Lewisham - Damien Review
Nando's 86 in Lewisham was a lot more local to me than most. Eight of us arrived by a mixture of transport including bikes, busses, the DLR and car (parking in the nearby shopping centre multi-storey). Sitting just off the high street in Lewisham town centre, the two level corner restaurant has a more appealing interior than most of the scenery surrounding it. Downstairs are the counters and quite airy, modern-looking seating areas, including an outdoor patio at the back. As we were a rather large group, we were given one of the two big upstairs tables. This upstairs area is basically a small balcony with its own drinks machine. It was good being apart from the crowds and bustle but being up here did give us a prime view of the dust that has accumulated on top of the light fittings.
A few of us headed downstairs to order, where the music was very loud. Despite the lengthy queue, there was only one member of staff working the tills. She really wasn't paying attention as well. Rolling her eyes, looking elsewhere and barely saying a word, with a constant sour-puss pout on her face, she seemed to reluctantly tap in the orders through grated teeth. Manners were not present. Eventually they saw fit to open another till, but the staff member on the second till, while smellier and friendlier, kept stopping service to speak on the phone. Whether it was business or personal, I have no idea, but an apology would have gone a long way.
Back upstairs, we began the wait for our food. Despite it being a not too busy Tuesday evening, some of the waiting time was ridiculous. My side of the new sweet potato wedges (they were okay) arrived about twenty minutes before my main, which only arrived when we asked for it 3 times. There were issues like this all over the table, including a side salad that needed to be asked for 4 or 5 times before arriving half an hour after the accompanying main had been finished. The member of staff brining most of the food up to us wasn't apologetic at all, and seemed to consider their general incompetence as a bit of a joke, laughing every time we told him we're still waiting on everything we've previously told him we were waiting on, then saying “that’s it right!”. At one point, one of us went downstairs to ask where the food was and was told that it was all ready and waiting to be brought up. She offered to bring it up herself and was told by staff that she can't and they'd do it. This food took another five minutes to get to us. Suffice to say, my churrasco thigh burger was cold when it eventually made its way to me (with a bonus portion of sweet potato wedges). Not wanting to wait another age for warmer food, I just ate what I was given. Despite its temperate, it was pretty delicious.
Overall, Lewisham is a prime example of a poorly-run Nando's that could be a lot better. Maybe its the South London training, but the services really doesn't match up with the rest of the company.