T.G.I. Friday’s opens its first CBD restaurant in Melbourne Central. Elizabeth Yick joins the queue to review the latest offering from this all-American diner.
T.G.I. Friday’s new location in Melbourne Central appears just in time for the peak of Melbourne’s growing obsession with gourmet fast-food – think Merrywell, Huxtaburger, The Bottom End, Mad Mex, Dog Nation and Snag Stand, just to name a few.
But unlike those aforementioned, T.G.I. Friday’s is no fuss, no frills and goes right back to the root of American-dining – calorie-laden deliciousness in gigantic servings.
With five, soon to be six, other restaurants in Victoria, T.G.I Friday’s is certainly looking to attract those hankering for the American-diner experience.
As for the food, the appetisers including the Southwest Potato Twisters (golden spirals of fried potato with spicy queso, Montery Jack cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream and coriander) and the Buffalo Wings are must tries.
For those more adventurous, go for the Fried Mac and Cheese, which is basically cubes of fried cheesy pasta served with marinara sauce.
But do save some room in your stomach for the mains, as the Jack Daniel’s Grill Menu is essential for any T.G.I. Fridays visit. As far as popular menu items go, you cannot go past the Glazed Ribs or the New York Strip with Shrimp
For the less carnivorous, there are a number of pastas, salads, as well as the old favourite of Chicken Fingers (think battered chicken tenders) and the very satisfying Chargrilled Chicken and Beef Sizzlin’ Fajita Tower.
If there is still room, T.G.I. Friday’s offers a dessert menu that is beyond decadent. Word on the street is the Friday’s Outrageous is to die for. However, it’s best shared with a friend (or three) as the dessert is extremely rich and tends to become sickening after a while. Other recommendations include the Blondie Fudge Crunch and the cute little Chocolate and Mocha Mud Pie Pods.
While it’s no gastronomy heaven – the burgers are not juicy patties of Angus beef encased in fluffy brioche heaven, nor are the fries aromatic crunchy golden fingers served with spiced aioli, and the ribs no Hurricane equivalent – what T.G.I. Fridays does dish up is true basic American diner fare.
Meals at the joint don’t come cheap either, and perhaps a disappointing 25 per cent approval-rating on Urbanspoon may be a reflection on the high quality food-obsessed Melburnians would demand in exchange for a relatively hefty price tag.
That said, seeing the portions are so large, a single serve could easily feed two people with modest appetites. There’s also a good value lunch menu, where a selection from the main menu is offered at a discounted special price (ranging from $9.95 to $15.95), and includes a complimentary drink.
Despite a rather lengthy wait for the food, which can be understandable for a branch still in its operational infancy, you certainly can’t fault the excellent service provided by staff who are friendly and eager to attend to the needs of the customers.
All in all, it remains a great spot for friends to meet up for an afternoon drink, or perhaps for a bit of a snack before or after the movies.