Croydon - High Street - Damien Review
The fifty first Nando's on the quest, on Croydon High Street was easy enough to get to, being near several train, tram and bus links, but it was pretty much a disaster from start to end.
We arrived early evening on a Saturday to a predictably busy restaurant and were told that there'd be a 30 minute wait for a table. When we said we'd wait in the pub next door, we were told that they don't do bookings and that the table may be available in as soon as 15 minutes and if we weren't there when they called our name, we'd be crossed off the list.
After braving a risky 20 minutes in the pub, we went back over and joined the massive huddle around the entrance and checkouts of Nando's.
After half an hour of this, we asked about a table and were told there wasn't one. About another half an hour later we asked again and the man just shrugged and told us there isn't a table for 6.
I considered getting takeaway and eating it on the street, but I thought we MUST be getting a table soon and was almost past being hungry.
About another 15 minutes later, I ordered takeaway, which arrived in my hands just prior to us actually getting a table.
I was well past hungry by now and didn't want to spend more time around the counters, so just got a plate, not bothering with sides or drinks to go with the chicken I'd got to take away.
The place was noisy as hell, confusingly busy (if this hadn't been the next Nando's on the list, I would have gone elsewhere) and my chicken was rather band for extra hot.
It's a shame that this place manages a busy restaurant so badly.
Bristol Park Street was busy when we arrived there and the member of staff who greeted us suggested we go for a drink somewhere, took our number and called us when a table was available.
I know this isn't Nando's protocol, but it'd be better for everybody if Croydon adopted such an approach.
The member of staff who finally cleared us a table after a couple of hours of waiting also seemed rather put out by the fact that our 6th person was a baby in a pram. They must have had babies in here before and they must have had Saturday evening queues.
At the moment they're coasting on the fact that they're popular, regardless of quality of food or service, but people will soon start going elsewhere if they're slapped with an experience like this.