Victoria - Wilton Road - Damien Review
The 89th Nando’s on the trail was in central London’s Victoria. Though I've worked near here in the past, I've never eaten at this restaurant, being more tempted by the tasty food from of the nearby Tachbrook Street Market. Ten of us met up in a good nearby Fuller’s pub after work (we tried the Wetherspoons first, but the place was sweaty and heaving with drinkers), and wandered over to Nando’s at about 7pm. Seeing the place from the outside, it looks very modern, and I’d always imagined it’d have a spacious interior. I was wrong.
The member of staff that greeted us on the door’s face dropped when I said I had nine other people with me. We were given a single option. One large table and one smaller table a bit away. It would have been nice to be offered two tables together with a wait, but this didn't happen. It’s strange that a central city Nando’s doesn't accommodate well for groups larger than eight. While the place is pretty small, there’s some interesting décor inside, the highlight probably being an elephant statue in the middle of the restaurant. The toilets are also uncharacteristically close once you walk through the door. Our main table was up against the window. We began to order.
Food arrived pretty quickly, in more or less the same order as our place in the queue at the counter. A member of staff came to take the cock on a stick away, and asked if we have everything. I told her I was still waiting for everything I’d ordered, but she still took it. Tut tut! When my meal did arrive, the first thing that struck me was that my halloumi was almost pure white. No burnt bits, but barely cooked. It was still edible, but I’d say the crispiness is one of the best things about this side. My ¼ chicken breast was very dry. Looking around, so was everybody else’s. While it was still nice, it reminded me a lot of the “roast chicken” they serve up in Wetherspoons. I’m pretty sure it’s cooked at least twice then microwaved there, so not too sure what Nando’s have done to their chicken to make it resemble that. Being dry, the chicken didn't take too well to the peri sauce, meaning extra hot was medium at best.
Other than the lack of seating options given to us, the staff were all polite and friendly until we began finishing up. A few of us left to go back to the pub and the remaining people got grief from a member of staff, who basically asked them to leave when dessert had been ordered and there was still half a bottle of wine to be drunk. The guy stood at the table, saying he wanted to seat more people, then paced in an annoyed fashion. We eventually had to ask for a different table. We were a group of ten, had ordered loads of food and had not been here for long, so this aggressive “get ‘em out” attitude was unwelcome to say the least. If Nando’s serve wine to their customers, they should give them the time to drink it.
Overall, Victoria is a mixed bag. Well-located, modern-looking and well-staffed, but with some rude staff and dry chicken. If you're looking for a Nando's fix in Victoria, perhaps try the Cardinal Place restaurant.