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Since this review was written the peri peri salt has been made gluten free.
Every experience I have had with Nando's has been different, it is evident that this chain branch knows what it's doing but every individual branch treats the handling of Coeliac or gluten intolerance different.
Birmingham Bullring branch was certainly a very different experience to what I have become accustomed too, by now I am familiar with what I can and can't have on the Nando's menu, I don't even need to look at the menu to decide what to have. However like always when ordering I ask "is it possible to have this gluten free", up to now I have never been in the same branch of Nando's twice and ordered a gluten free meal so I make sure to ask this to see what they say every time, even though I know the answer should be "yes of course", they mark it gluten free on the till and tell the kitchen staff.
This time when I asked my normal question, "can I have the mango and lime quarter chicken gluten free?", the young guy behind the counter looks bemused, I'd obviously got the right person this time, it was very obvious he's new, possibly even his first night working there. Despite his confused expression he does go and get the allergens guide and doesn't go "...what?" like I've seen happen to some people, so points to him for that!
From there he gets more confused, he does find some of the items but Nando's book splits the base marinade, the second marinade and all other various parts, but then he read it wrong and thought the chicken contained gluten. Seeing his bemusement a colleague does come over and try and help, but for the first time Nando's managed to lose points in my book by her saying "what's gluten? I don't know what it's in, is it in meat?". Oh dear Nando's, oh dear.
After 10 minutes of this, the manager comes over and explains to both EXACTLY what gluten is and what Coeliac is. From here things get much better and it basically turned into a training exercise for them, which as long as they are going to learn for next time I certainly don't mind, it's when places don't do anything about their ignorance I get annoyed.
The manager took the allergy book and went through the components of the chicken with the staff, explaining the columns in there and that that the base coat, marinade and chicken itself were all gluten free. He then asked what sides I wanted, in this case chips and spicy rice, and got the guy to check for gluten, both were fine. I didn't ask for peri peri salt but he asked the server to check for that next, I knew and he knew that that would say it "contains gluten" as it uses a binding agent, and then he also made him check any extra sauces and again those contained gluten.
After going through all the allergy information he explained that it's put through the till as normal, but needed a note adding on to advise of gluten intolerance, and to also go and physically tell the staff that it needed to be gluten free so they knew to not prepare in the same area as the burgers.
On this trip it certainly took some effort to get gluten free, but when it leads to a training session in the middle of a very packed evening it was worth that effort, knowing that the manager didn't just fob me or the staff off, they actually took notice and acted on it, admittedly they should probably have had the training before hand, but as long as I got gluten free in the end and the staff got the knowledge, it all turned out good!