Middlesbrough - Jonathan Review
Well, it's certainly been a while since my last review! Over 4 years! That's not to say my love of Nando's decreased though. I've still been going as much as I can. Anyway, it was a Sunday which meant it was time for my weekly trip with my friend, Adam. We ended up going to the Cinema first and then after a very short walk, we were at Nando's. Unfortunately because we arrived late they were cleaning most of the branch so they only had a small section of tables to seat people. Thankfully, the waitress pulled our table over so it wasn't joined to another party! This did mean my arm kept getting knocked whenever someone walked past.
We never need much time to decide what we are getting so after a quick sit down, it was over to the till! I overheard Adam being told that there was no garlic bread left, which was very disappointing so when it was my turn to order I made sure to get some hummus to substitute. I was also told there was no butterfly chickens left, thanks to Adam! Once we'd ordered, we sat back down and awaited our much needed food!
Nothing bad to say about the staff, they are friendly enough. We were shown to our table pretty much straight away. The guy serving us who looked to be a manager was very polite and he brought my hummus over about 30 seconds after I sat down! The staff in this branch has changed a fair bit over the past year and I do feel that the old staff were a lot friendlier and polite than some of the staff working there now.
Speed of the food can't be faulted. It arrived quickly as expected as it was a pretty empty branch. It was around 10pm when we ordered and everyone else in the branch was also eating so there was no other orders holding ours up which can sometimes be a problem!
I can't fault the hummus and if anything it made up for the rest of the meal. I went for one of my usual meals (Half Chicken, Extra Hot with Peri chips and Coke) and I'm not sure whether it was just because we arrived late at night but my chicken had barely any spice on it which made it rather dry and the chips were very average. One of the issues I keep experiencing with this branch is the Peri salt distribution, it's often only on a couple of chips so you end up having to ask for more. Surprisingly, this wasn't an issue during this visit. The wasn't the taste of Peri Peri that I go to Nando's for so it was just standard Chicken & Chips which for £14, could've been better. The lack of garlic bread was certainly a disappointment.
Since my last review, the branch has actually had a complete refurbish! So comparing this review to my last review. There's no longer a high table at the end of the branch. This area has been replaced with 6 booths which can cater for up to 4 people (comfortably) although I've seen 6 in one of them and it looked rather squashed! Along one of the sides you've got several 2 seater tables and then on the other side you've got a couple of 4 seater tables. The front area is made up of 2-4 seater tables with 2 more booths by the door. They've moved the cutlery section to be along the far wall, in the middle so it still provides easy access wherever you're sitting. My only gripe is that the drinks machine is right where the queue is so if you go on a weekday or a Saturday night, you've got a struggle on your hands to get to the drinks machine. It would be much better placed next to the cutlery.
Much like the layout, the decor has also been updated! I mentioned in my last review that it would be great to see a better variation on decor in this branch, the kind you see in other branches. There's certainly less plants now and I like the new artwork that's on the wall. I think the way the wine is displayed above the tills is pretty unique, I've yet to see it displayed the same in any other branch. It would be good if every six months or so, they refreshed some of the paintings. It's definitely an improvement on what it was!
As I said, by the time we arrived the branch was already being cleaned so most of the tables had been wiped, the floor had been mopped and a staff member was in the process of refilling / cleaning the sauce bottles. No issues on cleanliness for this visit.
I do still enjoy going to this branch, however I do feel the quality of the food it makes has dropped significantly in the last year. Don't get me wrong, it still is fantastic... sometimes. Other times I do wish we had gone an extra 10 minutes a long the road to the Teesside Park branch. If you are planning a trip to this branch, I'd recommend going during the day. Yes it will be busier and there may be a longer wait to be seated and for your food however I feel the food quality is much better the earlier you go. If you leave it until 10pm, there's the risk of them not even having what you want and when you do arrive, it may taste dry or just generally subpar.