Glasgow - Xscape - Ryan Review
Onto my second Nando's of the hour... I had spent 6 hours going up and down a freezing Ben Nevis, so an additional helping of peri-peri was needed to warm the ol' cockles!
This specific Nando's is located inside the Soar complex (previously Xscape, although all of the brown tourist road signs still refer to it as Xscape) which, along with the Intu Braehead Shopping Centre, forms a very large leisure/retail park. Intu for all the shops and Soar for all the fun. Across the two sites, you can shop and eat at just about every chain going at Intu and then have a five minute walk to Soar where you'll find an Odeon Cinema, a Bowplex, Laser Station, climbing walls, crazy golf and the Snow Factor (snow slope). There are thousands and thousands of free spaces across the whole leisure park and it's within easy reach, just off J25A/26 of the M8. Nearest train station is Hillington West, which is a two-mile walk away.
Got here at about 5:40pm and the restaurant was half full - which was completely full by 6pm with many more people waiting for tables too. The key selling point for this Nando's is that it caters for lots of large parties very well, in complete contrast to the Intu/Braehead Nando's. There are five large square booths on the back-right wall from the entrance, with another large circular booth immediately infront of the entrance. There are also some larger/longer tables/chairs sets tucked around to the left of the entrance. There are also some tables 'outside' Nando's, but you'll miss out on any of the groove and for some reason the lighting seems to be really poor out of the front. I was sat at a two-seater table as part of the banquette seating which was very tightly packed to the tables either side. There were a few chips on the floor which I slipped on as I sat down, but luckily there were also some napkins on the floor which I used to pick up the squashed chips...
Most of the booths and all of the leather banquettes had seen better days though. I think all of the booths had rips in the leather, more rips on the banquettes seating and all of the cushions which were probably a vibrant green and orange are now faded and in need of replacement. The back-right wall (the longest wall) above the five booths is painted a salmon pink but then it's completely plain - no artwork, mirrors or anything. There are two large brown wooden chandeliers in the centre of the ceiling and then every other piece of wall/ceiling is painted magnolia - with just a couple of artwork pieces in the whole of the restaurant. Very plain. The toilets were also very messy. There was no soap in the dispenser (most of it was on the work surface) and a pool of water on the surface trickling onto the floor. One urinal was also blocked and overflowing a little when flushing, which came as a shock while I was using it... Not had to switch urinals mid-wee for a while... Needs some TLC urgently.
Not sure what happened with the food at this one - in fact, it's not been a great Nando's adventure around Glasgow at all. This time the food took 34 minutes to come and it wasn't worth the wait at all. I had a half chicken, chips, rice and chargrilled veg. The chicken was a very small portion and badly burnt on the outside. It was also cold on the inside and very dry and chewy. The rice was also cold and over half was hard and chewy. The chargrilled veg was the worst part. It was made only of red onion and orange pepper and was badly, badly burnt. We all like a bit of charring on food to give it that little kick or flavour... but chunks of this were unrecognisable. It reminded me of the episode of Bottom where Richie has cooked dinner. Eddie picks up something with his fork and the scripts goes something like this...
Eddie: And what's this?
Richie: It's a turnip! What are you, missing the label?
Eddie: Why is it black?
Richie: It's been grilled!
I could have probably asked the staff what some of the chunks were and gotten that response... The veg was scorching hot mind... ;-) The chip portion was at least something to salvage from it as they were hot and crispy. Now, even though I had just eaten another Nando's, after having had a porridge pot and two cups of tea all day in the snow, there was plenty of room left to fit more chicken... but, even so - I had to leave some of the rice, veg and chicken as it was that bad.
The young lad who brought my meal didn't even say a word or crack a smile, he just plonked it down on the table and went and nobody checked on me during my meal, otherwise I might've said something... It did get busy and the there did seem to be a staff shortage but come on Nando's!! I thought People Make Glasgow!!