Southwark Arches - Damien Review

Damien's picture
How Helpful?: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Number of Visits: 
This was my first visit
How Busy?: 
Almost Full
Date of Last Visit: 
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Time of Day: 
Weekday Lunch
4 / 5
Friendliness of Staff: 
4 (Good stuff. Very polite)
Speed of Service: 
3 (10 - 15 mins - Nando's average)
Quality of Food: 
4 (Above average - noticeably tastier than normal)
Decoration & Cleanliness: 
5 (An exceptional Nando's! (Please tell us why) )
Comments - Stand out in our monthly competition! What did you eat? Unique aspects? Parking/transport tips?: 

I visited Southwark Arches Nando's during work lunchtime the day after the grand opening.
On the 63 and several other bus routes, and just over the road from Southwark Jubille Line station, it’s in a prime place for business, if possibly a little close to two other Nando’s restaurants.
It was clear the place was new. Not only was the spacious repurposed railway arch well-decorated with fancy furniture and bright-looking art, it also smelt like a hardware store.
We were seated by some fairly polite staff, and given the usual lines.
There are various types of seating in this new Nando’s, the most impressive-looking being some circular tables inside what I can only describe as raised nests.
When going to order, I encountered the main issue with the place. The queuing system is terrible. Having people stand around the corner from the tills, in the way of the already busy kitchen pickup point was clearly badly thought though.
As most of the staff were still having to help one another (its their second day, I’ll give them that one), we were in this crowded area for a good 15 minutes before turning the corner to the actual tills.

The member of staff who took my order was very polite, and seemed impressed that I was going for the Extra Hot option (that’ll get old for her soon).
There was a bit of repetition and hesitation, but she seemed genuinely glad to be serving me, which is something that I seldom experience at Nando’s.
The wait for the food to come out wasn’t as long as we’d feared.
The regular portions of chips were well above average in size, though they scrimped somewhat on the peri salt.
The food was actually all well cooked, hot, and as spicy as I’d expect. Only problem was that one of our chicken pittas was crusty and over-cooked, and the other looked like it had taken 4 or 5 attempts to slice open, something I observed happening during my 15 minutes standing next to the kitchen.

Overall, the place is promising. They seem to be able to manage a busy lunchtime pretty well. All they need to do is work out a better queuing system and the correct way to slice open a pitta bread, then it’ll certainly make the 5-10 minute journey from either Stamford Street or Elephant & Castle Nando’s worth it.

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