Cheeky Nando’s


Nando's

Are You Cheeky Enough?

Location

Birmingham City Centre

Price

£30+

In recent years, Nando’s has become the definitive ‘Go-To’ date location for first dates and days out. But with the cries building for all of us to abandon the South African chicken house for our romantic aspirations, just what is it that turns people off?

It’s hard to argue that the words ‘Peri-Peri’ meant anything to anyone in the UK before the arrival of Nando’s and with the existence of carveries leading the battalion defending traditional English meals, it’s hard to argue that chicken meant much to the nation either.

But the tables have turned since then with Nando’s using what made Carveries so well loved in their own recipe: Pride.

 You see, Nando’s holds a sense of pride about itself and whilst it may not be overtly proud about its humble South African x Portuguese heritage, it is loud and proud about Chicken.

I never knew you could do so many things with a piece of Chicken. Luckily, Nando's do and they do each piece well.

This pride comes through in the dishes, which are plated beautifully. When paired with the lights and the backdrop, I begin to believe that Nando’s has created an environment that perfectly fits the ‘Instagram Generation’ we all inhabit as the place clearly cares about looking good.

I know that this is a frequent comment I make, but frankly any location you’re taking someone to spend quality time with them, needs to be a place of quality.

And whilst Nando’s lacks the touches of ‘couture’ or other fashionable trends, the design is timely, modern and falls on the ‘fresh’ side of reliable rather than tired.

Now the food at Nando’s is what brings the lines that sometimes pours out into the streets around it, because Nando’s was created on the foundations of a shop which made the then patrons say ‘This is the best chicken I’ve ever had.’

1/4 Hot Chicken, Spicy Rice and Garlic Bread

Does Nando’s still stand tall and rise to that title? Well It’s hard to assess.

Because Nando’s as an establishment has become a cultural icon, one which we have placed as a gold standard of South African, Peri-Peri cuisine. Those elements however have been deconstructed and reused by other chicken houses, replicating the formula which made us love Nando’s in the first place. The second issue is that Nando’s has also become something in which we have all become desensitised to and its indicators of quality that were once alien to us have become a lifestyle.

Yet despite this, Nando’s holds firm. The chicken, in no matter what configuration; whether that is in a ¼ or ½, Butterfly, wing or burger is succulent and juicy and in the hotter configurations, has been seasoned down to the bone through marinating.

Personally, I enjoy Nando’s chicken a lot and whilst the replicators of the formula can offer me a similar experience at a lower price; there’s just something about Nando’s which makes it  at least feel distinguishable in the majority of occasions.

 

From Southern Africa to Birmingham, This is Peri-Peri

The menu itself is quite healthy, meaning you don’t have to be a chicken lover to enjoy a plate. The Mixed Salad, whilst not the most popular side dish on the menu is a reliable ‘go-to’ for me alongside the Peri salted chips.

But there are a plethora of sides and options which make every order a unique one and for that, Nando’s elevates itself from your usual Chicken shop chain and becomes an eatery worthy of a date.

But there is a huge issue with taking a date to Nando’s, one that has only come with its cult status.

Nando’s offers no space for privacy.

 

1/2 Medium Chicken, Mixed Leaf Salad and Peri-Peri Chips (with some salad dressing of my own design)

What do I mean? Well it’s perfectly encapsulated in this text:

*Rockwell's 'Somebody's Watching Me' plays in the background*

The problem with Nando’s is that it lacks privacy.  

 

Which is a shame because popularity breeds reliability, but in this case, erodes at the intimacy of the occasion too.

The obvious work around to this is to take your date to a more off-peak time, but this isn’t always possible, or even particularly insightful. Quite often the hustle and bustle of a restaurant adds to the vibe of date night, as well as the lateness in the day; so Nando’s offers you no bonus points by choosing.

So to surmise, Nando’s is not your typical, one on one date location. It’s far too open and social for your time together to feel meaningful or particularly intimate.

Yet the quality of the meals and social overtones make Nando’s an excellent low-key double date location- a safe choice amongst friends that provides solace from a long day out, or to break up what could have been a long night in.

So cross it off the list if you’re looking to take your dearest darling, but don’t shy away if your favourite or newest couple buddies are looking to double up and grab a bite to eat.

There are three Nando's in town. The one pictured features in the Bullring.

Pros

  • Eating well here doesn't mean you have to break the bank. Despite the £30 price point, you both can come away satisfied on a lot less.
  • The social vibes make Nando's a great place to double up with your relationship friends and enjoy the company of one another.
  • The variety on the menu means the combination of dishes you can get back from the kitchen are wondrous.
  • Food looks good for the cameras.
  • Even though you can find this kind of food at a cheaper place, the establishment itself is not as nice. Nando's may be the nicest chicken shop in the UK.

Cons

  • Exposed and lacks a sense of intimacy.
  • High chance someone will spot you on your date, offering an unnecessary distraction.
  • Desensitized to the quality of food.
  • Similar styles of food are offered at cheaper establishments.
  • There's nothing impressive about Nando's

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