to be for Frankie & Benny's every time.

  • Exceptional value.
  • Excellent selection.
  • Relatively healthy.
  • Simple presentation.
  • Free refills.
  • It's like the whole concept was devised by someone with children or something freaky like that.
  • The high-chairs don't look fantastic.
  • Decor is dull.
  • Lots of background noise (but if your children have a tendency to scream embarrassingly, this might not be such a bad thing...)
Rating: 5/5.

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