Lakeside Food Court - Ryan Review
I've stayed many, many times in the Premier Inn in Chafford Hundred - and now there are three Nando's to choose from on the doorstep! This Nando's is in "The Eatery" on level 3 of the Lakeside Shopping Centre, meaning there are thousands and thousands of free parking spaces. Don't confuse this one with the other Nando's in this shopping centre (in The Boardwalk section (or Oar Walk since the B and D don't light up)). Chafford Hundred is the nearest train station and is about a five minute walk away.
I got here at about 7pm and there was a 15 minute wait for table - which was quite quick seeing as though there were 12 parties ahead of me on the list!
The first thing that strikes you about this Nando's are the street lights right by the entrance. Once you can get inside, there's a seating section with some booths immediately to the right as you enter which is behind a wall of mirrors and metal grids. The toilets are also through this section. The stairwell up to the toilets is all clad in wood - and the toilets themselves are all tiled in white and green.
In the main bulk of the restaurant are two slightly raised carriages with six square booths in between them, upholstered in green leather. Each of them has a couple of stone conical shaped light shades above.
To the left as these carriages is a bright yellow banquette with a high leather back - recessed slightly into the wall - allowing some black metal dome shades to them hang from the wall above it and be above the table. Lots of reclaimed wood cladded on the walls too around here.
Along the front of the restaurant is a short wooden fence acting as a separator for the pedestrians walking through the centre (which is always a bit of a turn off). There are actually a few of the tables out into the walkway, that are not even close to being "inside" Nando's at all. The tables in this front bit are quite tightly packed together, especially as there are some street lamps and pillars dotted inbetween them which the tables are wedged up against. Overall though, for being inside a shopping centre - this is a worthy Nando's to visit.
I was served by a delicious Nandoca - Rosalind. She sure did sound like a true Essex gell... never mind ;-) I went for a half chicken, with chips, rice and a ratatouille which was brought over in 7 minutes. The chicken was pretty lean - certainly below average in size and was very dry indeed. Really dry and chewy. The rice was an average size and also very dry and hard. The chips were cooked nicely but there were only 9 of them. The rice and ratatouille were put onto the same plate as the chicken in the little bowls so it left very little room to put any chips... The ratatouille was a big portion but it was cold. Very disappointing.