Oxford - Cowley Road - Ryan Review
Stopped in at this one on the way back to Brum - at about 8:15pm on a Tuesday. With there being a reasonable sized car park right next to the other Oxford branch, I was hoping it would be the same here... but no chance! There are a handful of spaces dotted along the street, but these were taken and dozens more cars just parked in the cycle lanes. A lot of the side roads are permit only and so I spent 10 minutes or so going up and down a few side streets, trying to parallel park a Mondeo, which I am crap at. Eventually found some side street about 3/4 mile walk away.
The branch itself is pretty average - in size and decor. It looks nice from the outside all lit up in the dark, but inside it's pretty plain. It's very narrow and there isn't enough space between the tables so you easily back onto someone else. There's a little raised section where there are six 2-seater tables, but these are also crammed into one another. A nice large canvas print right at the end of the restaurant and a few smaller ones on thie raised section, but nothing special. The toilets are nice. With them being unisex, I suppose they have to be kept extra clean! :-)
Depending on who the host was would depend on the welcome you got. Mine (Umesh) was standard but there was a girl who was extra friendly. Likewise with the service - I wasn't even checked on during the meal, but once this girl was clearing the tables (I forget her name...) she was very friendly. I guess this averages out to a "3".
The branch had one spare table when I arrived, so I was seated straight away, but then all of a sudden it pretty much emptied to only a few tables being used. No wait at the till and the food took 15 minutes to come.
So... so far, average decor, staff and speed - with terrible parking... BUT, this was perhaps the best Nando's meal I've ever had. My half chicken was enormous and it was scorching hot. It was so moist and succulent - and the marinade was superb. I can't quite put my finger on it - maybe they had accidentally cooked it in Medium, Hot and Extra Hot - but there was something just making my tastebuds react. The chips and rice portion were also huge. I had definitely only ordered a regular side for both, so what a bonus! The rice was moist and hot and again, something slightly different about the taste (in a good way) and the chips had also just come out the fryer. This really was a tasty, tasty meal!