If I had to name a favourite restaurant in the UK that is worth visiting over and not exorbitantly expensive (such as those Michelin restaurants in London), it would most certainly have to be Nando's. Originating from the Mozambiquan Portuguese community in South Africa, it specializes in chicken dishes with their lemon and herb, medium, hot, extra hot or extra extra hot Peri-peri marinades. It sounds awfully simple but we had tried on several occasions to emulate a 'Nando's roast', using their marinades and sauces bought from local supermarkets (available in most UK local supermarkets such as Sainsburys, Tesco, Morrisons etc) only to suffice as what one would regard as a feeble attempt. One would probably argue that it was the ambiance and setting that struck the difference, but genuinely, I accord it to the ingredients. Oh well, if they indeed had their authentic recipes and sauces out there readily available in the market, what incentive is there to visit their restaurants?
We visited the Leicester branch located at High Cross (Shires Walk), since we had a movie to catch after dinner and Nando's was conveniently located just next door. The downside at this branch is the queue for a table, but we got lucky on this occasion and the wait was a mere 15 minutes. For first time diners to Nando's, it would be worth noting that upon being shown to your table, be sure to take note of your table number. Orders would have to be placed at the counters personally whereby payment would be made then.
Full Platter + 2 Large sides (£18.95)
Our usual order would have to be the 'Full Platter' shown above. You get a whole chicken, 2 large or 4 regular sides. The bird featured above was prepared with 'Extra Hot' marinade. You have the option of choosing your roast marinade at the counter when placing your orders. We opted for coleslaw and the thick chips. Please do not forget the 'Peri-Peri salt' to go along with the chips! It is definitely a MUST-TRY. Think of 'fresh' potato crisps in the form of chips, that would be it.
(+) Chicken was roasted to perfection, with juicy tender meat portions, even the chicken breast.
(+) Bursting with spicy flavors. The marinade welly permeated through the meat.
(+) Definitely a MUST-TRY is all I can say.
(+) We enjoyed it with coleslaw for it helped to calm and soothe the spiciness.
(+) Do not forget the 'EXTRA EXTRA HOT' black bottle of chili sauce if you want to alleviate it to the next level of spiciness, leaving you perspiring all over. Be warned, it can be quite a mess.
(-) The wait for the chicken could be rather dampening, especially if you are rushing for a movie after.
Protein: 99.80g (Go for it muscle men and/or women)
Total Fat: 31.3g
Saturated Fat: 7.7g
Carbohydrates: 6.3g (Not sure if this was an error...seems a little on the low end)
5 chicken wings (£5.20)
Well, if a whole chicken is still not enough to satisfy your craving for some roast chicken, take it further like we did with 5 extra chicken wings!
(+) As above (on the chicken)
(-) It would not be difficult to notice that some of the chicken wings were overburnt...
(-) On hindsight, we felt that £1.04/chicken wing was rather overpriced, considering the portion size.
Nutritional information of whole chicken (courtesy of Nandos website):
Total Fat: 18.8g
Saturated Fat: 4.4g
Carbohydrates: 0.1g (Erm, once again, dont quote me on this..)
Apart from the 'in-theme' decorations in each and every Nandos restaurant, it would also be worth commending the consistently good customer service. Despite the lack of order-taking from the staffs upon seating, all dishes would be served to your table. In addition, the waiter/waitress would come round to your table and check that everything is going 'okay' with your meal. We thought that was a courtesy call worth emulating. You would however need to collect your own set of cutlery and serviettes. Not a big deal really, but it would perhaps not quite be a man's dating venue, where both the gent and lady expect to get serve and well-pampered.
Not forgetting of course my personal favourite, the 'Bottomless' drink. You basically 'purchase' a drinking glass for £2.35 and it is free-flow on the soft drinks though the range is limited to coke, fanta and sprite. (I am a huge Coke-Zero fan, so I enjoyed it utterly)
We have always wanted to try Nando's burgers, wraps and salad but we always fail to resist the allure of their signature roasted chicken...
Please visit www.nandos.co.uk for more information about finding your nearest branch and their menu!
Currently listening to: 'Part of Me' by Katy Perry