Craving flame-grilled chicken? Then a visit to Nando’s is required where the chicken is marinated for 24 hours and grilled with care for a succulent and tender meal. Consistent dishes and big flavour is the expectation when eating at any of the restaurants of this South African brand.
The C-Ring road branch is styled in the new décor design and has a lovely outdoor seating area; however this area is in a wind tunnel and it can get a little chilly. The restaurant has an artisanal feel about it with a casual earthy touch through the use of different textures of wood. South African artwork and objects are dotted around the dining area as expected from any branch in this chain.
Ordering a Nando’s chicken requires you to know how much heat you can handle, so check out their peri-ometer for spice level indications. Peri-Peri is the Swahili word for pepper pepper; the pepper referred to is the African Bird’s Eye Chilli which can pack quite a spice hit. I always err on the side of caution and choose the Lemon & Herb level for my chicken. It still has some heat to it but it has a milder hit and is more about the sun-ripened lemon and fresh herb flavour.
For starters my dining companion and I ordered Spicy Mixed Olives from the Appeteasers section, with a side extra of Garlic Bread. The Olives are tasty enough with chopped garlic and a pepper/chilli dressing but I have had a better version, in a different country, with whole cloves of pickled garlic – much yummier.
Nando’s own freshly-baked Portuguese Rolls is used as the bread element for dishes. It is nice and crunchy when prepared as Garlic Bread but there is a lack of flavour as the garlic topping for the bread is minimal, which was a slight disappointment.
I ordered the Chicken Breast Fillet Burger – I usually add a grilled pineapple which helps to add a lovely sweet juicy element to the burger. The chicken was grilled perfectly, and I added some of the Wild Herb Sauce for a little extra flavour. This is my go-to dish to order when I want to eat a chicken burger, but I have previously tried the Aubergine Grilled Onion Hummus and Chicken Burger which is actually a much tastier dish, but I find the aubergine a little slimy for me. However the vegetables add flavour and juiciness to the chicken breast – which can be a notoriously dry part of the chicken. I do not like my chicken to taste like chicken and so anything that adds an extra element of taste is a good thing in my book.
For those of you looking for a more flavourful and juicy option don’t overlook Nando’s signature Peri-Peri chicken, which you can order as a dish or as a platter for bigger groups.
On a different visit, to the same branch, I was intrigued by the non-chicken dish options, and ordered the Prego Steak Roll. I had thought this was going to be Nando’s version of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich; however this is a grilled beef steak with a big chunk of sliced onion on top.
Though there is flavour from the sauce the amount of onion was a little unnecessary. But the bread and meat combination was tasty – although I personally would not order it again as I prefer my beef sliced up when eating sandwiches. I also tried the Sweet Potato Mash Side which has a nice hint of cinnamon but is rather too chunky for me.
My dining companion ordered the same Special on both visits, the Espetada Carnival, which should inform you as to how good the dish is. The dish is described as chicken stuffed with feta cheese, parsley and garlic which is skewered kebab-style with mixed bell peppers.
This description doesn’t really capture the showmanship of the dish as it comes out hanging vertically and dripping marinade juices onto the fries below. The herby salty stuffing adds moistness and a tangy flavour to the chicken thighs – it is a lovely preparation and this is definitely the best chicken item on the menu.
The Special also comes with two regular sides of your choice, and my dining companion chose the fries and three bean salad. The fries are as always excellent with a crisp exterior and fluffy middle; the peri-peri salt covered version is irresistible.
The Salad is a mixture of three beans (haricot beans, red kidney beans and chickpeas) mixed in a lemon-olive oil dressing, with diced green bell pepper and red onion – it gives a lovely fresh tasting flavour which helps to also cut down the spiciness of the other dishes.
We have also previously tried the Cataplana Originale which is one of the other Specials. This is served in an authentic Portuguese copper dish known as the Cataplana. It resembles paella in look but all the elements are cooked separately and layered – similar to a Biryani. Chicken thighs and sliced vegetables (courgette, carrot, bell pepper and red onion) are sautéed separately and placed on top of spicy rice.
The rice has a more South Asian taste with turmeric and chilli rather than the expected saffron that a Portuguese dish would have. It is however a good dish option when you want a less chicken-heavy dish as the rice and vegetables add an extra dimension to the chicken.
Currently Nando’s has a Dessert/Drink Meal Deal and I ordered a Cappuccino and the Lighten-Up Chocolate Cake to share with my dinner companion. The drink was lovely and frothy with a hint of espresso and felt like a homely version of the sophisticated Italian drink as it comes in an earthenware cup. The cake was quite light but it needed a higher chocolate content for it to be a memorable dessert.
Frequent visits to Nando’s can become a little repetitive as I prefer to choose the chicken burgers as they are a good portion size for me. The other dishes are a bigger quantity of food – but that is also why Nando’s is perfectly suited for large groups of friends who can order a few menu items and share dishes.
For consistency and flavour Nando’s will always win out. This is partly due to their flame-grill method of cooking and partly due to their varied sauces which add flavour and spice to any dish.
You can also check out the Nando’s Qatar Menu. And for Nando’s home delivery, call: 443 60 60 6.