Bicester - Pioneer Square - Ryan Review
Well, after having been on the road for nearly 3 hours, Bicester fell nicely as a stopping off point on my way home... and the perfect excuse to check out this new Nando's!
It's located in the new Pionner Square development which is also home to a Vue cinema and anchored by a Sainsbury's. There are some other eateries here, including Dean's Diner and a Prezzo (still being furbished). It's well signposted on the approaching roads by yellow signs. Parking was also a pleasant experience! As with all new Sainsbury's, your number plate flashes up as you enter with the time of when your free parking period ends - and then you are greeted by rows of green and red lights showing where you can park. Parking is free for 2hrs Mon-Sun 8am-7pm and a 3rd hour is £1.70 - max 3 hours stay. Cinema goers can get the 3rd hour validated so can stay for 3 hours for free. 7pm-8am it is free to all, but again a strict 3 hour max stay. Also, Bicester North and Bicester Town train stations are less than half a mile walk away.
This Nando's is located over two floors - and even then, it's still not that big, with maybe (at a push) 15 tables downstairs and a further 15 upstairs - I guess it adds to the cosyness. Downstairs are four large booths towards the back, with four more booths upstairs. The rest of the seating on both floors is bench/tables/chairs. There are a couple tables outside too.
The lighting is well done and makes it very bright inside. Downstairs there are glass jars and orange cones for lightshades at the front, but then above the booths are two large wooden lightboxes. Upstairs there are further coloured glass jars and yellow cones - but then the whole of the ceiling running round the sort of coving is beautifully lit up. The decor is also great. In the windows downstairs are dozens what look light big jenga towers, with some large canvas paintings above the booths. Then as you go upstairs, the stairwell is wonderfully decorated with over 50 paintings of all shapes and sizes. At the top of the stairs is a carved wall and then the whole of the upstairs has wooden panelled walls and the ceiling.
I arrived here just after 9pm, so it was pretty quiet inside with only six or so tables in use across both floors. This meant there was no wait and the food came in under 10 minutes. When I ordered, the chap on the till was nice and chatty - and also very generous with the olives. He'd already towered them into the bowl and then tried to put another ladel on "for good luck", at which point they all rolled off except one. While waiting for the food, Lisa (wearing the name badge Kat) struck up some good conversation - followed by Brandon who was also very chatty. He even went and performed some card tricks to the table next to me as well! A birthday party was in there too and they couldn't do enough to accommdodate them.
The food was superb as well. A very generous sized portion of chicken with plenty of meat on it. Really juicy and piping hot and smothered in sauce. The portion of rice was huge as well as was the chips - both cooked perfectly. I was so stuffed by the end of this, it was a sumptuous feast.