Durham - Ryan Review

Ryan's picture
How Helpful?: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Number of Visits: 
This was my first visit
How Busy?: 
Up to 10 minute wait
Date of Last Visit: 
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Time of Day: 
Weekend Lunch
2.38 / 5
Friendliness of Staff: 
3 (Not bad. Did everything I asked of them)
Speed of Service: 
1 (>25 mins - Asked repeatedly. I need my Nando's)
Quality of Food: 
1.5 (Very disappointing - cold, flavourless, burnt)
Decoration & Cleanliness: 
4 (Very clean, newly furnished, impressive artwork and lighting)
Comments - Stand out in our monthly competition! What did you eat? Unique aspects? Parking/transport tips?: 

On the way back from a trip up North gave me chance to stop in at this highligh rated Nando's. Being number one for so long my expectations were high to say the least... :-)

I'd parked at The Gates shopping centre which worked out at £2.20 for just under 3 hours, so good value. From here a very short walk to Durham Centre and the outstanding Cathedral - including a short walk to the Walkergate complex where Nando's is based. (Walkergate also has its own parking but I didn't see how much it cost.)

First impressions of the decor inside were very good. The thing that strikes you the most is three large carved holes on the right-hand wall. In each of the holes/circular grooves are some great items: unusual pots/plants and multiple canvas paintings. The ceiling is mostly taken up by large circular wooden discs with interesting lighting - it was certainly nice and bright inside. There are some funky beads fashioned round the structure pillars too - and a very good branch layout. Bench/sofa seating across the right hand wall allowing for multiple combinations of party sizes, a large circular booth in the front right corner and some small booths at the back. There's also an upstairs (which wasn't open at this time) with plenty more (a dozen or so) tables/chairs sets. Spotless toilets too makes for a 5 on decor.

I got to this site around 1:40pm on a Sunday afternoon and was advised there'd be a 10 minutes wait for a table which ended up being 5 minutes. Only room for three people to sit and wait though, so the 8 people waiting egenrally all had to stand in the small area by the door (it was a bit awkward as people tried to leave). No queue to order and I was advised a 15-20 minute for the food.

Chelsea on the till was efficient and pleasant - but throughout the visit the staff did the bear minimum. Even though we had a wait for a table, not all tables downstairs were occuiped, so it's not like there was a mad rush to get tables turned round - but I never witnessed friendly banter or conversations with any other tables at all. Just the expected "is everything alright" etc.

31 minutes after ordering, the food arrived at the same time as another four sets of people. 2 sets of which had already queried why the food was sitting under the heatlamps for while. Once it did finally come, it really wasn't worth the wait. The rice was luke warm, the chips were soft and barely warm - and the chicken was a real let down. Average sized pieces of meat, parts of it burnt, pink/red meat towards the bone, not hot at all and very greasy. With such a long time to wait, I would have expected it to be spot on.

With all the other positive reviews, I am sure I could get a much better experience on a next visit, but on this occasion, the food was bad.

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