Kingsbury - Damien Review
Nando’s 91 is in a part of London that I’ve never been to before, a part of London I don’t recall hearing of before. When I saw “Kingsbury” on my list, I presumed it was a town I’d never heard of, not a station towards the West end of the Jubilee line. The tube is how I reached Kingsbury, a Muslim-centric area near Wembley. The Nando’s itself is by a big roundabout, on the end of the same street as the tube station, surrounded by plenty of takeaway places.
Five of us met up on a Thursday evening at our second choice of local pub (our first choice was closed due to flooding), and then moved over to Nando’s at about 6:45. The restaurant is small, not much bigger than the generic “peri peri & fried chicken” shops a few doors down. We were not instantly greeted at the door, but were eventually given a table, though pointed in its direction rather than being taken to it. We were also not asked if we’d been to Nando’s before, or given a cock on a stick. Once seated, it struck me that as well as being tiny, the place was very noisy and there were a lot of tables rammed together. Kingsbury reminded me a lot of Whitechapel Nando’s, only on a smaller scale, with older-looking fittings and fixtures. The toilets, while not involving an upstairs or downstairs hike, were also small.
Ordering went smoothly and food started to arrive at our table about ten minutes later, with the exception of a veggie pitta meal, which confusingly took at extra ten to fifteen minutes to arrive. I saw it waiting under the heater a good while before it was brought over, being ignored in favour of the other plates stacking up beside it. It’s a shame this one meal arrived so late, as the service times were otherwise quite good.
Food-wise, Kingsbury struck a little lower than average. The halal half chicken was a bit dry and small, especially the leg quarter, which was also pretty bland. The double portion of chips was also noticeably smaller than usual, and the halloumi pretty dry and overcooked. There was also not a single extra extra hot sauce bottle in the restaurant (the place was small enough to search on each table), which is Nando’s sacrilege. As we ate, the place got busier and busier and the noise got louder. People queued to the door, as the staff impatiently checked for diners who looked like they might be finishing. As we’d been given three small pushed-together tables, we had more than one table number. A flustered member of staff, wanting to reclaim one of the tables (we fit on two of them), asked us which number each table was, then rushed off slightly annoyed when we said that all the tables were ours and we didn’t know. We finished up swiftly and left without thinking of dessert, as the place was very loud, very cramped and overall very uncomfortable to be in.
From its popularity, Kingsbury Nando’s obviously has something over Pepe’s, Sana’s and Sam’s Peri Peri Chicken, but from this visit, I really have no idea what!