Manchester - Piccadilly - Damien Review
My first ever visit to Manchester’s newish Piccadilly Gardens Nando’s was off-the-cuff and hangover induced. After traipsing around town for several hours, I headed there to meet friends and have lunch. Considering how busy and rowdy the Piccadilly Gardens area is day-in, day-out, I was surprised to enter the spacious restaurant and find it quite relaxed. I really was expecting something along the lines of the unorganised catastrophe that is Printworks Nando’s.
We were greeted at the door and told there’d be a 15 minute wait for a table of four. The waiting area was at the back of the restaurant, near the tills. Other groups were also waiting, but there were seats for us. A couple of minutes later, a friendly member of staff offered everybody waiting a table downstairs, but we declined, as we were still waiting for another two people. When they turned up, we asked for a table, and got one on the ground floor, a booth near the windows.
Lots of Nando’s with large windows have big blinds that come down when it’s too sunny. I guess they didn't bother considering the sun up here in Manchester, as Piccadilly Gardens Nando’s is blindless, and the sun glared down onto our table for the duration of our meal. It was a proper sunglasses indoors situation.
The ordering process went fine. I decided to go with a veggie pitta, as I’d had quite a lot of chicken in the past few days. The food didn't take too long to come out (in fact, beside a couple of sides, all our plates got brought over in one go), and none of the orders were messed up, though the halloumi slices were a little on the puny side. I did enjoy the meal, but the pitta bread was a tad on the dry side. The veggie patty was also a little bland, though I can’t be entirely sure that this wasn't in fact a product of the previous night’s drinking binge.
We didn't hang around for long after we’d all finished eating, possibly due to the overwhelming brightness. All-in-all, I’d say I was impressed by the Piccadilly Gardens Nando’s, though. It could have been a right messy cattle market of a place, but they’ve done well. It’s staffed by friendly people, and large, airy and bright. Perhaps a little too bright on sunny days such as this. While Spinningfields still holds my Manchester top stop, Piccadilly now holds the silver.