This is my first visit to a Nandos and in this particular outlet, I felt as though I had been smacked in the face by the 90s. A McMansion- style giant red chandelier, a waiter who was the living spit of Mark Owen, and world-eco-friendly block art on the walls. Drew clearly picked up on this subconsciously as he twice mentioned that someone or something was 'twisting his melon' (man).
The place was very crowded and we had to wait for a table but the backlog was dealt with efficiently and fairly. Everyone dealt with in strict order and led to a clean table. Chairs were damned uncomfortable though. Admittedly old 'fat and scant of breath' here has difficulty with small furnishings anyway, but these metallic back-crunchers were worse than usual. If you can, get one of the booths; they looked a little more comfortable.
Food was a disappointment. Admittedly, none of us were particularly adventurous, opting for the 'plain' over the spicier options. Drew declared his chicken to be 'spectacular', but my chicken-in-a-bun was a little 'meh'. The chips were fries-style, dull, not at all crispy, having the suspicious texture of the oven-cooked variety. I freely accept I may have missed the point here. You are constantly battened by references to the in-house speciality, the Peri-peri marinade. There is an enormous range of sauces and condiments that are offered as complementary to your meal, so perhaps the whole point of the blandness is to encourage you to douse everything in the special in-house sauces; and then dash to your nearest supermarket to purchase some for home. I did notice quite a number of people with several jars and bottles on the tables, liberally slopping out the contents on their meals.
This is another store, like Greggs, patronised and mocked by comedians to display their proletariat credentials, or, indeed, anyone middle class trying to be 'with it'. While it is certainly true that the place only really serves up jazzed up versions of chicken and chips, it was damned cheap and filling, they offer that rare thing - the free drinks refill - and the service was efficient and friendly. This was the most crowded place on the food concourse at Touchwood, so they must be getting something right. If you go here on your own, enjoy the lively atmosphere. Stick Pulp's 'Common People' on the iPod and sing along. You never know; they might all join in.