Unless you live under a rock, chances are you have heard of TGI Friday’s. It’s a classic in this country I feel, with many having had or been to a birthday there (you can’t escape the table topping, singing servers). Styled as an American restaurant focusing on casual dining, there are over 65 branches in the UK, dishing up burgers, ribs, cocktails, chicken and all the standard American grub you can think of.
Cheeseburger Deluxe - I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Although the burger was cooked well done (which normally means it will be a rock in a dry bun), this burger was succulent. It was a 7oz flame-grilled beef burger, so a bit thicker than many burgers you get elsewhere. It was flavoursome, and the brioche bun was near perfect. Slightly toasted, no crumble, no dryness. The cheese and mayo helped to add to the succulence and moistness of this burger. Fair play TGI, you did yourselves proud here.
The burger came with crispy fries, and they were good, but they weren’t spectacular. They were slightly too salty and got lukewarm very quickly, which is a shame. I prefer to eat my burger before my fries, but maybe this time around I should have done it the other way? No who am I kidding, I am not changing for anyone. A friend of mine had ‘Jack Daniel’s Sesame Chicken Strips’ and although I only had one, they were flavoursome and I might need to try these out next time I go.
TGI’s is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. I have had experiences in TGI’s whereby I felt like the Queen of the restaurant, waited on hand and foot and greeted by the friendliest person known to man. Other times, I’m left wondering why I even left the office to come here. Today was somewhere in the middle. The staff and hostess were friendly and polite, but we had a substantial wait for a table (roughly 20 mins) in what was mostly an empty restaurant, and we were placed on an empty table which had been waiting for us the entire time. The food took a while to come out too (maybe that’s why my chips weren’t very warm).
I might be slightly biased here, but I absolutely love the interior of TGI’s. Retro and nostalgic music memorabilia scattered on the walls, with a hint of American sport memorabilia thrown in, what a great mix. There is often a relaxed feel inside TGI’s, with staff dressed in classic American dress and music on the radio, and the majority of people generally in a feel good mood. Sadly no birthdays on this visit, so there was no sin
TGI offer routine pricing for a restaurant, with their burger meal costing £10.49, which considering you get chips thrown in (I’ve noticed a lot of placed don’t do this now), it’s a good price. If you go at lunch Monday to Thursday, you can get two courses from £9.99 which significantly brings the cost down and gives you extra food, but sadly I went on a Friday so I missed out on this.
I am a huge fan of Byron Burger, having visited their Oxford branch a while back (sadly I had not started blogging at this point). However, when a friend and I went to the o2 Arena for a rock concert, I snapped up the chance to try out Byron again. Having begun around 2007, there are now over 50 branches, with a handful planned to open up this year. “Fresh cuts, always medium and squishy buns”, Byron has it there for you on a plate. Literally.
Double Bacon Cheese – Normally I don’t go for doubles, as the singles fill a hole perfectly and it saves on using cutlery (because if you use a knife and fork with a burger, you are cheating and don’t deserve to eat a burger). Oh and because my mouth isn’t quite big enough for it, but tonight I fancied a treat. I’d seen a double go past me and I had to try it. And it was bloody brilliant. Their website does not lie. The patties were the right balance of juicy and flavoursome, and the bun accompanied them brilliantly. The cheese was oozing with flavour and it left a gorgeous taste in my mouth. What a top burger. It’s hard to beat a Byron.
Going for a double, I didn’t fancy too much in the way of sides, especially with a concert coming up. Instead I went for a cider and shared chips with my friend. I apologise for the lack of food being discussed here. I can tell you now the chips are great, you can’t go wrong. They’re the perfect balance between skinny and fat, with the right amount of salt and flavour. On the drinks menu, I fancied something other than water, so I went for a Thatchers Old Rascal cider. It was crisp, cold and a perfect accompaniment to the burger.
It was fairly early on in the evening, so it wasn’t too busy, but it wasn’t empty either. We had our choice of where to sit, and the staff were very attentive from the off. The ordering process was swift and the food arrived in good time. You can’t fault the service, but I rarely find Byron lacking on service so nothing new here.
Even though this is located within the o2, it’s still got the personality of your typical Byron. The interior is smartly decorated with a relaxed vibe. Stylish wooden flooring, neon signs and spacious seating, it’s definitely up there with one of the nicer restaurants I have been to. Being in the o2, the majority of people who end up going here will probably be off to a concert or a show, so the people who surround you may differ per night, but tonight, this was no issue and everyone seemed happy to be here.
Considering you’re in the o2, and that normally means an extortionate mark up on food and services, I was pleasantly surprised when the bill came. For the service, food and location, the price is very fair if not competitive. Roughly £15 for a double burger and a cider, you can’t complain with that can you? I don’t remember how prices faired compared to the Oxford branch, but I don’t remember them being any different, so it’s good to see Byron keeping consistent pricing.
ALL THE BURGER YOU COULD NEED.