Watford - Met Quarter - James RYN Review
The most baffling thing about this new Nando's is why it was needed just a five minute walk away from the 'High Street' branch (I won't bring up the fact that this branch is clearly on the High Street as well). It seems Watford is attempting to reinvent the lower High Street area into the 'Met Quarter' - an area of restaurants, which are presumably to be visited while out shopping, or before venturing up the road for a night out. As it happens, I was intending to save this new branch for another night, and visit the Italian establishment next door instead. It turned out to be ‘opening soon’. This may sound blasphemous, but I did have a Nando's last night, and I promise I was going to be visiting this branch in the very near future.
Decoration: Well, this branch has that new Nando’s vibe to it, but the décor certainly isn’t anything extraordinary. I can’t recall any unique or inspiring artistic features, and it felt like any other new branch in the suburbs. That said, everything was very clean and presentable, though the cutlery/drinks area is laid out in a rather annoying ‘L’ shape in the corner, resulting in only two people being able to use the area at a time (both times I went I was one of at least four). There are also no signs of the recent flood which resulted in the branch being closed shortly after opening. I didn’t visit the branch prior to the deluge, so I can’t comment on how much of a refurbishment truly took place.
As for the other ratings, we were sat down instantly, the queue to order was short, and the time waiting for food to arrive was average. The branch did however get quite a bit busier during the time we were there, so I would be interested to revisit at such a time, and see if the Nando’s averages still hold up. When the food did arrive it was mixed, with the chips and garlic bread being average, but the chicken being distinctly below average. It was a very small breast piece, and considering I had asked for Extra Hot sauce, it was exceptionally lacking in spice. By the time the Nandoca came to ask if everything was okay (the point I would usually ask for more sauce to be swathed on), I had almost finished the few mouthfuls of meat I could find. I am therefore still quite hungry on writing this review, and no amount of chocolate can make up for the disappointing chicken I received earlier.
Perhaps a good way to conclude this review is to compare this branch to the High Street branch up the road. This one clearly wins on decoration, with the High Street branch looking somewhat tired. However, given the High Street branch is usually my local choice for good food (significantly better than Edgware at least), and based on what I have experienced tonight, the Met Quarter isn’t going to be my first choice when food is my primary concern. However, this branch has a major advantage in that parking can be found for free close by in the car park for the Tesco Extra, right outside where Borders used to be. Free parking is certainly a deal breaker at times, so I will be rather torn in the future. Considering how close these branches are, I would get the manager to investigate whether the High Street branch has a deal to get the bigger chickens, since some more impressive portion sizes would completely negate any reason to revisit the High Street branch.