They actually make chicken taste good ... Nando's

I have lost count of the number of times that had I thought of eating at Nando's, even stepped in, then stepped out. I was under the impression that it was a grilled chicken only place. Not my favourite eat out option.

It even happened during our last visit to Inorbit. Ended up having hummus and pita at a stall outside instead, after looking in at Nando's. The idiots at the stall took the hummus out of the fridge and plonked it on the plate and served it. Disgraceful.

We headed back to Inorbit Mall, Malad, this weekend. I had decided in advance to go to Nando's. I guess the call of their African bird's eye chilly based Peri Peri sauce became too strong to resist. I fondly remembered the time when I bought a bottle of Nando's Peri Peri sauce and pan seared some chicken at home with it. Time to see what the makers themselves would do with it.

I opened the menu. The first thing that I realised was that there was more to Nando's than chicken!

We started off with a nice, sugary ice tea and followed it with a Peri Peri Hummus with their house bread. The texture of the hummus was lovely. It had a nice, solid body to it and was yet moist and creamy. The opposite of limp, cold or watery hummus which is so bugging. It came with a dollop of mildly spicy Peri Peri sauce. Just enough to wake up your taste buds. The combination of hummus with the soft bread rolls was fairly unique and won over us hummus and pita bread lovers. You could add more Peri Peri sauce from the bottles at the table. We did so and was kept beaming and grinning through each bite.

We followed this with a dish whose name I don't remember. It was called Tepech or something but don't hold me to that. It was a Portuguese dish of lamb in a pickled curry. You could choose the intensity of the sauce. I went for extra hot.

The first bite singed my palate with its spicy heat. Each bite hit me like a bullet shooting into my mouth. Cooked up a storm in my mouth. I slowly begun to appreciate the dish with each tentative bite. It's rather different, to put it politely, taste. It reminded me of Goan dish of sorpatel and was probably the latter's Portuguese ancestor. This was more fiery though. I was almost in tears. But I saw Kainaz happily tucking into the curry. The pickled sauce had really caught her fancy. The rice that it was served with was nondescript. The bread soft and cuddly. I liked the pieces of lamb in the curry. These were neither too soft...nor too tough. They had a nice, satisfying bite to them.

Having roasted in the lamb dish I thought I'd finally go for a classic Peri Peri grilled chicken. Lesson learnt, I asked for a medium spicy sauce this time. The chicken arrived. It was Revelation time. They actually made chicken seem tasty at Nando's! Very tasty in fact. An Epiphany moment if there ever was one.

They had given a leg piece as per my request. It was from a fairly small chicken. Not one of those huge dinosaur legs which restaurants often serve. Chewy, unwieldy, sans taste. This was far from it.

The chicken here was succulent and juicy. The waterworks went off with each bite. It was grilled to perfection. The taste was very sublime. Mildly tangy. Delicately hot. Poetic. A taste taste so subtle and sophisticated, yet so simple. Made you feel very protective towards it. You felt blessed and privileged. You knew you were privy to experiencing a work of art. A rare event. Unlikely to be repeated if you were to order chicken at most other restaurants. A moment to be treasured. To be relived when you have grandchildren. Or till you reach your next Nando's. And this is without getting into the equally heavenly, plump, crisp outside, soft inside Peri Peri potato wedges which came with the chicken.

Gosh I can't believe that I rejected Nando's so many times in thep ast. I don't know how I was so blind to its charms before. Why had I never heard about it or read about it before? I realised that I lived a much longer part of my life than I should have without having had this Celestial experience.

The only good thing is that my eyes had finally opened. I was finally going to live a life which seemed beyond my grasp and dreams before. A life with Nando's Peri Peri chicken. Possibly the most divine piece of chicken that I have ever had in a restaurant. Hallelujah!


Jaya M said…
I agree with you Kalyan ..they taste awesome, DH is one great fan of peri-peri chicken ..even I grabbed the peri-peri sauce available in super-markets here ..tried to make their signature peri-peri chicken ..but I guess something was missing never tasted the chicken they serve in comparison..
Ushnish Ghosh said…
Dear Kalyan
Very nice write up and posting too.
Ya Peri peri is catching on..the word at least...
Now I have to make, after a long long time, " Chicken fusili in Peri peri sauce..., Only the sauce will take few days or weeks to mature ...and I am sure I will forget it by then..ha ha
Have a nice day
Ghosh ksku
Shaswati said…
Well well - my last and only visit to Nando's was very disappointing - the chicken was bad and smelly and hte peri peri sauce was watery. Perhaps I was then just back from London and the comparison was too stark. Based on your blog ready to try out once again. :)
Unknown said…
I agree with u....nothing beating Nando's's one of my favourite Food joints at Inorbit Mall.. :)
Scarlett said…
The peri peri chicken with the potato wedges look so yummy! Do you know if peri peri sauce is available at supermarkets in Cal by any chance?
Pinku said…
Nando's is fun and especially at two ways about it... I am surprised that it took you this long to discover it.

What surprises me even more is that your post didnt end with some blueberry cheesecake or some such from Breadtalk.

While there do try their signature egg Wool concoction....its yummy and keep you guessing on the ingredients and the process that created the beauty.
Mumbai Diva said…
we love nando's. I mostly stick to the classic grilled chicken. and i always add extra sauce. yum!
Moonshine said…
My connection goes way back.. in 2003 i think when one of friends insisted i try their food in KL!!! And that became my survival litany there!!!

Amazing food and amazing sauces.. i tried to buy some of their sauces in the Inorbit outlet.. they said they do not sell!!!! Where did you get the sauces from??????
Unknown said…
Heading to Nandos for lunch today!!! Yeh! Nice post
Rushina said…
I love Nandos too. I have eaten there only twice but my mouth waters just thinking about the food.
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Jaya... well we can always make something better and unique with their Peri Peri sauce at home...for Nando's one can go to the restaurant after all

@Ghosh Kaku I can almost hear the chicken singing 'shei kotha ti mone rekho' to you :)
@Shaswati: and there is always Mr Cookie Man at the lobby for

@Moonshine: I think the outlet here sells it. Else tell me the next time you come to Mumbai. I'll get some from next door. Ditto, Ash

@Curry Spice: And?

@Rushina, hope Hyatt can top that on Friday. Really looking forward to the Bombay Food Blogger's dinner

@Pinku... oh, I've been to Bread Talk there quite a few times
emotional support

@Alice: ya I gotta go back soon

@Scarlett: I have seen it at the local Gujju shops at Pali Naka. We don't have super markets in our village. Not sure if there is any legality involved
Unknown said…

I am an infrequent reader of your blog, infrequent not because of the content but because of a lack of chance, and I love the whole concept about reviewing these food joints all over the world. Infact I wanted to o something like that for a long time.

I am a Bengali based in South Africa and this post about Nando's .The chain was started by two Portuguese brothers who came to SA from Mozambique with a restaurant in a Johannesburg suburb with their signature recipe of Peri-peri smeared flame grilled chicken. It's a very popular chain here but I am surprised that in India it has such a large selection of items on the menu. Here they only server chicken, burgers, salads and some very basic desserts. Yes there are lots of very good Portuguese restaurants in this country serving killer espetadas, chouricos etc but not in Nandos. I guess after gold, de beer's and platinum nandos is the most popular and definitely more accessible south african export.
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Thanks so much for writing in Devarpan. Food hacts from across the world enthrall me so this was great...wouldn't have known otherwise :)