“ Nando's bar and restaurant in Guildford, Surrey. „
~ The Restaurant ~
Nando's is located in the main town of Guildford, Surrey and is a very short walk from the main bus station and train station. The restaurant looks appealing as you walk past, and you can see that there is a large seating area downstairs and another large seating area upstairs as well. The restaurant is mainly glass so you can see other people sitting at the tables eating their food. Everyone seems to rave on about Nando's and how good it is. I have been to Nando's a few times now and it's alright in there but I don't think it's really anything to rave about. For those of you who have never been to or heard of Nando's, they are the home of the legendary, Portuguese flame-grilled Peri-Peri chicken. The only food they sell in here is chicken apart from the side orders. Don't go here if you don't eat or don't like chicken as you won't find anything here you will like.
Layout - The restaurant looks bigger from outside than it actually is inside. There are plenty of tables and chairs, how-ever these are all very close together, and you are more than likely to hit another chair if you pull your chair out too far from the table. It looks as though they have tried to fit as many tables and chairs into the lower level as much as they can. This makes it rather awkward when there is a large party of you. The seating area upstairs isn't much bigger and is in fact probably slightly smaller. There is a little more space upstairs, how-ever not a great deal more than there is downstairs. The main counter where you place your order is located downstairs and this is the first thing you will notice when you walk into the restaurant. You can also see the kitchen area in where they cook the food as well. A staff member will ask you how many seats you need and when a table becomes available they will show you to your table and hand you the menus. They also put a number peg onto your table as well on the stand which holds the dessert menu.
The Menu - On the menu is a range of different chicken dishes which includes wraps, burgers, pittas, chicken wings and different sized chickens such as 1/2 or a whole chicken. You can choose whether you want a Nando's marinade on the chicken which includes Lemon & Herb, Mild, Medium or Hot marinade. Be warned that the Hot and Medium marinade is very hot and spicy! You can choose whether you want the item on its own or with 1 or 2 sides which include creamy mash, spicy rice, garlic bread, coleslaw and more. Depending on what you order depends on how much the meal is going to cost, how-ever all the prices are displayed on the menu anyway. After choosing what you want to eat you then need to go to the counter to order it.
Ordering Food - Once you are at the counter the member of staff will take your order and ask for your table number. You can purchase drinks here such as juice, water, wine, beer or soft drinks. If you choose to have soft drinks or water you can have unlimited refills on this from the machine located towards the back of the restaurant. Once you have finished ordered the staff member will go through your order again to ensure it's correct and then you will need to pay. The staff member will probably ask if you want starters or something to nibble on whilst waiting for the food such as Nuts or Olives. You will be charged extra for this. Once you have ordered and paid for your food, simply return to your seat and wait for your food to come out.
Obtaining Cutlery, Sauces, etc - The staff in here don't tend to give you cutlery when bringing out the food so you will need to go and collect this yourself along with any other sauces you may want with your meal. If you walk towards the back of the restaurant you will see an area with all the different sauces, cutlery and napkins. There is also a drinks machine where you can fill your glass up with your choice of soft drink or water. These refills are unlimited so you can go back as many times as you wish. The bottles of sauce are quite big and you can take the whole bottle with you to your table or pour a small amount into the small plastic bowls they provide.
The Food - Me and my friends were only waiting for approximately 5-7 minutes for our food and then the member of staff came and put the plates of food on our table. The food looked quite appetising, apart from the Garlic bread which I don't think looked very good. I ordered a Chicken Pitta with a side of coleslaw and garlic bread. I chose to have the Lemon & herb marinade on my chicken as I'm not a fan of spicy foods. The pitta was quite large and it had been toasted a little as some of it was crisp. There was a small amount of salad leaves in the pitta along with some of their mayonnaise which was slightly spicy and also had a kick to it. It was one chicken fillet in the pitta, how-ever you can ask for a double chicken fillet instead. The overall taste of the chicken pitta was quite nice, how-ever I did still find it a little spicy and it certainly had a kick. The coleslaw was nice and creamy and also very crunchy. The Garlic bread tasted dry and there wasn't really much garlic taste to it at all. I was really disappointed by this and didn't eat both slices of this. The total cost of my meal was £8.80, which I didn't think was too bad.
Toilets - The toilets are located upstairs and then up some more stairs. Although this is a bit of a walk the toilets are kept stocked and very clean. There are only 2-3 cubicles in the ladies, how-ever it's not often that 3 people need to use the toilet at one time so I have never had to wait for a cubicle to become free. The toilets are very modern looking and a well lit and bright with large mirrors. There is never any rubbish on the floor and the cubicle always has toilet tissue in them. I was very impressed with how clean and well maintained the toilets actually were. I can't fault anything about them.
~ Overall Opinion ~
To start off with the restaurant does have a nice, relaxed atmosphere; how-ever there is no music so the background noise is just people chit chatting away to each other which can be rather noisy at times. They really have tried to cram as many tables and chairs into here as possible and there have been a few times where I have been eating and a number of people have had to ask me to move my chair a little in order for them to get past me to get to the counter to order their food. This was obviously very frustrating, not to mention annoying when I was trying to eat. The restaurant does get busy so you may need to book a table, rather than just turning up here in the hope that you will get a seat. The area in which you order the food is very small and quite often during busy periods there can be 6-8 people queuing to order their food. The food is always very quick to come out and it looks very appetising. The food did taste good and I enjoyed it. I like the Lemon & herb dressing as this isn't spicy at all but gives the chicken a lovely flavour. You can of course have the chicken plain which also tastes great as the chicken is always juicy and moist. I will more than likely eat here again as the food is nice; how-ever I will always avoid busy periods here due to the lack of space in here. I give this restaurant 4 out of 5 stars as the food is always good quality and tastes great.
(review also on ciao)