Offering swift rather than fast food, Portuguese-inspired Nando’s distinguishes itself from other chain restaurants with a mix of counter and table service, relatively comfortable surrounds, a short wine list and a menu focused on chicken flame-grilled to order. You’ll either appreciate the lack of ceremony and meal deals, or not. People of all persuasions do, and Nando’s is a shoo-in for families, who are no doubt reassured by the generally wholesome tone of the menu.
Workaday chips don’t seem quite as appealing when side dishes include grilled corn on the cob, spiced rice, ‘macho’ peas given oomph with mint and chilli, and hot, chunky ratatouille. Peri-peri chicken is available in various shapes, sizes and levels of spicy heat.
On a chaotic Saturday night at the popular Kentish Town branch, the classic grilled half-chicken fared better than the new, premium-priced butterfly chicken breasts, which were disappointingly dry. Perhaps the grill chef wasn’t yet familiar with them – the guy who took our order certainly wasn’t: we had to point them out on the menu when we ordered.