Catford - Damien Review
Catford has been home to my most local Nando’s for a fair few years now. I’ve sadly never had a good experience at this branch, which is why my last visit was a whopping five years ago. As we’d finally reached it on our list, I swallowed my pride and decided to once again give it a chance.
Nando’s 105 is a standard small high street affair, situated on a busy road with loads of local bus routes, about a ten to fifteen minute walk from the two Catford train stations. Our group of eight plus one baby arrived at 2pm on a Saturday. Given the size of the group, I’d expected a wait for a table, but the staff were able to push four small window-side tables together to accommodate us immediately. I have vague memories of this place and from the looks of things, the restaurant hasn’t been renovated in the five years since my last visit. It’s a small space with low ceilings, a few little booths and an inconveniently placed cutlery and sauce station. The light fittings look like they were purchased from Argos a decade ago, and were in various states of disrepair. The place also has a classic old Nando’s smell.
As one of us is a member at the local gym, we receive a discount of 20% at this Nando’s. We decided to see if all nine of us could order in one go to get this discount. We wrote down out entire order on paper and took it up to the till, informing the man there of our discount card and that we’re ordering a lot. Only when it came to pay were we told that we can’t get “that much” food with the discount. The guy at the till came to a compromise. He’d give us 20% off half the meals, so effectively a 10% discount. Not amazed by this, but not wanting the hassle of going back and all ordering separately, we accepted this. After the discount, the bill came to £131.37, and we only had a single chilli to show for it!
After a while of waiting under the heater, our food eventually started coming out. There were a lot of plates, so it was kind of impressive that only a few things were forgotten (wings, halloumi…). Sadly, my food was lukewarm and included some of the worst Nando’s chicken I’ve ever had. While it still tasted alright and there was plenty on the bone, the meat was ridiculously dry. Three others on the table had ordered butterfly chicken and also reported that it was dry. Rubbing a piece between my fingers, the chicken crumbled like sawdust. It must have been cooked at least three times to be this grainy and lifeless. With all the other, far cheaper chicken shops in Catford, I can now see why Nando’s would not be packed on a Saturday lunchtime. Before we left, the ladies visited the toilet and came back with looks of disgust and horror on their faces. While the gents loos are pretty standard and non-offensive, the ladies sounded like something you’d expect to see on the final day of Glastonbury.
While the staff at this place are a lot more hospitable than those of five years ago, the state of the restaurant and the quality of food isn’t at all in-line with Nando’s current standard. I don’t see myself returning for a very long time.