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TGI Friday's (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of TGI Friday's in Greenwich, London

Unit 20 Entertainment Avenue, The O2, Greenwich, London, SE10 0DY
Cuisine: American
Tel: Not on file | Email to TGI Friday's | Transport: Greenwich | Write review

TGI Friday's Review

TGI Friday's is featured in these Guides:

Best for: Not being Cherie Blair; cocktails the size of a swimming pool; the Top Gun soundtrack.

Great: Service; alcoholic additions to everything.

To my mind, one of the greatest feats of the last Labour government was to erect a building that was even less attractive than Cherie Blair; namely, the Millennium Dome. The dome itself has however seen a renaissance in recent years as the O2 Arena, becoming one of the world’s most popular music and entertainment venues (unfortunately, Cherie Blair has failed to undergo a similar facelift).

Having not been to the dome in its current incarnation, I had little idea of the restaurants that would be on offer. On this occasion I had been asked to go along to TGI Friday’s at the O2, a chain in which I have not eaten for many years.

I had always thought it a great success story that ‘Friday’ - from the biography of Robinson Crusoe - had managed to escape the island and then go on to set up, and run, a large restaurant empire that spanned the globe. It was quite a shock when the assistant manager at TGI’s explained that this was not actually the case.

The discovery about Man Friday’s lack of business acumen hit me hard, so I ordered a cocktail, something for which TGI’s prides itself. As it arrived I wasn’t sure that I could console myself in it, however it was clear that I may well be able to swim in it. The cocktails at TGI’s lack the finesse of a Soho bar, but for the asking price, they certainly pack a healthy punch. ‘Healthy’ as a double entendre, as lifting these gargantuan glasses to the mouth repeatedly is equal to any tough gym session.

Wanting to soak up the swimming pool-sized cocktails, myself and my dining partner turn to the menus, immediately noticing that half of the dishes seemed to have the prefix ‘Jack Daniel’s’. Though not expecting fine dining, I am unsure whether the Jack Daniel’s boneless chicken wings had ever been near a chicken, and making a perfectly enjoyable drink into an unpleasant glaze is quite sacrilege.

The highlights of the eating experience were the perfectly enjoyable chicken fajita and the ice cream cocktail, with which we finished our meal; clearly it is true that with the exception of a Jack Daniel’s glaze, the addition of alcohol to anything improves it. One thing is also sure: with the giant portion sizes, no one will ever leave TGI’s hungry.

The mediocre food was more than made up for by the exceptionally good service. Our waitress, Jodie, could not have been better; friendly, enthusiastic about the restaurant, and incredibly attentive without ever becoming intrusive. I would not hesitate in saying that it was up there with the best service I have ever had. A feat considering the staff are forced wear clothing that looks like it has been made from a surplus butcher’s awning.

Although it was a Tuesday, the restaurant was busy with people having a great time, principally large groups of 16–25 year olds, with a smattering of families. As I looked around, it was clear that it was the staff which made the place for the visitors; their enthusiasm (possibly assisted by the cocktails) seemed to relax everyone and the number of people celebrating birthdays was astonishing. The music was also doing its best to get people in the mood; there are few meals that aren’t improved by the Top Gun soundtrack being played as background music.

Two hours or so after arriving, we went out of the Jack Daniel’s door, back to the Jack Daniel’s underground and then back to our Jack Daniel’s homes. TGI’s wasn’t a great culinary event, and there is little about the experience that is refined. However, for those times when you want something substantial and filling, washed down with bucket-sized cocktails and accompanied by happiness-inducing service, then TGI Friday’s at the O2 would certainly hit the spot.
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