Streatham - Damien Review
Nando’s #100 in South London’s Streatham must have gotten the memo that we were coming, as they’d closed for a refit for the couple of months prior to our visit. Obviously embarrassed by their 11 year old décor, they’d made sure they were fully spruced up by the time we arrived. Ten of us visited at around 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. The place was expectedly busy. We were told there’d be quite a wait for a table, but we’d have to hang around in their waiting area (a shame, as there are plenty of pubes/cafes and the like nearby). This was especially baffling as not only was their waiting area already almost completely occupied, it would not have accommodated for ten of us , even if it were empty. It was a sunny day, so we instead decided to wait outside (after checking with a member of staff to see if that was allowed).
Eventually, we were given the options of two different sections. There were no tables for ten, so it would be a couple of tables at the front or, ten minutes later, a couple of booths at the back. As we were planning to livestream the whole N100 event, we decided that the back would be better for us, so waited the extra few minutes. Our chosen tables were eventually vacated and wiped down and we re-entered the restaurant. I did not visit this place before the refurb, so can’t tell you what is and isn’t new, but it really didn’t strike me as being spacious, or even making good use of the space they had. The place was busy, noisy (not really helped by ten of us yelling at a camera) and a general obstacle to navigate. There were lots of build-ups of people on the way to the tills or condiments area and the segregated interior design just made the place feel more claustrophobic. The light fittings and art were clearly new, but there’s nothing here to make this refurbished restaurant stand out amongst some of the newer openings. We eventually ordered, and the food came out rather quickly. My thigh burger and quarter chicken with sides was pretty good, though I was really hungry at this point (not to mention pretty tipsy).
The staff became more friendly and attentive as the visit progressed. I suspect at least one of them clocked on to the fact that we were livestreaming the meal. On leaving, a couple of staff members asked me how it was. One said “if you return, that will show us that we have done well”. While the food was nice, the general atmosphere of the place is sadly not one that I’ll be rushing back to. Maybe it’s unfair judging this place on one of the busier periods of the week (or so I’d imagine), but that is when our visit fell. Still, the staff are far better here than at most of the other South London branches I’ve been to. If this Nando’s had better waiting area hospitality then it may have got a full cock more from me.