Oxford - Cowley Road - Damien Review

Damien's picture
How Helpful?: 
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Author: 
Number of Visits: 
This was my first visit
How Busy?: 
Half Full
Date of Last Visit: 
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Time of Day: 
Weekend Lunch
Rating: 
2.13 / 5
Friendliness of Staff: 
2 (Quite rude, ignored me as they walked past)
Speed of Service: 
2 (15 - 25 mins - Where's the food? Might have asked a staff member)
Quality of Food: 
2.5 (Average but needs more peri spice)
Decoration & Cleanliness: 
2 (An old Nando's, needs some investment)
Comments - Stand out in our monthly competition! What did you eat? Unique aspects? Parking/transport tips?: 

Nando's 46 is just outside the main city centre of Oxford, on Cowley Road.
Early on a February Sunday afternoon, we parked up about 5 minutes walk away, in a pay and display car park that cost us £4 for the duration, and walked to the restaurant to find that it looks rather nice on the outside.
The wooden panelling and big red cock logo on the outside made this probably ex-pub structure stand out from all the recent retail and entertainment park Nando's we've visited.
The visual aesthetics inside seemed at first quite nice, but problems became apparent soon after we arrived.

6 of us were placed on a table for 4, near the entrance, and a slow moving queue. There was also a small nearby table that just seemed there to get in the way.
The member of staff who seated us at the table tried to take away one of our chairs while some of us were up ordering food, because it was "in the way".
This chair, the queue, and the tables were also competing for space with the drinks fountains and condiments station. It was quite a messy clutter, especially considering there weren't that many diners in.
I'm not sure if the staff were burning a lot of food or if the place is just badly ventilated, but the restaurant was also varying levels of smoky for the duration of our stay.

Most of our food came out rather late (the member of staff only coming over to speak to us to ask us if a car parked out the back was ours). There were no complaints about the chicken, but the creamy mash was very crusty on top, and my veggie pitta was rather bland and uninspiring.

The most noteworthy feature inside is that the toilet (doubling up as a fire escape) was unisex, and had 2 cubicles without paper and one without a lock (though there was a laminated sign on the door pointing out that there was no lock). There was also a lot of clutter and mess in this toilet, such as piles of bins and toilet brushes. The male/female toilet/fire escape also obviously quadruped up as a storeroom.

The place looks quite special outside and could have so easily been nice, but our experience today was of a slow, messy, cluttered Nando's.
Maybe they should have found a building on the street where they could actually fit everything they wanted inside.

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