Stratford - Westfield - joel.kara Review
Despite receiving a table of free desserts, this is by far the worst visit to Nandos anyone will ever experience.
Stratford Westfield, a new shopping centre; Europe's largest. One of the best things to happen to East London in god-knows how many years. As expected, there was a significant queue for the restaurant, but my friends and I were willing to wait.
However, after being in the queue for 15 minutes, they stopped admitting diners. 'Why?' I asked the host. He explained that they were trying to get the food out the kitchen to the waiting customers. 5 minutes later the restaurant was half empty, yet they still weren't letting people in. I felt that I was standing outside a nightclub full of snobs, being refused entry. Clearly, the restaurant was understaffed, unable to get the food out the kitchen quick enough, resulting in a 25 minute wait (moan number 1).
The majority of the queue was full of couples and groups of up to 4 people. With this in mind, my friend asked if we could sit in one of their fancy round booths (ideal for 6 people) although there was only 3 of us. The man said that they are saved for large groups (despite all being unused). Fair enough, stick us on a regular table for 4. No. We're stuck in the corner on a small, square table, by the toilets, in the worst part of the restaurant (moan number 2).
I went up to order my food, and I was due a whole chicken, or a quarter chicken, on my various Nandos loyalty cards. Being weird, I don't like chicken on the bone, so as other restaurants offer starters or other options as a replacements. I thought I'd be entitled to one of these options, as I always have been. 'None of the other restaurants should have done that,' said Sonny, one of the managers of Stratford Westfield (moan number 3).
Fine. Whatever. Slightly annoyed, I took my glass in a strop and went to fill up with some Coke. The straw container was empty. I asked Tomas (note: spelling), if he could find me some straws. 'I'll be right back,' he said. 7 minutes, yes, 7, I was still waiting. He flies past collecting plates from the tables. So pissed off, I raised my voice 'oi, where's my straw?' 'We're out!' he replied, as he tried to run away. 'You weren't going to tell me? [enter many swear words repeated under breath]. Have the manager come and see me at table 42!' (moan number 4).
Tracy, the [other, more competent] manager came over and explained what had happened. She apologised and offered us free desserts (which, of course, we accepted). She also explained that their shortcomings were due to recent opening and a 'learning curve'. whilst we were talking, my friends' chicken and chips arrived, cold. 'Feel that!' he said. Embarrassed, she rushed it back to the kitchen (moan number 5). Needless to say she was standing by all meal ensuring that we were okay.
A second friend went to get a refill of drinks, and managed to find a straw (Tomas, I'm coming for you!)
On a brighter note, the restaurant was probably the nicest (décor-wise) and cleanest. But then again, it was new. The toilets (as you know I like to moan) were flawless. They even had those Dyson hand-dryers that make you want to wash your hands twice!
Honestly, and in summary, it was one of the worst experiences I have had at Nandos. Partially remedied by the free dessert. I trust, however, that this will grow to be one of the best Nandos in London. The company is losing a lot of money as they are turning customers away because they are understaffed. Give it a go, let me know how you get on.
p.s. the Shopping Centre is so overrated.