TGI Fridays was a childhood classic for many birthday parties. But I never went there, even though many people told me that I had missed something.
Fridays – officially known as TGI Friday’s since rebranding – has launched a brand new restaurant in Chelmsford, Essex, with the popular restaurant chain making some very bold claims. The new restaurant is located on Springfield Road, near the main street and close to venues such as Slug and Lettuce and Popworld.
It is Friday’s 85th restaurant in the UK and the third in Essex after Festival Leisure Park in Basildon and Lakeside Shopping Center in Thurrock. The huge restaurant has enough seating for over 250 seats indoors, with an additional 26 seats available outside in its alfresco dining section, making it one of the largest in the restaurant’s repertoire. Friday.
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The brand celebrates its Manhattan bar “roots” by making the bar the heart of the restaurant, where patrons can watch all the action and watch its expert bartenders whip up cocktails with personality and style. Fridays think the new look store could become the home of cocktails in Chelmsford – and I think they might be right.
I went to try some of their cocktails as part of their bold claim, as well as taste some of the dishes they offered. The chain is known for its American-style dishes such as burgers, ribs, chicken dishes, nachos and of course, its wide variety of cocktails.
Some of the restaurant’s signature dishes include Sesame Chicken Strips, Quality Assured Steaks, the new plant-based range – including Meatless Friday Sesame Strips – and cocktails, including the Long Iced Tea range. Island, which was a Friday invention. Tried some of their signature dishes and cocktails – and was very impressed.
When we arrived in Chelmsford you couldn’t mistake Fridays for any other place. Their signature red and white stripes were across the entire facade of the building, along with their renamed Fridays logo.
We were greeted at the front of the restaurant by very friendly staff, who showed us to our tables and asked if we wanted a drink. Of course we had to try some of their famous cocktails – it would be rude not to.
I ordered a classic pornstar martini, while my plus one opted for a strawberry daiquiri. When it arrived we were very impressed with the presentation, my cocktail arriving in the traditional way with a side of prosecco and half a passion fruit in the drink.
Meanwhile, the daiquiri looked fabulous, a dark red color with a tiny strawberry on top – it was almost like we were on vacation having dinner at a fancy restaurant. Taste-wise, the cocktails were to die for.
In my opinion these are the best cocktails I have ever tasted – strong where you can definitely taste the alcohol but not too strong so it is overwhelming. On the menu there are even cocktails for designated drivers or t-totals, with a range of low or no alcohol options – perfect for everyone.
Shortly after sipping our cocktails, we were asked what we wanted for our entrees. Normally we’re not people who go for appetizers or desserts, but in the name of journalism, we went ahead and placed our orders.
I chose a very popular option for many people – mozzarella ladles. It’s something I’ve never had, but I knew it was a favorite starter for people all over the country, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
When they arrived they looked divine, perfectly crispy with two dips to choose from. Four ladles arrived, so they would be perfect to share around the table.
The dips were marinara sauce and basil aioli – but the latter tasted like mayonnaise to me. Either way, they were delicious, with the stringy, perfectly melted mozzarella cheese.
My plus one opted for the boneless hot wings with celery sticks and blue cheese dip. I was told they were spicy on their own, but the dip and celery cooled it down, making it a perfect starter for spice lovers.
As we settled in, live music started playing. I was convinced he knew what was on my playlist, like every song I stamped on and sang. Having a live singer – especially one so good – was the perfect complement to the meal
Moving on to the main course, we both ordered a steak. I’m VERY picky about meat and how it’s cooked, especially steak.
After being scarred for life on a family vacation abroad after being given a steak that was practically still mooing, I still haven’t recovered to this day. So it’s safe to say that when dining out, steak isn’t normally my first option.
However, I wanted to try and put my fears aside. I’m so glad I decided to step out of my comfort zone as this was one of the best meals I’ve had.
I opted for mine to be well done (due to the very undercooked cow I had previously on vacation). It was perfectly cooked, with tender and delicious meat.
The glaze I chose was the ‘legendary glaze’, which looked a bit like BBQ sauce, which was perfect for the meal. The steak also came with fries, grilled beef tomatoes and a side salad, which went perfectly with the steak – but there was just so much.
The salad was also huge and I chose the honey mustard and Pico de Gallo dressing. To me it tasted a bit like burger sauce and was a bit overwhelming as I personally prefer my salads plain – but you didn’t have to choose a dressing, I only decided to do this to see what it was for looked like.
Meanwhile, the fries were crispy to perfection – soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Without doubt, I would say that these fries were also the best I have tasted. Although I was a little disappointed that they were a little lukewarm so I would have preferred them to be piping hot, but that wasn’t the end of the world and it certainly didn’t take away the flavor.
After our main courses we struggled, but we also sampled the desserts on offer. I chose the brownies, while my plus one chose the Sunday s’mores.
When our puddings arrived I was shocked. They were huge. I would say it was more about desserts to share than an individual.
I was expecting a brownie triangle, but instead I got four, with hot fudge, real dairy ice cream, and chocolate and caramel sauces. It’s safe to say that I couldn’t finish it all.
In my opinion, one of the brownies would have sufficed, but if you are sharing with someone, this dessert would be perfect. Meanwhile, Sunday s’mores featured Biscoff cookie pieces, crumbled chocolate flakes and caramelized Biscoff sauce between layers of dairy ice cream with a toasted mallow topping. Again, it was huge, and something that would be best shared with someone.
Overall I was extremely impressed with the options on Friday, as well as the fantastic staff who made the meal special for us. I would highly recommend visiting the restaurant for a delicious meal.
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