Southbank - Clink Street - Blaynos Review
Never has it been more frustrating to write an RYN review as for this branch (the fact I'm writing this with a giant smile on my face having watched Liverpool beat City notwithstanding); it was just so damn inconsistent!
Had some free tickets to go and watch The Last Leg in the London Studios further down the Southbank between Southwark and Waterloo and decided to head to Clink Street for an earlyish dinner. I'd done some work in Southwark last summer but never made it over here and, as we tried to navigate through the maze of London Bridge and Borough Market, I'm glad I didn't try and squeeze it in during a lunch break. Certainly not the easiest branch to find, but the walk is nice enough. The market stalls were starting to shut up shop for the night as we wandered through and we eventually stumbled upon the Bills/GBK/Wagas/Nando's part of Clink Street to find what's quite possibly the nicest branch of Nando's I've ever come across!
It's another one of those branches built into the railway arches (Vauxhall/Southwark spring to mind) and there are about three distinct sections to it. Lovely high ceilings as you'd expect and it's a very spacious restaurant. Stunning decor all over the place and fantastic lighting. Varied range of seating - and I reckon there's probably parts to this branch I never even came across such is its size. Large foyer bit upon entry with tills in front of you on the right, kitchen counter just further on, and then a maze of seating through several different mini sections. If I rated this branch on decor alone, it'd be a 6 out of 5. Alas, when you add in cleanliness, it drops off. A few tables (including ours) had napkins under them and the bin next to the sink was overflowing with tissues. Evidently, that's probably in part down to what seemed like a staff shortage...
Despite there being a queue of close to a dozen people, only two tills were open. Also, what baffled me especially was that we had to wait to be seated when entering... despite there being several empty tables. We waited a fair while for our food and, although all the food we ordered did find our table, it was mixed up (if that makes sense) - two of us had both ordered butterfly burgers, but mine was without mayo - and they mixed the two up with the sides. No harm done, though. However, about 30 seconds later, I hadn't even started eating yet, we were asked if everything was ok... a bit over-zealous and we just said "yeah, it's fine" and the cockerel thingy was taken away.
Food itself was good-to-average, although I was absolutely starving. Chicken was cooked well although there could've been a bit more sauce on it. Peri chips were fine although the halloumi was somewhat overcooked. Garlic bread was very underwhelming - managed to feel both overcooked and undercooked.
Couple of other things to note: there's two sets of drinks stations but only one sauce table - despite there being a giant table in between the tills and one of the main areas of seating with only napkins on it (*there may be more of both around another corner of this vast branch, but seems like this is a missed opportunity). London Bridge is the closest station (Northern, Jubilee, National Rail), although you can walk from Blackfriars Thameslink, as one of us did, along the Southbank past Millennium and Southwark bridges (although you're obviously much nearer to the Southwark branch then). Lime Street was closed on weekends last I checked, so this branch is a nice walk away from Monument, especially given how small the One New Change branch is.
Third new Nando's branch for me this week was an extremely nice branch aesthetically, let down by a disappointing 'everything else' on this visit.