Swiss Cottage - O2 Centre - Elliott Waters Review
Another RateYourNando's reviewer dinner, this time in Swiss Cottage - The O2 Centre. This outlet is located very close to Finchley Road, West Hampstead, and Finchley Road and Frognal stations which between them are on the Metropolitan, Jubilee, Overground, and Thameslink lines giving excellent coverage to all of London, and most of the South East. There are also a large number of bus routes passing right outside, simply look for Swiss Cottage - The O2 centre, on Finchley Road. I marched up from Finchley Road station off the Metropolitan line, and it took me a few minutes, until I reached the main entrance for The O2 centre. Walked in, and Nando's is on the right hand side.
The outlet doesn't have a door as such, as it is inside, the entrance is very open. As you enter, there are a large number of tables either side of a central walkway. The cutlery and sauce point is on the right hand wall, with the till and grill, which are incredibly small, on the rear left. There is a large barrel which has space for 8 Nando's fans, and just after this barrel, the outlet has a small secluded section at the rear, which is where we were seated. There is a large amount of South African artwork in this outlet, on nearly every wall there is artwork. The lighting is a little dark, throughout the evening the levels kept being adjusted, which plays havoc with your eyesight. Toilets are located on the upper level. I met the usual suspects, along with many newbies who were having their first taste of the Reviewer Dinner experience, and we took our seats for what would be a fun filled evening of 28 Nando's fans coming together to enjoy some chicken.
After quite a wait and a few nibbles, the first item on the reviewer dinner agenda commenced, the raffle. I didn't win anything, so I shooted off to the till as knowing 28 Nando's fans were about to order, it could be quite a wait! I approached the till, and there was no one on there. Despite having seen 28 of us appear, knowing we were there, and would be ordering at some point, there was no one on the till. One person did appear, and it took a while to log in to the till, before the first order was taken. I was then second, and it took a further long period before a second Nandoca appeared, despite the queue now streching all the way out the resturaunt door. The order process was fairly good, although I did have to prompt for the group discount to be applied. I then went to pay with a gift card, which was shoved in to the chip and pin machine, before realising it's actually a gift card. I'm guessing the Nandoca was quite new (but didn't have a trainee badge!), as it took quite some time to work out how to do a gift card payment. After that tribulation, I returned to the table.
As the second to order my meal, I didn't end up waiting as long as some, close to the 15 minute mark, but two on my table received their meals after a staggering 40 minutes and three trips to the till to ask where they were. I ordered a Churrasco Thigh Burger Mango and Lime, with chips and salad. I seem to have really become addicted to these burgers, and it will probably continue. The burger bun on this one, was rock hard which isn't good. It did make eating the burger somewhat difficult. The thigh was quite warm and had a nice amount of BBQ PERi-naise on it, but (and I didn't think this was possible), it had far too much peri-sauce on it, which overwhelmed the burger, meaning you didn't get the taste of the fino-coleslaw, or the cheese, it was just a mash of Mango and Lime mixed with BBQ PERi-naise. As mentioned, I didn't really notice the fino-coleslaw or cheese in the burger, which is a bit dissapointing. The chips were average, and the salad was quite a small portion compared to other outlets.
Following the meal, the plates were cleared, and a Caramel cheesecake appeared. It was an absolutely tiny piece, probably one of the smallest bits of cheesecake I have had in a Nando's.
After munching dessert, the typical RYN quiz ensued, where three teams battled it out for the ultimate prize - a bottle of sauce. The reigning champions 'Not Them Again' retained their title, scoring 11/20 in what was quite a difficult Quiz with lots of Football questions (Don't do Football). Quiz over, it was time to disband, and I headed off to Finchley Road Underground station for onward travel. A good meal and a good reviewer event!