Nandos in Wimbledon won’t blow your mind, but will provide a pleasant evening meal without setting you back.
Nandos Wimbledon looks like most other Nandos, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s quite big, spread over two floors, yet intimate, and there’s the interesting feature of an open joisted roof upstairs. Other than that there are a lot of light and dark wood, Portuguese-style design embellishments, and…that’s about it. Simplicity is the approach here, and it’s no bad thing.
This outlet gets pretty busy at weekends, with queues of up to 20 minutes. But the pay-off is a jolly atmosphere which really does add to a meal – especially when it’s of the no-frills variety. Staff here are helpful and informative, and the music is a nice Portuguese-Brazilian blend.
Over the last few years Nandos has found itself sidelined in the fast-food bracket. This isn’t entirely unjustified – the chain provides basic chicken-based dishes which you order at the till for cheap. But what should be mentioned is that Nandos is far healthier than most other fast-food chains, griddling all its meat and providing lots of healthy sides. If your kids are clamouring to go to McDonalds, take them here instead.
Appetisers are good and well priced. Spicy mixed olives (£2.95) are juicy big green and purple olives in an olive oil, garlic and chilli marinade which gives a satisfying kick. Explorer’s Mix (£2.50) is a healthy combination of crunchy cranberries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, toasted corn, wasabi peas and chilli broad beans – an interesting and healthy variety which tastes pretty good, though is nothing to write home about. Red pepper dip with warm pitta (£2.95) is a nice surprise. The flavoursome pepper-filled dip is creamy, garlicky and much like houmus in texture, yet quite unique – you’re unlikely to find this on any supermarket shelf.
Nandos mains are all about chicken though there are some alternatives, couscous salad (£5.30) being one. Featuring chick peas, olives, marinated peppers, mixed salad leaves and couscous, all topped with tangy coriander, this is wholesome and moreish. Mushroom and halloumi cheese burger (£5.30) is another veggie success. It features a chunky, juicy roasted Portobello mushroom (a fantastic alternative to meat) with a salty and delicious slab of grilled halloumi cheese. Served in a seeded bap with sweet chilli jam this is a real treat.
Nandos offers a choice of peri-peri marinades on its chicken. Loosely speaking these are spicy chilli-based dressings from Portugal, which come in differing strengths, with a lemon and herb variety as well. All the chicken is healthily griddled on giant and impressive-looking open grills. The half chicken (£5.30) is a generous portion and the extra hot peri-peri marinade offers a real kick. There is a great choice of sides, including coleslaw (£1.70), which is creamy and made with chunky white and red cabbage; chips (£1.70), thick cut and not soaked in oil; corn on the cob (£1.70), sumptuously barbecued; and spiced rice (£1.70), which is light and fluffy.
Deserts are nothing special. Lemon cheesecake and chocolate mousse come in cute little terracotta bowls but they’re too cold to enjoy. They fail to excite after the first bite, but are not unpleasant either.
The house white Cara Viva (Portugal) is pleasantly crisp and well priced, and there are a number of other decent reds and whites to choose from. Other than that there are lovely beers from Brazil and Portugal and help-yourself soft drinks, just in case one glass of the sugary stuff isn’t enough.
The Last Word
Nandos Wimbledon offers fast food with a healthy twist, and is thus great for kids. It also won’t crunch your credit, and with a pleasant atmosphere and music makes for a nice cheap meal out.