Ealing - Common - Ryan Review
Onto the other Ealing Nando's and this involved a little walk down past the Common, where the Circus was in town! As I was already parked at Ealing Broadway, I decided to walk as it is only a 10 minute walk or so from there. The price here is (open 6am-midnight) £1/1hr, £2/2hrs, £2.50/3hrs, £3/4hrs and upwards from there with a Sunday offer of £1 (10:30am-5pm). Ealing Common Underground Station is also next door to Nando's - so keep a look out for it... I say that as if you are walking down Uxbridge Road, you may walk straight past this Nando's. There's no illumination outside of Barci or "Nando's"!
So this is the first Nando's that opened in the UK as shown by the wording above the till... and sadly it shows! It's probably not been redecorated since it opened and the whole restaurant looks a bit tired.
It's small - very small. 20 tables in total and this includes two 2-seater tables right in the back corner by the toilet/staff entrance. This is also where I was placed - and so was being knocked as staff/customers went by or just kept elbowing the wall as the tables are right up against it.
I did ask to go to one of the other five empty tables or so but because there were piles of dirty plates on each of these, this was my only option. I did ask to wait but there was a bit of a language barrier... and a new one on me - there was a member of staff eating at this table who was turfed off to make way for me. I did plead to let him finish his pitta... but anyway!
As you enter there is a little glass enclosed ramp to take you up to the tills/serving hatch and waiting area which has room for four people sat down and one person at the till, so anymore than this (and there were 6 people waiting for takeaway) then it's very cramped - and also very hot as the servings hatches are here too.
There are two small square booths slightly raised at the back, but otherwise the other tables/chairs are all very compactly squeezed together. On the back wall above the two booths are 30 or so small canvas paintings and the walls in-between the full length windows on the left hand side all have a painting on too. There are a few red conical lampshades towards the front but otherwise there is just spot lighting recessed into the ceiling.
I arrived here at about 8:30pm and as I say, there were six empty tables (with six waiting for takeaway), so I was expecting a bit of a wait... But it took 31 minutes for the food to turn up. On of the managers was very apologetic for the wait and to make up for it she handed out some free half chicken vouchers to those who had been waiting... which was a nice bonus... but then I was never checked on during/at the end of the meal, so that bonus disappears...
I have to say though, once it had quietened down then people who came in at 9pm were seated straight away (at clean tables) and their food did come out quickly... but for me it wasn't the case.
Anyways, I had half a chicken, chips and ratatouille - and sadly the wait was not worth it. You'd have thought that having acknowledged the wait, a few extra chips would have been thrown in there or a bit of a meatier chicken here... but sadly not! What I got was a very dry and cold portion of an averaged sized chicken - very chewy with almost no sauce on it - along with a small portion chips (which were hot and crispy) and a small ratatouille (which was hot). Not sure I'd want to claim the free half chicken voucher from here...
Also, the toilets were a mess. There was water all over the floor so that I was standing in water to wee (I at least hope it was water). The sink counter was also flooded with water dripping off the counter onto the floor. For some reason there was also a whole toilet roll in the water on the sink - so it was a big soggy mess.
The first Nando's in the UK is certainly not the best...