Southbank - Clink Street - BaronSamedi1980 Review
A couple of days after my first RYN's reviewers dinner I was back in London and back in Nandos, this time the Clink street branch at 7pm on a Wednesday evening. This branch is one of my favourites for the beautiful building and its decor, layout and wonderful Thames side views as the restaurant is right on the south bank of the river. I was here to meet a couple of friends after work for diner and a catch up.
Interestingly Clink Street is so called because it is the location of the historic and notorious Clink medieval prison, which lead to the coining of the phase "in the clink". The prison was destroyed in 1780 during a riot but a small museum remains today which if you are in the area is well worth a visit.
I had travelled by train from Bedford to London St. Pancras and then 10 mins on the Northern underground line to London Bridge Station, the Clink street restaurant is only a short 5 min walk from London Bridge station. The are many bus routes as well as both tube (northern line and jubilee line) and overground services at London Bridge station so this Nandos is incredibly well connected and easy to get to. The are no car parking spaces on site but the are approximately 30 bicycle parking spaces nearby.
I was the first one of the three to arrive as I had made good time and got to the restaurant a little early. The restaurant was busy, almost full, when I arrived but I was greeted and seated by a friendly staff member straight away. The table was one of 5 in the raised section of the restaurant which overlooks the Thames river. The building the restaurant uses is incorporated into a train bridge. The restaurant has both a large floor space and very high ceilings from which chandeliers hang which give it a spacious and luxurious feel with many interesting paintings on display.
Despite the restaurant being almost full the were only two tills open and so the was a queue of about 15 people waiting to place their orders which took a fair amount of time to do. I purchased a jug of sangria and an "All Together Now" appetiser consisting of Houmous with Peri-Peri drizzle, Spicy mixed olives and Peri-Peri nuts for me and my friends to share.
The three glasses that I was given for the sangria were hot to the touch and still had quite a few drops of water on the inside of them. Clearly these had just been removed from the washing machine and not been allowed to cool down or been properly dried before they were given to me. But no problem, I dried them using some paper napkins before my friends arrived.
When my friends did arrive we enjoyed the appetisers and sangria before ordering our main meals - which involved another lengthy wait to place our orders as the restaurant was not getting any less busy and still only 2 tills were in operation. We waited about 20 minutes for our food after ordering but the time just flew by as our group was busy chattering away and catching up with each other’s news - oh and still enjoying that sangria!
The food was average in quality, only minor complaints such as the chicken in my Churrasco Thigh Burger being very overcook, dry and burnt (in places it looked like charcoal). Another example would be my friends chocolate cheesecake being incredibly small and quite frankly we all felt a bit stingy (I have been to Nandos where the size of the cheesecake slice was 3 times the size of the piece that my friend was given - defiantly not value for money here!).
The Staff were clearly doing their best in a very busy restaurant but I was left feeling a bit disappointed with the service. For example no quality check was carried out on our table. Another example is that we were not offered any deserts by the staff clearing our table and had to go up to the tills (and queue again - for the third time!) to place our desert order. Minor niggles yes but it makes a difference on the dinner experience I feel.
Before leaving we all visited the bathrooms which are located at the rear of the restaurant. The men’s room was clean, neat and well maintained but my two female friends both mentioned that the ladies toilets were not clean when they visited but as this is second hand information I can not really comment further on this however I trust my friends judgement so I have taken this into account for the "cleanliness" score I have awarded for this review reducing it from the 5 I would otherwise have given to a 4.
Would I come here again? Well the food and service here are both average at best and the restaurant is frequently very busy which often means long queues to order but I would have no hesitation in returning - not for the service, not even for the food but for the location. They are very lucky to have such a great building with beautiful brick arches from the railway bridge and being situated on the bank of the river also provides some wonderful views. So saved by the decor, the building and the location.