St Helens - Ryan Review
Stopped in on this Nando's on my way back to Birmingham and had a delightful experience from start to finish.
It's located on St Helens Leisure Park, which is also around other retail parks, so large shops like The Range, Asda and Tescos are here, as well as Queens Park Health and Fitness - and also a Cineworld. The Citadel Arts Centre is right by it too.
Parking is plentiful and often free or very cheap. Chalon Way West is a couple minutes walk away (open 7am-7pm) and free if arriving after 3pm, otherwise 60p/1hr, £1/3hrs, £2/5hrs. Tontine Chalon Way is free from 7pm-8am otherwise 70p/1hr, £1.20/2hrs, £2/3hrs. You can also get a couple free hours on Tesco car park (which is just over half a mile walk away) - or St Helens Central train station is also half a mile walk away.
Walking up to the restaurant you can see it from a little way out as "Nando's" is spelled out in huge letters on the big two-tier glass panels curving around the front of the building. Inside the curved theme continues with a large circular booth underneath a big tepee style shade, with a larger curved wall outside of this with several two-seater tables against it. Booths are over towards the back with plenty of table/chair sets then in the windows.
The decor is fantastic. As well as the massive tepee shade, there is loads of different lighting throughout. Different coloured orbs in the booths, metal conical cases above the till and then the stairwell up to toilets has a lavish pipework of shades running across each other. Artwork is plentiful, from a brightly coloured tiled floor, to large canvas paintings and large mosaics on the walls and in the stairwell - to a very nicely decorated toilet and some shared washing facilities, and then a tall 5ft (dragon?) sculpture just outside the toilets... this really is one of the nicest decorated Nando's there is.
I arrived at about 3pm, so it was pretty quiet - and infact for a moment I was the only person in there, so needless to say there was a big warm welcome and a chatty and pleasant Jude (or Jade?) took my order at the till. Friendly chatter to other customers who came in too and some laughing and joking.
The food came in just under ten minutes and, being sort of lunchtime, I had the chicken fillet burger and chips - and it was easily the best one I have had in a Nando's. The fillet was massive and much thicker than normal and cooked to perfection. It was too big for the crispy bun - which was great and was smothered in sauce. If anything there was too much sauce as it all slipped apart in my hand... but that was part of the fun! It was so saucy that some of the sauce that did fall out almost covered my chips, so there was barely the need for anymore. The slice of tomato was huge too - again a little bigger than the bun and the lettuce was nice and crispy. The chips were hot and crispy too. Beautiful.