It may not be as cool as MEATmarket. It may not be as fancy as Maze Grill. And it may not even be as cheap as Maccy Ds. But Nandos has endured in the capital through difficult times when wallets are light. Why? Because the chicken is damn tasty.
All Nandos follow the same theme – a bold colour scheme of oranges, browns and yellows, simple shiny tables, booth seating, a serving counter where you pay upfront and a couple of stations where the sauces and bottomless drinks machines reside. And, yes, it is exactly the same here. The main difference with this Nandos, when compared to many of its sister venues, is its sheer size. It's huge. A sprawling building with a large glass front that floods the space with light in the day – it’s certainly one of the most impressive members of the ever-growing family.
Nandos is a cheap, easy pre-cinema/drinking spot that attracts young couples on laid back dates, groups of mates and families. You know what you’re getting here so there’s little in the way of surprises. Putting your order in at the counter first and paying up front takes the stress out of waiting for the bill but there is still an element of service with food and drink being brought to the table. And the service is pleasant enough, if not overly efficient with so many tables to look after.
Three Words: Peri Peri Chicken. Yup, it’s all about the chicken at Nandos and for what is essentially a fast food joint it’s incredibly good quality. And the Battersea branch is good at consistently delivering on this expected quality.
If you’re hungry then you can opt for a starter of chicken wings (£3.10 for three) with your choice of sauce (plain, lemon and herb, mango and lime, medium, hot and extra hot). If you’re looking for a fun edge to your meal then order the Wing Roulette for £9.30 where they randomly give you a range of different heats and it’s up to you to take the risk of what you end up with. Ooh scary. Ahem.
Many people, however, keep it simple with just a main meal. This covers burgers, wraps and pittas filled with chicken or veggie options. Prices are on a sliding scale so you can opt for one or two sides for a little extra money. For a ‘healthy’ option a tender, well-cooked chicken breast is served in a floury, fresh wrap with the sauce of your choice (extra hot, naturally). For £5.70 on its own it’s not the best value for money but enjoy with a side for £6.95 or two sides for £8.60 for a meal that is instantly worth the price.
As for these sides, the chips at Nandos are good – crisp, flavoured lightly with Peri Peri salt – and they are a must for most meals. Also great are the ‘macho’ peas: basically mushy peas pimped with parsley, mint and chilli – creamy, light and with a slight kick. Nandos have introduced new ‘Fino’ sides – premium side dishes for a bit more money – but other than the sweet potato mash you’re better off keeping it basic for a cheaper price tag.
There are a few beers on offer, including Sagres, Superbock, Brahma and Savanna Cider. There is also a handful of wines covering red and white varieties, although they aren’t the most imaginative selection with a lot of mass-produced, commercial bottles; however, when prices start at just over £13 a bottle it’s hard to complain.
The Last Word
Nandos was never going to set the culinary world alight but it has managed to grow roots across many London High Streets and it’s hard to imagine a time when there wasn’t one seemingly on every street corner.