Middlesbrough - Jonathan Review
It was Thursday night, which meant it was time for the highly anticipated weekly trip to Nando's with Adam. We went a bit later than usual as I had some stuff to do beforehand, but nevertheless we made it with around 1 hour to go before the branch closed!
For those of you that haven't visited the Middlesbrough branch before, it's situated about a 5 minute walk from where the bulk of the shops are and is next to Cineworld which means you can also go shopping during the day or watch a film! Now, as it's next to Cineworld, I'd strongly advise not going on Wednesday nights. The reason for this is Orange Wednesdays, as the branch can get extremely busy and it can sometimes be a 20-30 minute wait for a table. Parking shouldn't be a problem as there's a huge car park next to it and in the unlikely event that is full, the main parking for Middlesbrough is about 5 minutes walk away. I find the best times to go to this branch are either in the evenings or just as it has open for the day as it's usually less busy which means less waiting time.
We arrived at the branch shortly after 10pm, there was a couple of tables occupied but these quickly became empty. We were greeted by the Manager who recognised us as frequent visitors so didn't bother asking if we'd been before and showed us to our table. After a couple of minutes at the table, we went up to order and I ended up having a good chat with the Manager about a hobby that we both used to be in to 7+ years earlier as I recognised him from it.
I've definitely had better food from this branch and I believe it was down to us arriving that bit later than usual. The garlic bread and chips were fantastic, there was an excellent amount of peri salt on the chips, they were just the right crispiness and the garlic bread was exactly how I like it which is more soft than crunchy. The chicken however, was slightly disappointing. I couldn't really taste the spice on quite a lot of it which made me wonder if they had applied the spice to all of it. I ate it all, but it certainly wasn't the best pieces of chicken I have had from there.
As I go to the Middlesbrough a lot, certain staff now recognise me, which means you don't get the standard "have you been to Nando's before?" question every week, which I think is good. The Middlesbrough branch team are an excellent group of people and definitely have some of the friendliest staff working across the whole of Nando's. They are always happy to help if you have a question and always deliver 100%.
The speed of the food arriving on this visit was about 10 minutes which is about average for this branch. This is not a problem though as it gave me time to get my drink, get back to the table and then realise because I spent a few minutes talking to the Manager, I didn't get a receipt with my reward points code on to redeem when I get home. Luckily though, I have requested a new one so I can use it when I am actually ordering!
Even though I go to this branch a lot, I still really like the layout of it. The tables are mostly set up in a way that doesn't seem crowded. They've got sections that cater for parties of 2, 4, 6 and then at the back of the branch they have a high table which can fit a party of 10-12 people. The drinks machine and cutlery section is in the middle of the branch which means it's a small distance away from wherever you end up sitting in the branch which I think is sometimes a problem in other branches.
I enjoy the Decor of the Middlesbrough branch. I have certainly been to branches that look a lot worse inside! The branch is full of authentic artwork, pots and plants that give the branch that classic Nando's feel which we all know and love. There are however, some pieces of decor that I have seen in other branches that I really do hope make it to Middlesbrough next time it goes through redecoration.
I don't really have any complaints about the cleanliness of the branch because it always seems to be clean when I'm in it! As I usually go at around 9pm-10pm, a lot of staff are already cleaning the branch for the next day including giving the tables a full clean, cleaning the floor, cleaning the drinks machine, cleaning the cutlery and cleaning the sauce bottles.
Although the chicken wasn't the best I've had, it didn't lessen my thoughts on this branch as it was still a fantastic evening. The staff were friendly, the food was good and the branch was pretty much empty (which is how I like it!). To make it even better, the manager gave us free desserts which was completely unexpected!
Like I said earlier in my review, it's best to go to this branch when it has just opened (12pm) or late evening around 9pm (shuts at 11pm), as it is a lot less busy around those times. There's plenty to do during the day within a short distance, you can check out the shops or the Mima Art Gallery, both around a 5 minute walk away. If you're a film fan, the cinema is right next door!