Carlisle - James RYN Review
Carlisle Nando's was an obvious draw on my trip up North because of how it sits isolated in the far North West of England. According to the manager, it is currently part of the North East region, despite being at least an hour away from any of the restaurants there. How would Nando's fare in such a location? It was time to find out.
The Nando's itself sits on a junction in the town centre, and parking is surprisingly difficult to find. In the end we parked in the local bingo centre for £1.50 (2 hours), but I think the street signs allow for 1 hour no return, if you can get through your meal in a hurry. On entering, it wasn't very busy, and we were sat down straight away at a nice table by the window.
In terms of decoration and cleanliness, everything was nice and clean, but this is definitely a 'Standard' Nando's. I could only spot one piece of South African art, and there weren't any design features to grab my attention. It had the Nando's feel though, and I still felt at home in this remote Nando's locale!
The staff were all pleasant, and helpful when needed. The manager who sat us down pointed out where all the sauces and the toilets are, which was a nice touch. Ordering was quick and effortless, and an extra mayo dip was brought to the table very quickly (often delayed or completely forgotten at other restaurants!). In fact, the food came within minutes of me sitting back down at the table, so we probably could have made it in one of those 1 hour parking spots.
My first impression of the food was very positive. The wrap looked prepared to perfection, and the rice was steaming hot. As hoped, the taste reflected the presentation, and I could find no fault in what I ordered. The only reason this visit misses out on a 5, is that I simply didn't get enough different items to form a full opinion. Usually I would have chips and garlic bread in addition to the rice (omitted because I had been for a 'full' Nando's just 15 hours prior), so I can't comment on important factors such as amount of peri-spice and garlic butter dispersion.
Overall I would definitely recommend this Nando's to anyone passing through this part of the country. If you live in Carlisle the recommendation is a given, since you don't have much other choice locally!