Nando’s, where chicken couldn’t get any better

By Karishma Saurabh Kalita

New Delhi: Whenever we think of having chicken, it is always a soft, succulent piece of juicy goodness that makes you want more and more each time. This is exactly what is offered by a globally recognised outlet, known for its excellent chicken preparations and located in the heart of the metropolis.

Founded in South Africa in 1987, Nando’s opened its doors in Delhi/NCR in November 2014. This casual dining restaurant chain operates about 1,000 outlets in 30 countries. It started operations in India in late 2010 and has outlets in five cities. In Delhi/NCR alone, it has three outlets in Connaught Place, Vasant Kunj and Gurgaon.

The Connaught Place outlet opened on November 27, 2014. Spread across two floors and with 12 staff members, it has a seating capacity of 98. Wood dominated interiors, with a very strong presence of the maroon colour, gave it a very warm, cosy feeling. The entire space is decorated with artwork from South African painters.

We were here on a weekday afternoon and owing to its world renowned food, it was pleasantly packed.

According to Yogesh Kumar, assistant “patrao” (family head in Portuguese), the restaurant is usually crowded due to its location and most of the time is filled with locals and tourists alike.

“We get a decent crowd almost every day. Expats are more frequent,” Kumar told IANS.

There is also an option of a vegetarian and a kid’s menu.

Since Nando’s specialises in chicken items with medium, hot, and extra hot peri-peri (African bird’s eye chilli) marinades, we were recommended the hummus with peri-peri drizzle served with pita bread, five chicken wings, peri-chips, half peri-peri on the bone chicken, and a mushroom, halloumi (goat’s cheese) and onion jam burger.

Before serving the dishes, we were asked our choice of marinade. We asked for the hot marinade since we did not really know what to expect.

Condiments that were brought to the table were the peri-peri sauces – extra hot, hot, medium and garlic. The sauces and the peri-peri dust are all imported from South Africa. They were all very tart, the level of heat in them was very similar; only the extra hot had the most heat as the name suggested.

The star of this whole meal was definitely the half peri-peri on the bone chicken. The first bite felt like a party in my mouth. A burst of flavours, the chicken was soft, succulent and the crispy skin was a golden brown perfection. It came with a honey and lime based three beans flavour which gave the dish the much needed tartness and sweetness. This is Nando’s equivalent to the good old tandoori chicken and has full potential to give a good competition. The portion was quite large but putting down the fork and knife was very difficult. This dish definitely stole the show.

The next dish that really stood out was the burger. A messy burger with sauces running through your hand is always the case with some of best tasting burgers. The ingredients were very rich in flavour but it did not overpower each other and all could be tasted individually.

The side dishes – hummus with peri-peri drizzle served with pita bread, five chicken wings, peri-chips – were equally good. The dominant peri-peri flavour was lip smackingly excellent.

To conclude, we were served with a piece of the most rich carrot cake. A perfect end to a meal fit for a king.

Chicken lovers should most definitely visit Nandos’ because it has the potential to give them an experience of what it feels like to be in a chicken heaven.