Hemel Hempstead - Ryan Review
On my way back North and passing Hemel, so it'd be daft not to stop in on the second day of opening! It's located on Jarman Park which is home to an XC (an indoors rock climbing, skateboarding place), an Empire Cinema, a Gym Group gym and other eateries as well as a large Tesco. There are hundreds of free spaces to the left of the cinema as you approach in the car. Both Apsley and Hemel train station are about 2 miles away.
This Nando's is very bright from the outside thanks to four large green felted booths with yellow tables, four small two seater tables with yellow metal chairs and more green bench style seating - all surrounded by some planters. There are some nice copper piping lights hanging over some of the tables too.
As you enter, above your head are some small but colourful small wicker style shades. The entrance is also the seated waiting area and the wall on your left is bare brick with three bright paintings on it. In front of you are the tills as well. To the right of these the restaurant opens up to the main seating area. At the front are half a dozen or do circular tables to seat four and then heading towards the back are three rows with four large semi-circular booths in browny leather on the left, several two-seater tables down the middle and on the right some more square booths. Just down from the tills and past the serving hatch are a couple of booths tucked under an alcove and next to this are four sort of mesh structures with some colourful fabrics strung on them in a diamond pattern. These structures are acting as a separating wall to four large semi-circular booths.
Toilets are right at the back and are tiled in a patterned yellow with a yellow sink and mirror surround. It's an odd layout though. The door opens into the handdryer, so if you're drying your hands you will be hit and there are some lights above the sink which are far too low - so when you wash your hands, you will hit your head.
The ceiling is made up of lots of pieces of reclaimed wood all fastened to the ceiling as separate pieces. Against the walls are lots of pieces strung off one another - making a stack of some 15 pieces filling the whole of the walls. In the back of the restaurant there are then six large and bright paintings fastened onto the makeshift wall. The lighting is mainly LED strips on some of the pieces of wood with some hidden spotlights within other pieces. A solid 4.
I got here at about 3pm and it was under half full so was surprised when I was told my burger and chips would be over half an hour! Luckily it came in 8 minutes. It was standard meal. The chicken fillet didn't quite cover the burger and was an average thickness - with an average amount of sauce on. The portion of chips were hot enough and was also an average portion size. Just as expected!
Staff were friendly enough and doing as expected.