In this first, and weekly if I’m feeling dedicated, food review round-up I begin our culinary journey across Manchester. Or more accurately to places near work and in town because I don’t go too out of my way for food unless I’m expecting something spectacular.
Just to set your expectations, I don’t have many pictures because when food arrives at my table I’m usually too excited to actually be eating it that I forget to take a pic for Instagram. However there is a lot to learn from pictures that can be better conveyed than in words e.g. portion sizes, dinnerware quality and drool-ability. So this month’s pictures are not the prettiest or as informative as one may hope from the debut article – in fact I don’t even have any for some of the places – but I guess that gives me the opportunity to grow.
Where: Up the road (Opposite the Lowry Theatre and 279 other branches across the UK as of 2013)
Price: A little more than one may like from such a big chain with minimal service, and don’t order an avocado salad because you will be mugged
Tastiness Factor: Satisfactory
Return Custom: Not rushing to but sure, it’s fast and convenient; like most chains you will usually have your expectations met
Let’s assume you have never been to Nando’s. It’s not unlikely, but perhaps you’re not the bantering lad you’d always thought you were. A cheeky Nando’s is almost a rite of passage for young people today. I mean, where else can sixth-formers go on dates? But that’s not to say Nando’s isn’t for everyone – everyone likes chicken, right? Nando’s is a bit of a paradox by both trying and not trying to be a more upmarket chain. Imagine Pizza Hut and Pizza Express had a lazy chicken of a child, that’s Nando’s. The food quality is good, fresh, tasty, and they offer a number of flavour and side options so that you may customize your dinner to suit you. (If you are like my tall friend that means double carbs and extra hot peri peri, with extra extra hot sauce.)
While this may sound exciting, this actually gets pretty dull. As someone who has been to Nando’s a grand total of three times in her young life, getting to pick a different spiciness of sauce or whether I want chicken in a bun or with rice doesn’t set your world on fire. The flavours are very one-note, a little tang and spice, and it’s nothing to tell your mum about. Having different combinations of unimaginative and mundane foods makes for an unimaginative and mundane meal.
Pair this with ordering your food at a till, paying before you eat, setting your own table and no check up on if your food is OK -because OK is the only thing the food ever is- the ‘dining experience’ is severely lacking. Perhaps even non-existent. There is nothing to hate or love about Nando’s. The matter of style and ‘did I go to a restaurant or a KFC that grills their chicken?’ is both a little perplexing and hollow. It’s soulless. But yes, I probably would go back. Perhaps hopefully, as though to a reliable old lover who you remember as being ‘alright’ or maybe, and more likely, out of convenience and lacking more inspired options as The Quays currently does.