Harrow - High Street - Blaynos Review
Like the flip of a switch, this visit to Nando's turned from a pretty good experience to a near-nightmare...
I'm running pretty low on Nando's that I can feasibly visit in London without having to go significantly out of my way to visit just for the sake of it... but I figured I could tick off the original Harrow branch on the way home from work, with only about a 10-min detour to my usual commute. My office is only a handful of minutes from Marylebone station and I figured that if I could catch the quick train to Harrow-on-the-Hill (also on the Met line, plenty of buses too), I'd try this Nando's. Within 15-20mins from leaving my desk, I was in Harrow town centre (you can either walk through or around St Anne's shopping centre to get to this branch; the newer branch is in St George's; both have lots of parking).
First impressions weren't bad; a Nandoca came to greet me fairly quickly but I told him I was just grabbing a takeaway, and I then got served pretty quickly. Still had some RYN gift cards left and used it (although the trainee initially said there was nothing on it, but then she got it right) and I then went to sit down by the large window in between the tills and branch-front. Quite a few seats here and I can see why - this branch gets a lot of phone orders. It was all going so well...
A customer came in and there seemed to be confusion over how she could use her rewards and the guy at the till, Ayed or something I think his name was, was massively unhelpful to her. At first, I thought it was just the customer being moody... but over the course of my 20min wait for my food, it soon became apparent that staff in this branch are staggeringly incompetent. Takeaway orders were mixed up and put in the wrong bags, and I could see staff having take food back behind the counter and re-open them to check what was inside, which appears to be pretty unhygienic.
The longer I spent, the more the appearance of the branch just deteriorated, from a 3/5 "they've done well to keep an old branch in decent order" to 2/5 at best "yeah, it looks pretty cramped, low ceilings etc" - although it must be said that the sauce station is well located in the middle of the floor.
To no great surprise, after an all-round staffing performance that resembled the Liverpool team during their abject 6-1 hammering at Stoke, once I finally did get my food, from Ayed just leaning over an empty tills counter yelling out the number to what was now a good crowd of hungry people waiting. Staff usually go through the order (to be honest, this part never normally bothers me - and I normally make a quick exit on takeaways), but his complete lack and disinterest just capped him off.
Halloumi had gone luke-warm and quite rubbery and my chicken burger was average. If you're in Harrow, go to the branch in St George's. Of course, if you've got time to kill and want to see what circus clowns are doing when they're not in the circus, come here.
**I exclude the trainee girl on the till from the criticism - and hope for her sake she transfers to the other branch and learns from their Nandocas!