Kid Friendly Restaurants – Nando’s

EncycloKidia Rating: KidFriendly
1-5 Bond St, London W5 5AR
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We live very close to the Nando’s on Bond Street and it’s one of my daughter’s all time favourite places to eat at. So we’ve been there often and I have a lot to share. While this review is for the Nandos at Ealing Broadway, I’ve been to many Nando’s and I suspect much of this can apply to most of the 315 Nandos in the country.

The restaurant takes care of basic amenities for children. There is separate toilet for changing babies – as with Wagamama, shared with the disabled toilet. Its located at the back end of the restaurant. Walk past the tills and its to the left. There is a space to park buggies, close to the wash station or next to the host’s table. Also on most days there is enough place between tables if you want to keep the buggies next to your table. The host/hostess will bring along a pot of crayons and colouring paper when they take you to your table, so the child has something to do right from the start. They have several options for their colouring paper, including a special Christmas one, so if you don’t like the one you’ve got you can ask for a diferent. I haven’t seen this in any other restaurant – nice if you go there often. The crayons are stacked in tiny clay pots and my recommendation here to Nando’s is to put the crayons in sturdy plastic container. At least once per meal, I’ve had to do an Angelina Jolie, Mrs Smith mid-air catch as the crayon pot flies off the table with my daughter’s now classic “oh dear!” being the only warning I get.

The colouring paper also features the Nandinos’ menu. It is a fixed price menu, priced reasonably according to me. For £5.50 you get a mains, two sides and dessert. Even though it doesn’t look like much, with 4 mains, 7 sides and 2 dessert options you can get 52 meal options. Plus you can add milk or juice for another quid/quid and a half.  The items on the mains are smaller portions of the items listed on the adult menu made a little easier to eat for tiny hands. For example the vegetable patty or the chicken fillet are cut up into strips. The side include chips and garlic bread, but also offer healthy options such as beans, corn on cob etc. They also provide good options for dessert – changing flavours of frozen yogurt and Benson’s Chilly Billy Lollies. The Lolly packaging said that it had no added sugar and I checked their website, the lollies have no preservatives either. Overall reasonably good choices.

The only thing I would change, and I’ve shared this with their manager, is the drinks. The glass of milk is great, but the juices are sugary bottle green products. The bottles are kid sized and in a single serving the child get’s only half the bottle diluted with water, but it’s still not what we’d want the child to have if we are trying to control sugar intake. It may be tough for Nando’s to provide fresh juices, but it should be possible stock unsweetend, bottled, 100% fruit juice. Hopefully someone from Nando’s HQ will read this, as I suspect this will need to be a central office instituted change. I should also add that while I usually stick with water for my daughter, I took in freshyly squeezed juice from outside into Nando’s once and the staff either didn’t notice or were lovely enough to understand.

The service at Nando’s varies. I’ve yet to meet anyone there who has been annoyed with my daughter running around or throwing things on the floor (the ultimate tests of patience for busy waiters/waitresses). However, how much they will go out of their way to talk to and entertain her depends I think on how much each server is into kids. There a few who are just awesome and love talking to my little girl, and then others who are polite but distant and that’s fine too. One server made my day when I went to take photos. She said – I know you, you have come here before with your really cute daughter. I remember your little girl. :)

Finally, if you like freebies, Nando’s provides loyalty cards. 10 visits with a minimum £7 spend gives you a free meal. Awesome if you go as often as my daughter makes us.

I love Nando’s and based on all of the above it gets a KidFriendly rating, but there are few things you should consider if you are going there with a child. It is a very popular restaurant and gets very busy and during peakhours. During this period one has to wait for 10-30 minutes to be seated. They have a waiting area but this also gets packed when things get busy. The time lag between placing the order and getting the food at the table also increases during these periods. Food that usually takes 10-minutes to be served, can take 30-minutes. 30-minutes can feel like a lifetime if you have a restless, hungry child on hand. So if you can  get there just a little before peak hours and save yourself some wait.

In addition, if you’ve been to a Nando before you will know that you have to place your order at the till, where they also give you glasses for your drinks. Taking these back to the table can be tricky if you are on your own with a child on one arm. The staff will always help if you ask for it, but again during peak hours they are so slammed it may be difficult to catch someone’s eye.

That’s my review for Nando’s @ Ealing Broadway. If you’ve had a good/bad “child” experience at Nando’s – share it here.

Related Stuff:

1. Maggie’s @ Ealing Broadway
2. Wagamama @ Ealing Broadway
3. Chimichanga @ Ealing Broadway
4. Abu Zaad in West Ealing
5. Patara @ Oxford Circus

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