Tamworth - Ryan Review
With a huge thanks to Nando's, I was lucky enough to be invited to one of the dry run days at this long awaited Tamworth branch. The saga of whether a Nando's would open in Tamworth, is what prompted the creation of the Rate Your Nando's Opening Soon & Restaurant Rumours page. It was on Nando's' very own website where a graphic in early 2010 appeared saying "Opening Soon... Tamworth", yet nothing more was ever heard nor to be found for a while... and now four-and-a-half years later, it has finally opened! I'm pleased to say it was well worth the wait and if the dry-run visit was anything to go by, this place will be bustling for years to come.
This Nando's is in the old Allied Carpets store on Ventura Park and has a Costa and Pizza Express as its neighbours in its own little strip. There is parking right outside on this little strip, but only about 50 (official) spaces so be prepared to park elsewhere on the retail park (I.e. outside John Lewis or Sainsbury's) which will give you just a minute or so extra walk. Tamworth train station is just over 1 mile walk away. Tamworth castle is half a mile walk away and the nearest cinema (Odeon) is just under a mile walk away by the Ankerside Shopping Centre.
Arrived here in a party of five at 6:30pm and although it was bursting full with people and all the tables outside were full - and there was a queue outside and also inside at the waiting area by the till... our table was immediately given to us and we had the large semi-circular yellow-leather booth right at the back behind the drinks/sauce station. It's the table you cannot see from the door and so does offer a little privacy. It has nice lighting and also has wooden clad onto the walls to look like a tree trunk.
The rest of the seating is in a big square with the seating in rows of booths, benches and tables/chairs. Two sides of the restaurant have long length windows letting a lot of light in and above all of these windows up to the high ceilings are large canvas paintings all the way round the walls high above the tables. There's a lot of different lighting with the main lighting being similar to Gateshead, where small bulbs are connected in a big group by sticks making it look like you're looking at constellations.
The stairs up to the toilets are lit in yellow with half a dozen or so canvasses at the top of the stairs - and the toilets are decorated in a black/white triangular tiled effect. Overall - nicely decorated branch.
The staff were so friendly, especially Phil (West Brom) and Jim who greeted us very warmly along with everybody else they were meeting. Arran was also very enthusiastic. We were checked on plenty of times during the meal and had a good chat with all the staff. There was also an incident with a dropped glass to which a couple of Nandocas also threw themselves onto of the broken shards on the floor to prevent anyone going anywhere near it and they they went round and check with at least 10 people that they were all okay incase any stray pieces shattered their way.
As I say, it was absolutely rammed and being a dry run day with all the newbies I was expecting the food to take a little while to come... but the five meals all turned up together in under 10 minutes - and the food certainly did not disappoint. I had my regular half chicken with chips and rice and it was as good as the best I have had. A huge, piping hot, caked in sauce, juicy half chicken with a huge portion of hot and crispy chips. The little rice bowl couldn't even be balanced on the plate and was brought separately as the chicken and chips were such a big towering portion... and the rice was also piping hot and lovely and moist.
Overall this was fantastic Nando's!