Hounslow - James RYN Review
Parking at this branch is quite easy to find in the evenings, since you can park right outside in the bus lane. At other times it could be tricky and would require a medium walk from one of the sideroads in the area. Either way, you shouldn't have to pay.
The station is very close and may well be your starting point when visiting this Nando's. It was my first time to Hounslow, and the area wasn't particularly striking, with a basic selection of non-chain shops and Asian cuisine restaurants and takeaways. In the middle of all this is the Nando's, which was very busy on a Sunday night.
First the staff. They were all distinctly Nando's average and not a single one of them impressed me. The woman at the till did her job but was very casual and didn't give a fun Nando's vibe. That said, they were still very attentive, and we were asked how our food was a couple of times, and said goodbye to on the way out. I suppose that in terms of adhering to the 'Nando's way' they were top notch, but given this section includes the word 'friendliness', they get a low rating unfortunately
When making my order I immediately asked for my free half chicken, but was told that chicken on the bone was going to take over half an hour to arrive. This was slightly baffling given there were lots of chickens being grilled at the time, but I accepted it and opted for a burger instead (free half was later had in Covent Garden and thoroughly enjoyed).
The food was brought over within about 10-15 minutes and It was very mixed in quality. The most disappointing aspect (by far) was the portion of large peri-chips. There was just something completely different about them, and they seemed more like the kind of cheap chips you would get at a local kebab shop, rather than the usually fantastic Nando's offering. As a result, I hardly ate any of them, and it really felt like something was missing from my meal. Rice was pretty standard, and my burger was a decent size, nicely coated in sauce (which wasn't particularly spicy for extra-hot), but not particularly tender. My usual expectation in Halal branches is that the chicken portions will be smaller (as admitted to us by a manager in Slough), but this one wasn't, so that was good I suppose. So overall on the food, a big 3/5 brought down to a 2/5 by the chips.
Decoration was fresh and new but with no unique aspects catching the eye. As a result it almost perfectly fits the 3/5 description! Thinking back on it now a couple of days later, I can't recall any of the artwork or lighting - this is something I would suggest could be improved on, though I realise Nando's in the suburbs don't get the investment of city-centre branches.
So would I go out of my way to return to Hounslow Nando's? No. Would I purposely avoid it if I was in the area? No. This Nando's reminded me very much of Edgware: average, average, average, but with the distinct feeling that if a bit more effort was put in, it could be much better. Sort out the chips please!!