Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Eating Out: This Chain's a Strong One; NANDO'S

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Eating Out: This Chain's a Strong One; NANDO'S

Article excerpt

Byline: GORDON BARR

The Gate, Newgate Street,

Newcastle. Tel: (0191) 261 0131.

*****

I'M NOT a great fan of restaurant chains, as I have stated on these pages before.

That said, they have their place and they can vary greatly in service and quality of food, despite having the same menu the length and breadth of the count ry.

Every now and then we put a "chained" eatery to the test, and such is the case this week with Nando's. But this is a chain with a bit of a difference which somehow maintains an air of uniqueness about it.

Nando's prides itself on what it calls its "legendary" Portuguese flame-grilled periperi chicken. What is peri-peri? Well, according to the Nando's website, it comes from the African bird's eye chilli. It is added to special herbs and spices to give Nando's original peri-peri sauce its unique flavour. The exact recipe remains a closely guarded family secret.

So is it worth all that hassle? I've been to Nando's on several occasions and have to admit I've always enjoyed it, but nevertheless think the peri-peri a bit overrated.

Here's the deal at Nando's. You go to the counter to order your meal (choosing the spiciness from lemon and herb to extra hot), grab your cutlery and sauces and wait for the meal to be delivered.

It works well most of the time, but at one point I went to order one glass of cola and found myself in a queue for more than five minutes as the people in front placed their full meal orders. Frustrating - as was the fact they could not give me a wine cooler for my bottle of crisp house white Casa Viva (pounds 10.85). Those were the only quibbles in an otherwise satisfactory meal.

For appetisers we went for the peri-peri mix (pounds 2.50), a red hot array of cashews, macademias and almonds, which certainly set the taste buds on fire from the off. …

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