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Frankie and Benny's withdraws 'crab bruschetta' from menu after Swansea diner exposes fishy fact

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 05, 2014

Crab sticks.

Comments (7)

A ROW over a crab lunch has turned a bit nippy, with trading standards officers looking into an alleged incident at a Swansea restaurant.

A diner at a branch of Frankie and Benny's, in Swansea, was disappointed to find that the crab bruschetta he ordered appeared to have the springy texture and sweet taste of fish sticks.

Steve Allen, from Swansea, claimed that instead of being a dish of shredded crab with fresh tomato, red onion and basil, his order had been padded out with surimi which are pulverised bits of cheaper fish, bound together with gums, sweeteners and salt to make a springy substitute. Mr Allen asked staff in the two Swansea branches of the popular chain restaurant what the dish was made of, and says he was reassured that it was 100 per cent crab. Not convinced, he complained to the company that owns Frankie & Benny's — the FTSE-listed The Restaurant Group. Now, according to The Guardian, Mr Allen has received a letter admitting that the dish contained a mix of real crab meat and crab sticks. "However, the main ingredient is shredded crab," said office manager Philip Gilbert.

He apologised and said Mr Allen's feedback would be taken on board. A dissatisfied Mr Allen then wrote to the group again, saying that failing to mention that the dish contained crab sticks was an offence under food regulations.

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Two weeks later he received an email from one of the group's marketing team admitting crab was, in fact, not the main ingredient, and it made up only 45 per cent of the fish content of the meal, the rest being fake crab. But, said the email, the company felt its menu was within the law. But on Thursday last week, an apology acknowledging an oversight on the menu description arrived, saying: "This item has been withdrawn from all Frankie and Benny's restaurants and will not be included on the next edition of the menu."

Swansea Council trading standards confirmed that it had received a complaint about the dish and that it was investigating.

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  • RichardCorso  |  May 06 2014, 4:42AM

    There's a story about cops who regularly ordered and collected their pizzas from a local pizza store to eat back at the station. It wasn't until a new employee who saw what was going on and dobbed in his pizza making colleagues that the cops found out that for a long time they had been eating their pizzas with optional extras they had not asked for. One of the kitchen employees had issues with the cops and every time they ordered their pizzas he made sure there were not ordered ingredients added to the pizzas. These non/not ordered extras included body fluids and kitchen floor dirt. The cops investigated further installed covert cameras in the kitchen and found out the hard way that their pizzas were being tainted by one of the kitchen staff who was eventually arrested... Moral of the story - don't upset the front of house or kitchen staff as you never know what "extra" ingredients are included in your meal!

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  • RichardCorso  |  May 06 2014, 4:27AM

    For the record crab sticks do not contain any crab meat. It never ceases to amaze me how we put up with such awful meals in the mediocre restaurants that we have locally. Most of the restaurants, fast food, Rugby and football club kitchens have ZERO out of five ratings for food standards [preparation and storage areas being filthy] in the Neath Port Talbot area. Quite often the side dishes [vegetables, chips etc] are reheated frozen products that have the flavour of cardboard. Finally, you're then faced by untrained obnoxious front of house [waiters] staff who only smile at you when they finally present you the over priced bill.

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  • Jiffy  |  May 05 2014, 10:13AM

    Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares" is only the tip of the iceberg. Eating out can be a lottery.

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  • Scroggins  |  May 05 2014, 10:08AM

    I always thought they were a sort of cheap diner type place, obviously not.

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  • yankytaff  |  May 05 2014, 9:25AM

    That's what you get when you eat in F and B's can't stand the place food is awful

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  • abertawejack  |  May 05 2014, 9:25AM

    I went there once for a posh meal because the wife nagged me, it had just opened. I forget what we had as it wasn't memorable by any means, but it came with chips. The cost of both meals and drinks were really overly priced to say the least, of that I well remember, when they brought out "OVEN" chips to go with our meals, believe me that then was the last time I ate there. Fast food at high class restaurant prices, is taking the proverbial.

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  • passtheparcel  |  May 05 2014, 8:43AM

    So it should been called crab stick bruschetta..............

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