Sunderland - Damien Review
Nando’s 93 was all the way back up North in Sunderland. Being a Saturday afternoon in December, I expected the city centre to be heaving, but when we arrived by car at about 4PM, we stepped in to what can only be described as a windy ghost town. The Nando’s is less than a minute’s walk from the multistorey car park, a giant illuminated Comic Sans sign pointing the way past the cinema and Frankie & Benny’s.
The Nando’s itself was also very quiet. When we arrived and got to choose our table, there were probably as many staff as punters. We sat nearish the door and front windows, in a very high ceilinged area. Normally, I’d wonder why they hadn't made the massive space above our heads into a second floor, but if this is the amount of customers they get on a normal Saturday, I guess the place is already too large.
In hindsight, I think we were too speedy at selecting our table. The area towards the back of the restaurant seemed a lot more warm and welcoming, with a row of fancy-looking booths inside arches. Oh well. We were sat right next to the till so ordered away. I went with the fillet steak wrap for the first time. A bit more expensive than the chicken options, but I was curious, not to mention due a change. The girl on the till was very friendly and asked if I wanted spice of my corn, something that very few Nando’s that I visit bother offering. Considering the staff to customer ratio, the food wasn’t as speedy as you’d expect, but it didn't take too long. They forgot a few little bits (as usual halloumi), but it was mostly all there and good. Being the first time I've gone for the steak option, I have no standard to compare it too, but I don’t think I’ll be ordering it again any time soon. It was pretty chewy, and overall tasted like a burrito I’d quickly knocked up for myself whilst drunk. The wrap also contained way too much moisture, making the eating experience a bit of a soggy mess.
While we ate, a group of about twenty students turned up, instantly doubling the amount of patrons in the building. The unimpressed looks on the faces of the staff (who were taking it chill up until this point) were priceless. After the meal, I took a visit to the toilets. No music! They were a bit messy as well. Nothing else to report.
After a little bit of shopping in the nearby shopping centre, we went back to the car park to find that parking was free on weekends in December. Score! I guess Sunderland needs SOMETHING to bring shoppers to the city centre.