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If like me you enjoy eating chicken, then I'd have to recommend a visit to Nandos Chickenland.
Having read this review, you may ask if I work for Nandos, well for the record I don't but I am one of there regular patrons In any case if I did I’d probably be fed up of chicken and would certainly not want to write about it!
Like many other other chicken establishment Nandos is a chain, but don’t let that put you off. Nandos has very little in common with other chain restaurants, for starters each location is very unique in décor and is run by an individual team with an independent manger. I would not classify Nandos as a ‘fast-food’ joint but as restaurant, with many regular customers.
You need not be concerned about the food being stale, every piece of chicken is cooked to order. The chicken is cooked on an open grill so you can see your meal being made and smell that delicious peri-peri aroma as it gently wafts through the place.
The Nandos protocol, if you can call it as such, is straightforward and uncomplicated. You find a table and take a note of the number, place your order, wait around 10 minutes for your food to arrive and then you eat, stopping now and then for a breath of fresh air and a well needed drink!
Whilst waiting for your meal to arrive, you can always watch the chicken basting on the open grill or sit at your table whilst the exquisite smell of per-peri permeates its way round the restaurant. Peri-peri is at the heart of Nandos and is very evident in menu.
If you are eating at the restaurant then you can help yourself to the ‘bottomless’ soft drinks and try out the excellent ‘dipping’ sauces which come in very hot, hot, medium and mild peri-peri, garlic and herb, and of course tomato ketchup. Those regulars familiar to Nandos will know why you need an endless supply of drinks!
Takeaways are possible and I have done so on many occasions, however to get the full Nandos experience I would highly recommend eating at the restaurant where the food will be hot and fresh, and you can always order more.
The chicken itself is ‘flat’, which can be a surprise to those new to Nandos and has been rumoured to put some children off in the past (but I believe that happens in Oz rather than the UK). The flatness of the chicken ensures that the marinade of exquisite spices ‘clings’ better and that the chicken cooks more evenly on the grill. The marinades available are lemon and herb, mild peri-peri, medium peri-peri, hot peri-peri, and, for those who are really adventurous very hot peri-peri. The chicken is mouth-watering delicious and your first taste will be unforgettable. I recommend that if it’s your first visit to Nandos that you begin with the milder versions of the chicken as the hot stuff can really blow your mouth and set you’re your tongue on fire! So if you attempt the hot stuff then have lots of drink available because you’ll need them!
To go along with the chicken you have the choice of normal or jumbo fries, served plain or dusted with peri-peri, Portuguese bread rolls, peri dip, and a variety of different salads. On the drink side you can get beer, sangria or bottomless soft drinks from the self-service. The latter obviously has its benefits when eating the hot chicken. When eating in the restaurant you also get the ability to sample the various Nandos sauces – so you can always try a milder chicken with a hot sauce! The sauces are available in garlic, , mild peri-peri, medium peri-peri, hot peri-peri and extra hot peri-peri – not for the faint hearted.
For families or hearty eaters you can also buy combination meals that are in general good value for money and can ‘reduce’ the overall cost.
I would recommend accompanying your chicken with the peri dip, the peri-peri chips and some bread rolls. Eating some of the chicken in a bread roll with a bit of sauce is out of this world! Just writing about it is already making me feel hungry.
Knives and forks are supplied but these should only be used sparingly! Eating chicken necessitates the use your fingers so don’t be afraid to get stuck in – everybody else does. Don’t worry the restaurant do provide a sink, soap and towels for you to use after you’ve finished!
Nandos are children friendly, and supply pictures and crayons to keep your children busy whilst they’re not eating, which shouldn’t be for too long – before I forget I would recommend the Lemon & Herb chicken for the kids. They also have a small number of high chairs for the younger folk.
My sister and her family first introduced me to Nandos around seven years ago when they were living in Zimbabwe. Now I’m hooked! There are an increasing number of Nandos around London and the rest of the UK. I have tried the ones in Earls Court and Putney, but my ‘local’ is the Clapham branch.
Nandos have recently changed their prices. But from memory a whole chicken is around £8.25, a family meal (whole chicken, jumbo fries and two soft drinks) around £13.50, a peri dip about 30p, and a bread roll about 45p. A family meal will satisfy two adults and possibly one child. So as you can see it is not too expensive. For those with larger parties, Nandos does take credit cards and other forms of plastic.
For those who like to experiment at home, you can buy some of the Nandos sauces or marinades at the restaurant. Alternatively, they are becoming more available from you your local supermarket. However nothing beats eating at the restaurant.
You can try a takeaway, but unless you live nearby the chicken and chips won’t taste right. Nandos do accept orders over the phone so you shouldn’t have too many problems except what to choose.
Try the Nandos experience and you’ll always wonder why you never got round to it sooner! But beware, you may like myself become hooked.
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