Luton - BaronSamedi1980 Review
One bank holiday Monday - Three towns - Three Nandos that I have not visited before - Part Three
My third and final Nandos visit of the day took me to Luton which is on my way home to Bedford. Despite Luton's proximity to where I live I don't often visit the town and had never been to Luton Nandos before.
I parked at the Bute street outdoor car park and once again today took advantage of the bank holiday pricing by only paying £1.10 which allowed me to park for the entire day. The are 600 available parking bays at the Bute street car park, 8 of which are for disabled visitors. The car park is to the rear of Luton train station which is served by East midland trains and Thameslink and on the London St. Pancras line. Both the train station and the Bute street car park are 5 mins on foot from the Galaxy complex
where the Luton Nandos is located. For those unfamiliar with Luton "The Galaxy" is extremely well signposted and easy to find. It is also worth noting that this Nandos is a Halal restaurant.
The Galaxy complex also hosts a cineworld cinema and a gym but the Nandos is the first thing you see when entering the complex and is located just to the right hand side of the main entrance (you can't really miss it).
I was greeted by a friendly staff member upon entering and seated straight away at table 7 despite the restaurant being very busy with 95% of the tables already occupied. I was asked if I had been to Nandos before and I'm not sure the staff member believed me when I said "Yes, twice today already".
This Nandos features high ceilings and a large glass front down one side which allows in a lot of natural light from outside. The restaurant has been given an old style, almost medieval style with stone pillars, a tiled floor, clay jars, wooden exposed beams and medieval style metallic lighting chandeliers. The lighting from these seemed to be deliberately dimmed making the restaurant slightly dark which fitted in well with the old\medieval style they have opted for. The is limited floor space available in this restaurant and the staff have done a great job of squeezing in the number of tables into this small space that they have done but the downside of this is that it can feel a bit cramped when it is busy like it was when I visited.
As I read the menu I could hear that the was some music being piped into the restaurant but the volume was set so low that you almost could not hear it and they may as well have not bothered to have the music on at all with the chosen volume level.
I went up to the tills to order and the was a small queue of 5 or so tables waiting to order but they had 4 tills in operation here and the queue moved very quickly and I was not left waiting for long – a couple of minutes at most. I ordered:
Butterfly chicken (medium) with macho peas and spicy rice.
Refillable soft drink.
Interestingly because this Nandos shares a location with a cineworld cinema they offer a 20% discount on orders with a valid cineworld unlimited card which I had and as this was my 3rd Nandos visit of the day this discount was defiantly welcomed by my wallet!
After placing my order I was handed a very hot glass for my soft drink (I think this glass might have just been removed from the washing machine and not been allowed time to cool) which initially was slightly off-putting but I filled the glass with sprite and it soon cooled down.
For accuracy I once again I timed the time taken from ordering my food to it being brought to the table using my mobile phone stopwatch, the results here were 23 minutes and 6 seconds which was very disapointing.
When it arrived I found my butterfly chicken was quite large, succulent and cooked perfectly (neither burnt nor undercooked). I found it to be delicious and full of flavour from the medium sauce. Very enjoyable indeed. The macho peas were another tasty surprise for me with a strong mix of mint and chilli flavours that I really liked - I'll defiantly be ordering these again! A quality check was carried out by the staff here as I was tucking into my food which I was able to tell them I was very much enjoying. (I have attached a photo of my main meal taken using my camera phone to this review.)
After eating I visited to toilets which are located at the rear of the Nandos. I entered to find a plumber working on the urinals which he informed me were out of order as they had been torn from their wall fittings by a previous customer. This left just one cubicle available for all the restaurants male customers to use and as you can imagine with this maintenance work being carried out the bathroom was understandably not as clean and tidy as you would expect. I also hate to think how much Luton Nandos were paying for a plumber to carry out this repair job on a bank holiday!
I left the restaurant shortly after this and was thanked and given a "goodbye" and friendly smile from two of the staff as I left which I felt was a really nice touch.
So would I return to Luton Nandos? Yes I would. I enjoyed the older style decor and atmosphere of the place and the food was really good here. The staff were also friendly and helpful throughout my visit despite the restaurant being very busy. Luton Nandos is 30 minutes in the car from my home so quite nearby and I can well picture myself back here in the future.
This ends my 3 Nandos visit in one bank holiday Monday adventure and I made my way home. As I returned home I thought that it was a bit unfortunate and disappointing to have visited 3 separate Nandos in 3 separate towns but only received one chilli on my Nandos loyalty card when I could have had 3. I think Nandos policy of one awarding one chilli per day is reasonable if multiple transactions are at the same Nandos restaurant in the same day but as I went to 3 different restaurants in 3 different towns I would have thought this should be rather different. I hope that Nandos will review their policy here along the lines of my suggestion in the future.