The thought of Nandos always brings to mind their bad PR incident with a certain Mediacorp actress. I have not avoided Nandos especially because of that incident, but I have never really had any real urge to visit that place either. After all, before Nandos came to Singapore, I had already visited it overseas while living in New Zealand, hence it didn’t really feel like a ‘must try’ when it first burst onto the scene.

However, after class, we suddenly found ourselves in Bugis and decided to head to Nandos for a quick afternoon bite. It was around 4pm in the afternoon. We stood at the entrance for a while before we decided to make ourselves known to the staff (hello! We want to earn your some $)! Literally, we could see the waitress grudgingly make her way to us and ask what we wanted. A table, we replied. Brief hesitation. She looked around before saying that the restaurant closed at 4.45pm and if we wanted to eat there, we had to be done by then. Ok, we replied (though this was a bit odd).

We ordered the Nandos whole chicken mild, with 4 accompanying sides – fries, corn, garlie bread, coleslaw. The food looked really delicious and it was so. The chicken was really moist and the sides went really well. No complaints with the food, but however, I must say that the whole experience was marred by the service. More below.

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Apart from the initial welcome treatment, the staff were slow to take our orders. One would imagine that if they wanted us to clear out quickly, they would be hovering. We waved to a wait staff who nodded and made us wait while he put on his apron and slowly sauntered towards us. Food took 20 minutes to arrive. When it did, they left us without offering any of the sauces – we had to ask for them. Even so, the waitress said that they were down to their last bottle of mild sauce and we were very lucky – What?!. And at 4.45pm, they came over and started clearing plates, even while we were still eating. Made us pay the bill while we were still eating. The waitress even pointedly asked if she could clear our half-eaten plate of slides. When we replied that we were still eating, she asked if she could box (take away) it for us. We asked for five more minutes, to which she walked away with a sour look. I mean…. to give us credit, we literally had less than 20 minutes to eat and we did not deliberately draw out our time/conversations and were working hard to finish the food. Never felt so stressed! I know we did not make the 4.45pm timeout, but surely a 5-10 min grace would have been reasonable? I mean this is a service industry right? Sure the staff should be a bit more flexible with paying customers? I even bought bottled water and didn’t ask for tap water!

So after that experience, I got a little curious and went online to check the opening times. This is what I found off the Nandos website. I guess it speaks for itself. So would I ever go back, probably not, unless I’m truly desperate.