Southbank - Clink Street - Pompey Ranger Review
This Southbank store is close to London Bridge tube and train station in a part of London I hadn't visited before. First off the surroundings are great, you approach either by going through the old meat, fish and grain markets most of which have been turned into trendy wine bars for the bourgeois, or past the historic Southwark cathedral which is a true tourist trap and the medieval "Clink" prison and finally it could be approached by the pathway next to the riverside. Any of these you would have to agree would set the mood and build up a hunger.
Upon arriving at the store you see it really is on the water front in the arches where the rail line crosses the river to Cannon street station. The Large arch has full length glass wall to front with a indent at bottom with massive wooden doors on the outside and glass doors on the inside. Whilst not effective as a lobby area due to wooden doors being decorative and too large to use resulting in it only being single glass doors, its well worth while as doors look impressive and wind shouldn't be too bad and at least your out of the rain when your in the porch/lobby. The glass doors were quite heavy but the staff were helpful opening the door for people.
I was told I would have a 10-15 minute wait for a table so sat down, the waiting area was quite crowded but at least there was a waiting area. I was given table 31 after a while and the Petite French waitress was very eager to carry some of my bags for me (I was on way back from holiday so was very loaded up) but the macho me insisted in carrying them myself but I appreciated the offer. I was sat in what I would probably call the overflow back room but it was mostly empty as they were holding back several tables for a birthday group of 24 that came in after 15 minutes.
I immediately queued up to order and made the mistake of getting in the left queue. There were 2 queues each with 2 tills. However the left most was also taking phone orders so kept stopping and the other left girl kept walking off. The guy two in front of me swapped to the other queue saying it was a better plan, once he had been served and I was still 5 from front I also swapped and got served before the people who had been in front of me in the other queue. The walkers need to control the queue and perhaps keep it to just one queue?
Upon returning to my table I realised in the 10 minutes in the Queue I had got my table number wrong so had ordered to table 35, I had a quick look around trying to find 35 but realised it was nowhere nearby. I asked a member of staff and he said no problem he would go correct it on the system. I took advantage of the 15 minute wait on my food to admire the store. The till, kitchen, queue, waiting area and a little bit of high seating are in the first arch. The second arch was divided into front and back by a mini arch, though both have steps up to a raised area and a mini archway window onto the river which is impressive for a Nandos view looking over the waterway and st Paul's over the river. The front arch is lavished in art work and object d'art and really quite impressive. There was a beverage station and sauce table in both the connecting archways. The back arch way is a lot more bland and had a giant black U containing the toilets and office space at the back of it. Toilets were clean and neat, the black exterior of the U was a missed opportunity for more art work or decoration and the giant pot didn't cut much sway. The copper lining and drainage to cope with leaks coming through the brickwork were decorative and definitely added something to the building in addition to the dryness they were designed for.
My food arrived and I was disappointed to see the wing charcoaled so that I had to discard it. The salad was ok though very cold and the leaves at the bottom were a little frost damaged suggesting the fridge is set too high. The staff may have been a bit distracted by the party of 24 that had just sat down in the area.
I would return to this store, but I think I would pick a sunny day during school time when its quiet and more opportunity to enjoy the store and its friendly staff without the rush or lowing of standard to cope with such.