Bournemouth - Damien Review
Bournemouth was the 81st stop on our Nando’s Quest and a place I hadn’t been to for almost ten years. After some time beside the seaside, we had a look to see where the Nando’s was and it was absolutely nowhere near the sea. Half of us drove and half of us bussed (return £2.20) to retail park a few miles outside of the centre. The bus dropped us on the edge of the park, conveniently right outside the very modern Nando’s building, which looks more like a church than the church next door to it.
It was early evening on a Saturday and we were a group of seven, so we expected at least a crowded restaurant and a bit of a wait for a table, but were pleasantly surprised to be warmly greeted and seated straight away. The inside is very airy and very spacious, letting in a lot of natural light from the large curved windows that surround the restaurant. The place was well staffed and all the staff we spoke to were amazingly friendly. We went up and ordered starters first, then mains a few minutes later. Most of the food was arriving (no joke) less than a minute after ordering, with no confusions with orders. This would normally ring alarm bells and make me question if it was originally intended to be ours, but all the food was perfectly cooked, and amazingly fresh and plentiful. The chicken was plump, the portions of chips were large, the mash wasn’t over-microwaved, and I got my first ever entirely non-burnt (but cooked) Nando’s corn on the cob. Every member of staff who came to our table made sure there was nothing missing, even offering us mayonnaise when we were brought our mains.
Whoever deals with the staffing at the Bournemouth branch deserves some kind of Nando’s medal, as they have clearly fine-tuned their Saturday evening crew to into a perfect, cheerful and customer-focussed orchestra. The waiting staff were quick and on the ball, the till staff had their eye out for queues and opened another point if one began to form, and the grill team must be in training for some kind of world record attempt, the speed they were shooting out the orders.
If I had to complain about one thing, it would be that the restaurant structure doesn’t have the best acoustics, and it got quite loud in there as it filled up. This doesn’t at all go against how perfect the food and service were at this place though. There are many places to eat in the centre of Bournemouth, but heading a little further out is well worth the journey. Other Nando’s should be looking to Bournemouth as an example.