Founded in 1987, and born out of a South African restaurant known as Chickenland, Nando's has morphed into a very familiar brand spread across 30 countries with a meme generating status in the UK. Beloved by the likes of Drake, Adele and Jay-Z, Nando's has three branches in
The strength of Nando's is the ease at which one can eat there. Our group, including two toddlers, arrived and were quickly seated. For the uninitiated, and there seem to be a surprising number of people who have never tried it, the setup at Nando's is simple. You select your chicken based dish (or for those of a different persuasion your vegetarian/vegan alternative) and pick a spice level (plain, lemon & herb, mango & lime, medium, hot or - for the very brave - extra hot) and then order at the counter.
I opted for the butterfly burger with fries and garlic bread, with my fellow meat eater choosing the classic grilled chicken burger with peri peri fries, garlic bread and a side of humus. We had brought along our vegan friends at their request as Nando's is surprisingly (for a restaurant that is geared so much towards a chicken based diet) accommodating for their dietary preference. They went for sweet potato & butternut wraps (minus the yogurt mayo) with red pepper, onion and edamame beans, and chips.
The food came out swiftly and was well-cooked. You are unlikely to have the best chicken ever at a Nando's but you will have meat that tastes good and is an effective source of fuel. I always side with medium heat as it really is the most enjoyable way to eat the chicken; not so mild as to be bland and unmemorable but unlikely to obliterate your taste buds. The atmosphere is relaxed and the restaurant is admirably family-friendly, with good facilities and a design that feels geared towards the movement of prams and wheelchairs. The person who served me on our visit was friendly and helpful and our meal was free from unnecessary staff intrusions. It all feels geared to being the most efficient dining experience possible.
Nando's is unlikely to win any awards for its cuisine (bar in 2010 when it topped the Sunday Times' list of best big companies to work for) but it will be a suitable hunger defeater any day of the week. There are gimmicks associated with Nando's such as a 'wing roulette' (10 wings of various spices) and the meme quality to the brand can jar. But this can not diminish that this is an effective, flavoursome meal that is family-friendly AND suitable for vegans.