Holborn - James Colom Review

James RYN's picture
How Helpful?: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Author: 
How Busy?: 
Almost Full
Date of Last Visit: 
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Time of Day: 
Weekday Lunch
Rating: 
3.38 / 5
Friendliness of Staff: 
3 (Not bad. Did everything I asked of them)
Speed of Service: 
4 (5 - 10 mins - Some conversation had begun)
Quality of Food: 
2.5 (Average but needs more peri spice)
Decoration & Cleanliness: 
4 (Very clean, newly furnished, impressive artwork and lighting)
Comments - Stand out in our weekly competition! What did you eat? Unique aspects? Parking/transport tips?: 

The last few weeks it's turned out that I have had a free whole chicken. As a result, my colleague and I have been heading to Southbank branch for very high standard Nando's. Southbank wasn't convenient today so we were hoping the experience there would be replicated at Holborn.

Firstly, the decoration is obviously not going to be as good as the best decorated Nando's in the country. However, the branch still earns a deserved 4/5, and retains its new feel despite having been open a couple of years now.

In a rare occurence for a visit during lunch hour, we were seated immediately, and there was only one person in front of me at the till. I soon ran into problems however, when I attempted to order our usual whole chicken, half Medium and half Extra Hot & Mango and Lime mixed. The server had a very limited grasp of English, and when he clearly did not understand what I was saying, he simply said 'No'. I said 'Yes', and he went to get the manager who promptly approved my order. This only made the language barrier more apparent, since the till worker had to explain the situation to the manager in his mother-tongue (I think Italian) since he was not able to in English. The manager and till worker then spoke to the griller in this language, while I was left feeling out of place and quite uncomfortable since I did not understand.

The food came within 10 minutes and was actually brought over by the manager himself. However, the order was wrong. We had been brought a half chicken with half Extra Hot, quarter Medium, and quarter Mango & Lime. Clearly this was not what I had requested, and it was sent back and corrected very quickly.

With the order now correct, we tucked in. Unfortunately the standard was not up to that of Southbank (who may have been spoiling us), and we both felt disappointed. The sauces on my chicken were not very well combined due to the mix up, and my colleague complained of slightly dry chicken around the thigh. This was topped off with somewhat dry rice, though the chips were up to scratch.

Overall, slightly disappointing and reminiscent of my visit to Elephant & Castle where a language barrier meant my order was mixed up and brought over with completely the wrong sauces. I have absolutely no problem with foreign workers in Nando's stores, but it would be nice if they were left to simply cook or hand out the food until their English is good enough for a non-standard order, without the manager having to get involved.

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