St Christophers Place - Blaynos Review
Not often you get to go a Nando's on its first official day but, given this branch is in conveniently located just off Oxford Street, it would've been rude not to head down and christen the new joint.
Location: 'St Christopher's Place' is a bit misleading; it's actually on James Street, which is the round the corner from the square and adjacent to the street itself. You can easily see it from Oxford Street itself when walking past the road - and it's a 1-2min walk from Bond Street station (Jubilee/Central). If you use department stores as your navigation, it's somewhere between Selfridges and Debenhams.
Anyway, the branch itself: given the extortionate London land prices, it's no surprise that it is quite a small branch. Having said that, given the immense popularity of Nando's and the prime location, I can see this place constantly being overwhelmed (at least it's better than no Nando's at all). It's a split-level restaurant, with seating on both floors. As you walk in, the cashiers are straight ahead of you with seating on your right. Sauce station is located by the door. The wind can swirl around on side streets given the tall buildings in the area and the draft did come into the restaurant. We were seated downstairs, which is perhaps a bit *too* small. There's a range of seating from normal tables to booths, and we were sat in the latter - which was a snug fit for four people of average size! At the back of the basement floor are a series of tables that are *very* close together. Lighting is good though it could be awkward making your way through the narrow walkways if you have lots of Oxford Street shopping! - I had to wait for someone to fill up their drink just to walk by, it's literally one-person wide.
There's another set of tills at the foot of the stairs and toilets are in the form of individual cubicles - all of the stuff is touch sensitive (thankfully) although it was unfortunately quite messy already. Curiously the drinks machines and the sauce/cutlery are at opposite ends of the floor, although it's not far to walk given the size - but still a bit random.
Staff were great. A Nandoca greeted us at the entrance and double checked she had space for 3-4 people downstairs, which she did. I put 'almost full' - in reality, it was half full when we entered, and there people waiting to sit when we left (we were there 8.30-9.30 or so). Went to order my food and there was a mix-up with the guy taking my order. I had a red reward to claim but he seemed unsure whether it would go through or not but it all went well in the end (annoyingly I ordered a pitta instead of a wrap, but that's not his fault!) Staff were good throughout the meal, coming to check etc, and they easily get a 5 - especially as it's their first proper day. Food took what seemed a while to come, maybe a tad more than 15mins, but I'll let it slide given it's day 1. Another one of our mates joined us later and got some takeaway wings which took surprisingly long to come, but they gave us free nuts.
Food itself was pretty ordinary. I'll attach a photo of the meal and you'll be able to see the huge amount of salad that came in my pitta. The chicken itself was a bit small. Chips were average but well salted and the halloumi was cooked well although they felt a tad small (but the pic suggests they look normal!) Garlic bread was overdone in the centre and underdone around the edges, which was odd.
It's a 3 for decor and cleanliness. Clearly, the restaurant would be sparkling but it's just really small. I can see this place constantly getting overcrowded, much like the St Paul's - One New Change branch, with a similar amount of lunch takeaways given a lot of people work in the area. This is probably my longest review by far... to finish: I wish the staff all the best!