Cnr Latrobe and Swanston St, Melbourne 3000.
Date visited: 22nd June 2013
I was ecstatic when MerlinFan told me that a new TGI Friday's had opened on the third floor of Melbourne Central. We used to visit the Jam Factory TGI Friday's (perhaps not as often as we would have liked), so the thought of no longer having to trudge halfway across town just for our pork ribs fix was a dream come true.
MerlinFan and I had just watched the afternoon session of World War Z at Hoyts and yes, we were being very good to share an overpriced popcorn so that we would have room for dinner. Amazingly, I was already hungry at 4.30pm, so I persuaded MerlinFan to have an early dinner, knowing that there would probably be a long wait before food and that we would like to get a table before the Saturday night masses swarmed in.
The interior had a very different feel to the old one at Jam Factory (I haven't returned after their recent reno, so perhaps I'm wrong). This one was gorgeous yet moody, with wood and red walls, semi-circles of cushioned booth chairs. You could sit inside or even outside on the balcony. In the centre was their bar.
|Bar and booth seats|
|Lovely corner table overlooking Swanston St|
|November Seabreeze $6.25 (left).|
Vanilla Lemon Ice $14.50
Oh well, I didn't exactly come for the drinks, so I settled for a November Seabreeze, which was a sparkling sweetened blend of lime with apple and cranberry juice topped with soda over ice. It took a pretty mind blowing half an hour before the drinks came out. I didn't quite taste any of the individual components of lime, apple or cranberry - to me it tasted like a vague and diluted concoction of tanginess. Well, of course it would be diluted if you consider the fact that 2/3 of the cup was packed with ice @_@
MerlinFan had one of their new creation cocktails, Vanilla Lemon Ice. Now this was supposed to be a 'refreshing lemon delight' that includied Smirnoff vanilla vodka, VOK triple sec and lemonade. The only problem was... we believed they forgot the lemonade! WTF. It was either that, or the amount put in there was so minuscule it was undetectable. Another fail. MerlinFan found it rather off-putting, rather like vanilla essence diluted with water with a bitter aftertaste from the vodka thrown in. As for me, it was like ice cream soda and I hate ice cream soda. Even throwing in my slice of lime into the concoction didn't do anything to boost the taste.
Our food took even longer but staff were friendly and super perky; another staff even came to tell us that it would be a few more minutes before our food arrived. Thankfully, TGI Friday's redeemed itself epically with the food.
I had my favourite Jack Daniel's Glazed Ribs. Yes, baby back pork ribs seasoned with Cajun spices and glazed with their famous Jack Daniel's sauce. It was as amazing at you could get. My hats off to the chef! The meat was succulent and juicy, perfectly marinated and just fall off the bone <cue sigh of contentment>. The grilled New Orleans style corn cobs with their juicy corn kernels were refreshing to cut through the smoky, sweet stickiness and intensity of the Jack Daniel's glaze. The chips were crispy although not as perfectly seasoned as the ones at Jam Factory, but seriously I didn't really care. It was all about the ribs.
|Jack Daniel's Glazed Ribs $39.95|
Overall, MerlinFan and I had a most satisfying dinner. The long time taken for food and drinks to arrive was expected as it was the case at other branches as well. Portion sizes are big for their price so I suppose you could share if you want to, but MerlinFan and I, being pigs who enjoy eating pigs had no problems scoffing down every bite on our plates. The only downside would be the uber-diluted drinks, so lesson learnt - next time I might just have a soft drink or water instead. Also, they opened not too long ago, so they might be still finding their feet and can only improve.
Thank you, TGI Friday's for finally moving to the CBD. Never will I have to go all the way to Jam Factory again for my favourite pork ribs.
<a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/71/1759256/restaurant/CBD/TGI-Fridays-Melbourne"><img alt="TGI Fridays on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1759256/biglink.gif" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>