Whenever I go to Western restaurants like TGI Friday’s or Chili’s with family or friends, we more often than not zero in on group sharing meals because 1) American restaurants tend to offer large servings, and 2) it’s a big money-saving move (especially if a bunch of you are ordering the same thing anyway), so restaurants with family-size servings always score points with me.
This past Thursday, Zomato Philippines invited me and several other bloggers to TGI Friday’s in Venice Grand Canal Mall (yes, the one with the indoor gondolas) to sample their latest concept in group feasts: the Share More Fridays collection, meals that are good enough for two or three. Poultry fans can split the eight-piece Fried Chicken Basket (Php1,050), while pork lovers can opt for the Ultimate Bourbon BBQ Ribs (Php1,295). Both sets come with some grilled elote (that’s corn on the cob, in case you haven’t brushed up on your Spanish) and Creole rice.
I seriously enjoyed the chicken; it was tender and juicy on the inside and crisp and well-seasoned on the outside. No blood in the leg part, either. It was so good, in fact, that didn’t really need the gravy it came with.
The pork ribs were tender too, and while the bourbon barbecue sauce’s slight sweetness didn’t bother me as much as usual, I thought it was missing something. A bit of salt and some hot sauce might have kicked it up a notch, but I guess they wanted people to season as they wish.
At first, I thought the Creole rice lacked the spice I usually like in this kind of rice, but then after a while, you feel the heat building up, which should satisfy the heat seeker in you without destroying your palate for all the other food you’re about to have. The corn was sweet, but I also detected a bit of sourness, which was too bad. I guess it’s characteristic of corn that goes straight to the grill instead of being steamed or boiled.
Aside from these savory platters of fried and barbecued goodness, Friday’s was also nice enough to end our meal with not one but all four of their desserts: the dainty New York Cheesecake and the three gargantuans Brownie Obsession, Mocha Mudslide, and Oreo Madness. Having more than a couple of sweet teeth nestled among my gnashers, I was elated at the prospect of plunging into these plates of heaven. After the obligatory photos (which did cause the ice cream-based treats to melt a bit), we dug in.
The New York Cheesecake (Php375) was, well, a cheesecake. Nothing really distinctive, but they got the flavors and texture (I hate wobbly, gelatinous cheesecake) right, so it did its job. The Mocha Mudslide (Php325) is a cube of chocolate-almond and coffee ice cream, but it might as well have been just plain vanilla; I was looking for a more mocha-ey flavor and couldn’t find it.
The Brownie Obsession (Php350), two huge slabs of brownies drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce and topped with ice cream), was a big winner. The brownie itself scored major points (ba-dum tshhh!) on the big chocolate flavor, warm and fudgy middle, and slightly flaky surface. A party of flavors and textures, really. Honestly, I would have ordered that brownie even in its naked form, but who am I to complain when someone plops a giant scoop of ice cream on top of it?
The Oreo Madness (Php195 for a piece, Php345 for two), which is vanilla ice cream sandwiched between large chocolate cookies and bathed with chocolate and caramel sauce, looks like America’s favorite cookie on steroids. You can’t be gentle when digging into this because the cookie is a bit tough (it has to be to stand up to the slowly melting ice cream). One of the bloggers decided to smash the thing with a spoon, breaking the cookies into manageable chunks (thanks!) so we could all happily partake. The cookie was, of course crunchy and did lend a good contrast to the ice cream, and wasn’t too sweet.
Here’s another great thing about these desserts: save for the New York Cheesecake, they’re big enough for sharing.
I also ordered a November Seabreeze—apple and cranberry juice with soda water and crushed ice—which I thought tasted kind of watered down.
There’s not much to say about the restaurant itself since it’s pretty much the same as all the other TGI Friday’s branches, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. The place is festive, the decor contemporary, and the staff only too eager to please. With those elements and the Share More Fridays menu, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason not to come with your family or friends.
Overall rating: ★★★★☆
Venice Grand Canal Mall, McKinley Hill, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Disclosure: This visit was organized by the restaurant’s management in cooperation with Zomato Philippines. The opinions expressed in this post are based on my own experience and were in no way influenced by said groups.
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