Nandos unique selling point is its constant delivery of all things poultry. Whether wrapped in pitta, served in a bun or just barbecued this is the place to come for all you chicken lovers.
Based in the Brunswick Centre, a mini shopping heaven and a just a short walk from Russell Street tube station, you can easily get distracted by all the top brands and labels even before walking in. As well as the location, the tasteful decor is what really makes this Nandos branch stand out amongst the pack. Opulent art deco lighting with a combination of funky statues and South American pieces enhances the dining experience. Be warned not to loiter though, as you will have to order most food at the counter.
Particularly busy at lunchtimes, this place benefits from a steady intake of businesspeople from the surrounding areas. Businessmen and women congregate to discuss work or to take a long leisurely lunch. A steady flow of food coming out from the kitchen ensures that there’s a good mix of people that changes on a regular basis.
The Nandos experience is based on their infamous flame grilled peri-peri chicken. In the 15th century, deep in the heart of Southern Africa, the fiery peri-peri chilli was discovered, and hundreds of years later its given birth to a taste sensation. Starters include an exotic seed and nut mixture, a chunky red pepper dip served with warm pitta bread and an interesting couscous salad with marinated peppers, olives and chickpeas.
It would be truly sinful to not sample one of the succulent flame grilled chickens that are on offer. Choose from either a quarter, half or, if you really want to take the plunge, a whole peri-peri chicken. Succulent and juicy, this is everything anyone desires in well-cooked chicken. The beauty at Nandos is that all meat is flame grilled thus ensuring less fat. To complement the poultry try the creamy slaw, spicy rice, or an old favourite, traditional corn on the cob with melted butter.
If you are more of a burger fan then the restaurant also caters in this area. Choose from a well-cooked single or double chicken burger in pitta or a tender steak roll. For all you vegetarians, don’t panic just yet. There are a couple of veggie options which include a fresh veggie or bean burger. However, on the whole this is probably is a vegetarian’s image of hell’s kitchen.
Desserts are plentiful but not particularly inspiring. The chocolate mousse is soft and glossy but quite rich. The toffee cheesecake with a crumbly biscuit base is smooth and generous but a couple mouthfuls will be more than enough.
The wine list is reflected in its Portuguese and African roots and combines well with the signature chicken. Try a full bodied Quinta de Cidro Chardonnay, a light and refreshing Vinho Verde Quinta da Aveleda from the Vinho Verde area in Portugal or Stormhoek Pinotage, a deep and complex red from South Africa.
The Last Word
Nandos have found their niche to great effect. The only minus would be that in future they should extend the variety of food on offer instead of the venues themselves.