Bath - Vaults - Ryan Review
This Nando's is in the new Bath Vaults re-development and is located within one of the old railway arches. Now, I like my history, so to see Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s original vision restored to reveal the Bath stone structure, is fantastic. Not just in Nando's, but throughout the development, new Bath stone and minimal steel supports seem to have been used to emphasise the original masonry.
That said, I just wasn't bowled over with this restaurant. With it being a Grade II listed development, Nando's obviously cannot change the inside - and so space becomes an issue in that a lot of the tables are very close together - there are some two-seater tables which are tucked behind some of the steel supports making it very cramped on those tables, but in general, everything's a bit too close.
Anyway! As you get to the new development (Brunel Square), you see Nando's in the corner plot in-between Prezzo and Jika Jika. There are a few tables outside (about six) but the big glass archways are what strike you the most. As you head inside there's an 8-seater tables to your right and a tall decorative unit to your left along with the tills. Straight down ahead are four 6-seater booths with the toilets right at the back (through the door and up the stairs). To the right you then properly get to sit in underneath the arches where there are then about 20 bench/table/chair sets in total.
There are some nice lighting features - such as spotlights on copper arches suspending on the ceiling (following the natural arch shape) with further standalone lamps in the arches section and then large metal shades suspend over the booths.
There are some canvas prints suspended off the walls in underneath each archway - and a further canvas print in the stairwell up to the toilets, but generally, not much as the stonework has to be preserved (and shown off). Toilets consist of four seprate unisex rooms.
I've been to Bath a few times, but on this occasion it was manic. I arrived at about 6pm, but it took an extra 30 minutes to get in and then out of Bath town centre. It's an area heavily reliant on tourism and so coaches just seem to pull up on the street blocking the roads. Because of this, I pulled into the first car park I came across which was Bath Cricket Club which was a half mile walk away. This charged £3.10/2hrs, £4.30/3hr, £5.40/4hrs from 8am-7pm and then £3 flat rate outside these hours. I did come across other car parks in the centre such as Manvers Street (5 minute walk away and charges from 8am-8pm same as Bath Cricket except £7.40/6hrs and £9.90/8hrs) and SouthGate (a minute walk away and charges 24/7 as Manvers except 6pm-12am is £2 flat rate or 6pm-9:30am is £5). Bath Spa train station is just a couple minutes walk away from Nando's also.
Even though the town centre was manic, Nando's was not and was less than half full meaning I was shown to a table straight away. While queue-ing to order though, my tables was given away - and then from placing my order to walking back to my new table it was given away again, so I think the staff needed a bit better communication! All friendly enough though.
Not sure what happened next though, but the food took 29 minutes to come and sadly it wasn't really worth the wait. Average size chips and rice (which had gone a little cold - suggesting it was sat under the heat lamps for a while) along with a very average sized chicken portion. This had also gone a little cold too - but was still moist enough and marinaded enough to give a nice peri-peri fix.