Frankie and Benny’s Black Pepper Mayo Burger

Review of Frankie & Benny’s F&B Black Pepper Mayo Burger


What they say:

Our best burger yet! A Cajun spiced burger with crispy grilled bacon, gem lettuce, tomato, red onion and dill pickle, topped with our secret black pepper mayo sauce.

Price: £11.75.

Calories: Unknown.

As we close in on yet another record-breaking month for page views on Burger Lad®, our Principal Burger Critic (PBC) “Andrew the Review Machine” was undercover at Frankie & Benny’s to check out the Black Pepper Mayo Burger.

So, another review… another week, come on in and take a (burger) peek…

I’ve always liked Frankie & Benny’s. It’s probably my favourite of the chains. I’m not sure if the background story of two Italian immigrants to the US is actually true. Probably not, but who cares.

The menu has evolved over the past decade or so at a comfortable pace, so it always remains familiar.

The decor of black and white photos and music from the era of Del Shannon and the Big Bopper, as well as the Italian lessons in the toilets, have all remained constant.

I suppose if something is 1950s themed, it doesn’t date in the same way and that’s a good thing. Like Happy Days.

Happy Days indeed. I’ve been here many times with the family. It is great for kids. Good choice on the menu, balloons, crayons, bench seating.

But, this is Burger Lad® and I’m here for a burger. It’s the weekend, so I don’t get the £6.95 lunch menu. But that’s OK – the choice of burgers on the main menu is more comprehensive. I count eight.

On the topic of menus, they have a lot. There are times here with the kids when the table has been buried under main menus, specials menus, lunch menus, children’s menus, wine menus, cocktail menus, dessert menus as well as all the drawing and colouring paraphernalia. Now, where is my fork?

I digress. I ordered the Black Pepper Mayo burger, which has a little “F&B” logo beside it, denoting its status as a favourite. Let’s see if it’s one of mine too.

It’s their “best burger yet” apparently, so it sounds promising. Cajun spices, bacon, lettuce, red onion, pickle. Oh, and tomato too. And topped with a special black pepper mayo. It all sounds rather lovely. Except the tomato. That’ll be coming out.

I wasn’t asked how I’d like it cooked, but here I wasn’t expecting to be.

Frankie and Benny’s Black Pepper Mayo Burger
F&B Black Pepper Mayo Burger…

As I wait, I watch the chef at work. The kitchen is open to the public area, which is nice, as he goes about his work, I can’t help doing an impression of the Muppets Swedish Chef inside my head. Frightfully unfair and I apologise.

I’ve rarely had drinks at a Frankie and Benny’s. They tend to be on retail parks, out of town malls, beside cinemas and the like. Places that require a car. It’s a shame. They’ve got quite an appealing selection of beers, wines and cocktails actually.

As I sip my diet Pepsi, I wonder how both my grandfathers managed without driving licences.

Burgers were obviously the food of the day. When mine came out, there were six others lined up on the counter. Not all mine, I hasten to add.

Fries first and they were good. Hot and crispy. No skin that I could see, and needed a bit of pepper to inject some flavour though. There was a little pot of sweet red stuff to dip them into.

The burger was served with its top hanging off. That let me see the special mayo with its very obvious peppercorns throughout, the red onion pieces, lettuce poking out to say hello – all very lovely and fresh, and a good thick chunk of beef.

Getting the tomato out without losing too much of the mayo was like whipping a tablecloth out from under grandma’s best crockery. And what a massive slice of tomato it was – diameter about the same as the bun.

Frankie and Benny’s Black Pepper Mayo Burger
OFFICIAL: Tomato most removed burger ingredient…

The first bite told me there was no mistaking that this was a black pepper burger. That was the strongest flavour, and that’s a good thing, although throughout the meal I just didn’t notice the Cajun spices.

I don’t always like bacon on a burger. Sometimes I find it fighting with the beef for space on the taste buds, but in this case it was a good team – the bacon and red onion creating a great crispy bit in the middle of the bite.

Frankie and Benny’s Black Pepper Mayo Burger
Our PBC has got the taste for burgers and reviews…

I added a few drops of hot sauce then added a few more. It was a Saturday and I was feeling daring. That set it off perfectly.

If I had to pick a weakest link in the burger team, it’d be the bun. Nothing particularly wrong with it, but it just didn’t shout soft in the middle, toasty on the outside, like I prefer. It was certainly toasted and had the grill lines to prove it. The rest of it just sort of disappeared as I picked it all up. Serviceable but not outstanding.

I finish it off and felt it necessary to point out that writing these reviews is much harder than it looks.

You have to juggle the thoughts, commit them to paper and try not to look like you’re reviewing stuff, all while enjoying the burger before it gets cold.

And in Burger Lad’s case, there’s often the video to think about, as well as selecting the right sunglasses for the job. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

So, I was about to leave and the voice inside my head said “just a quick look at the dessert menu”. Well, that’s not dissimilar to “just five more minutes in bed” or “just one more episode of Jack Bauer” and soon enough I was sitting looking at a banana cheesecake.

Frankie and Benny’s Black Pepper Mayo Burger
Frankie & Benny’s…

I wasn’t going to, honest, particularly as I was going home to tuck into a box of Staropramen for the rest of the day, but I’m weak.

Well, banana, lettuce, red onions. That’s 3 of my 5 a day. And I did touch the tomato, so that probably counts too, so it’s all fine.

Frankie and Benny’s, I salute you.

We can’t thank our PBC enough for yet another cracking review! This week BLHQ received an invitation to a burger launch party in Bristol and a free lunch in London but unfortunately due to other commitments we were unable to attend either.

Burger Lad®

3 thoughts on “Frankie and Benny’s Black Pepper Mayo Burger

  • 27/04/2014 at 5:48 pm

    There was a time when Frankie and Benny's burgers were fine. Decent, chain restaurant burgers, nothing to get excited over, satisfactory. Now, they are, by quite a long way, the worst burgers I have ever tasted. The patty does not look like beef, does not have the taste of beef and has the consistency of nothing that I have ever eaten or that anyone should ever eat. Whether they are beef or not is impossible to tell. What is certain is that you will always regret ordering them.

  • 10/06/2014 at 7:30 pm

    I agree with the reviewer of 27th April 2014.I too could not identify the meat it looked like ''recovered'' fat and ????????.I had one bite and left it –a refund had to be asked for –it was given. Never again!!

  • 14/07/2014 at 11:38 am

    I visited the new Frankie & Benny's at Kingston Milton Keynes yesterday and ordered the Bacon Cheese Burger for £11.75. This was easily the worst burger I have ever tasted (in that price range), I would guess that it was made from mechanically recovered meat. It did not taste like beef, it did not look like beef and the consistency was nothing like meat. I was also not asked how I would like it cooked. The 2 bacon slices were pink and under cooked and the dill was so small it shouldn't have been labelled as an ingredient. All in all a very poor burger, I will not be going back.

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