Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

One Critical Case of Heat Exhaustion

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

One Critical Case of Heat Exhaustion

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SEXTON

NANDO'S ISLINGTON 324 Upper Street, N1 (020 7288 0254, nandos.co.uk). About [pounds sterling]30 for two.

NANDO'S is an alarming success story. It operates in 26 different countries and in Britain alone there are 220 restaurants and 6,300 employees. There are two dozen Nando's in central London alone and more always arriving; the latest, in York Way, near King's Cross station, opened yesterday.

Yet the chain is little more than 20 years old. It began in Rosettenville, a suburb of Johannesburg. In 1987, Fernando Duarte (hence Nando's) and Robert Brozin bought a restaurant called Chickenland, serving chillispiced flame-grilled chicken, a dish typical of Portuguese Mozambique, and turned it into a property.

The first Nando's reached Britain five years later, opening in Ealing in 1992. The fact that in 2002 the Uxbridge Road branch was the scene of a lethal gunfight did nothing to slow its rise. Expansion has been relentless.

In 2008, some middle-class protesters tried to prevent a Nando's opening on Stoke Newington Church Street, to no avail.

Celebrity regulars now include the likes of JLS, Dizzee Rascal, Pixie Lott and Robert Pattinson -- and the chain is also popular with Muslim diners (although there has been much agitated debate online as to whether the chickens, being stunned before their throats are cut, are really halal) and slumming middle-class schoolkids.

Nando's birds are supplied by Freemans of Newent and described as farmed in the UK and fresh, never frozen -- but they are not free range, let alone organic, and thus are really nothing but battery chickens, as you can tell from the soft texture and lack of taste. This lack, however, is disguised by the peri-peri chilli marinade in which the chickens are soused for 24 hours, so that the mildest one is hot, even before you slosh over one of the peri-peri bottled sauces, such as the Hot ("eyewateringly fiery") or Extra Hot ("a real throat-scorcher").

Eating at Nando's is charmingly informal or brutally uncouth, according to taste. …

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