Manchester - Arndale - Elliott Waters Review
Nando's quest continues, with Manchester - Arndale as today's lunch location.
I approached the outlet from Piccadilly Gardens, navigating the Arndale, and was greeted by a Nandoca. As it was lunch time, it was quite busy, and I had to wait 15 minutes for a table. I always like to sit further away from the entrance in this outlet, however this was not to be on this occasion and I was seated right near the 'barrier' which divides the mall and the outlet. Short ponder of the menu to wait for the queue to go down, and I went to order. The ordering process was fairly average, nothing special, and I returned to my table via the cutlery and sauce area.
The outlet is on two levels, and mainly located 'outside' in the mall, rather than 'inside'a retail unit. This does give you the impression of being on show in a zoo, which I don't like. There is no real 'barrier' between Nando's and the mall, other than a small barrier with the Nando's logo on it. The outlet is split on two levels, the ground (which is actually Arndale Level 1) and the first floor (Arndale Level 2/car park access). The tables are quite closely packed together on the ground floor, which contains 90% of the outlets seating, with the final 10% and more desirable seating being located on the first floor. There is a lack of decoration in this outlet, only really a few plants, mainly as it's predominantly outside and there aren't any walls. The cutlery, sauces, till and grill are located right at the rear of the outlet with the toilets, inside the retail unit.
The meal arrived after around 15 minutes, which is about average considering how busy the outlet was. I ordered a chicken burger mango and lime with chips and salad. The chicken was hot and juicy, but a little on the small side. Tomato suffered from the age old problem of being mushy, but the lettuce was OK. The bun was quite warm, but a little stodgy. The chips were fresh and burning,washed down with lashings of lemon and herb sauce. The salad was reasonable, nothing special, was rather warm as if it had sat under the hot plate for a while, which is bad as it dries out the salad!
The Arndale outlet is located in Manchester's Arndale Centre, within the main mall as apposed to the Food Court. It is surrounded by a couple of other eateries, however it is mainly retail outlets, and a small area called the 'Manchester Markets' (which have some amazing beer) close by. Easilly accessible, with a large car park for the shopping centre, but also being very close to the Piccadilly Gardens and Shudehill bus stations if you are coming in that way. Also close to Manchester Victoria station, with Manchester Piccadilly being a bit further away. Tram wise, the Market Street tram stop is currently the closest, however from 2016 the closest stop will be Exchange Square (currently under construction).
Overall, a reasonable outlet. There are four Nando's all very close together, so if you find this one has a queue, or are after a top quality Nando's experience with a decent meal and wonderful artwork, I would recommend the Manchester - Piccadilly Nando's, which is located off Piccadilly Gardens. With this outlet, nothing really stands out, and it's quite difficult for anything to stand out, as it's not really got the Nando's charm, it's more just a few tables in a shopping centre.