Nandos is the quintessential fast food joint for chicken lovers. The Portuguese influenced restaurant is located just five minutes from Clapham Junction and is a tasty alternative for those in a hurry. Grilled chicken and an array of spicy sauces make this a must try for all Londoners.
This particular Nandos is superbly located just a short walk from the Clapham Common, situated on Clapham High Street and surrounded by a plethora of heaving bars and restaurants. There is nothing pretentious about this joint as the aim is quick food and reasonably attentive service. Green and red is the prevalent theme in Nandos, presumably to represent the colours of the Portuguese flag, but this particular outlet seems to have had something of a makeover, with a clean neutral colour scheme on the exterior which is now a snazzy black and red.
The layout is set over two levels with some seating next to the prominent windows overlooking Clapham. The tables are simple and inexpensive, but do the job, and are evenly spaced giving everyone sufficient room and no need to feel too self conscious. After placing your order with a cashier on entry, there is a small area where you can collect your cutlery, grab yourself a fizzy drink and, most importantly, choose which of the in-house sauces you want to spice up your meal with.
It’s an inoffensive venue so you won't have too much to complain about, but you won’t be leaving having some kind of chicken induced epiphany. Although Nandos is family oriented, there are both young and old people eating here and the warm feeling is enhanced by the friendly, proficient staff. They’re always on hand to offer advice on the speciality sauces and to take you through the process if you haven't been before. The interaction with the staff is, however, relatively short-lived due to the ordering process in place (place your order, grab a number, await your food) to maximise speed of service. It’ quick enough though and help is at hand if required.
It does what it says on tin - excellently grilled chicken dishes with a selection of spicy peri-peri sauces - medium, hot, extra hot and garlic. The speciality is the the peri-peri chicken, but there is also burgers, pittas and wraps for added variety. The peri-peri chicken comes in a quarter or a half size and can be accompanied by range of sides - the chips are particularly good and are included in the price (£6.10 for a quarter and £8.60 for the half). The peri-peri sauce is basted over the chicken while it grills, evoking a vibrant, spicy, charcoal flavour. When you order, you are asked if you would like your chicken to be mild, hot or very hot. Spice level is all relative, however, so if you like your food hot feel free to indulge. If not steer clear of the hot or very hot options unless you fancy sweating out a few pounds.
The drinks menu at Nandos is as to be expected. Coke, 7up or the usual fizzy drink of your choice (£1.95), unlimited just in case you plumped for the very hot option. There is a selection of Portuguese and Brazilian beer such as Sagres, Superbock and Brahma. In addition, the Portuguese theme is elaborated upon with a small choice of wines such as the Grand Arte Shiraz which is sold by the bottle. The majority of the wine list is, however, sold by the glass which can be slightly inconvenient, but it can be forgiven as this is not really the reason people come to Nandos. An assortment of teas and coffees at affordable prices (£1.50- £2) complete the drinks menu, with the Portuguese latte Galao the standout on the list.
The Last Word
Nando's is a really decent place to stop for a quick and easy, no frills meal. Don't expect anything special and over the top – this is a family orientated restaurant that does not pretend to be anything it's not.