Epsom - Lawrence Simpson Review
Since me and my girlfriend weren't far away from the area, we decided to venture forth into the Epsom branch of Nando's.
Parking for this restaurant is quite easy as there are a number of small areas dotted around the town so you can pick and choose depending on what activities you choose to partake in before you go...or if feasting on chicken is your ONLY prerogative!
We were greeted by a friendly member of staff who went through the usual Nando's service instructions, but we got the feeling that the staff were bored...and with good cause. The place was pretty barren for a Monday night and the staff were huddled around the cash machine so when it came to ordering our food, I had to make my way past which seemed odd for a restaurant and more like a bar - kind of jarring.
This was a great chance to use the gift card I had won a couple of months back for my review of the previous contributors' dinner so I went with a whole chicken Extra Hot (as per normal) with ratatouille and frozen yogurt (Vanilla). My girlfriend went for a Halloumi/Mushroom Burger (Mango/Lime) and Sweet Potato Mash and a Caramel Cheesecake.
The main advantage of it being relatively desolate from most Nando's is that we got our service quickly. It was only 10 minutes after ordering that we were ready to tuck in! It had been a while since I had last had the ratatouille and it was a welcome return to my palette. It's a lot more sauce-based than most with more tomato and less courgettes/peppers which complemented the chicken which was like anything that the typical 'Nandistador' might come across when journeying to the chain we call home. The skin slipped off the meat easily and the meat quantity in proportion to the bones was more than you usually would expect which is something I most approve of. My girlfriend commented that the sweet potato mash and the caramel cheesecake were very good as well! To be fair, if I didn't have frozen yogurt, I would've had what she had.
The decor seemed a little uninspired though - it could do with a refurb. The seat colours to me seem very drab and not in keeping with the fiery and characterful nature that Nando's has to offer; nothing unique and engaging. The only thing that really keeps you there is the food; the furniture is somewhat forgettable.
All in all though, it was a decent experience with the food standing out above all else. Reassuring, definitely...but there should be more to a visit to Nando's than just good food; more atmosphere, please!