Nando’s has been a little bit forgotten about since moving to London. When we lived in Worcester, it was one of only a few options for places to eat out, but in London it gets a bit lost on the restaurant scene, with so many up and coming boutique eateries. You could say we probably ate enough Nando’s in Worcester to last a lifetime, but I don’t think it’s possible with my love of chicken.
We live really close to the O2 Centre on Finchley Road, and on the hunt for a good date night dinner spot, with a few healthy options for myself (I always try to be good midweek), I chose Nando’s – even though we were a little spoilt for choice (Pizza Express and Wagamama have some great healthier dishes too!).
We’d never tried this Nando’s before, but let’s face it, being a branch they all have the same look and feel – simple warm wood furnishings, with the odd painting on the walls and bare tables (you get the sauces, cutlery, extra plates and napkins from the side after ordering). The chairs are not the comfiest, but your mind is ALWAYS more focussed on your seriously tasty chicken than how numb your bottom might become.
For those who have never been to a Nando’s before (you’re missing out!), ordering is done at the counter, and then you wait (not long at all!) for food to be delivered to your table. Fast service is obviously important to them as they warned that the wait for Butterfly Chicken would be 15 minutes and asked if that was ok! We’d usually happily wait longer than that at a nice restaurant so didn’t mind at all!
The botttomless drinks are always a hit for me as I normally have more than one drink when out for dinner, and they have Coke Zero and Diet Coke among other options on tap. I think I got through two glasses before our food arrived. Alex did try the 2M (pronounced Dosh-Em), a light, crisp and refreshing beer, and enjoyed that too.
Now I wouldn’t usually go for a salad at Nando’s. I used to stick to the same order, pretty much, of quarter or half Chicken (depending on how much my stomach was rumbling) with two healthy-ish sides, like rice and salad, or salad and macho peas – mmm those macho peas, whole peas drenched in pea mash, parsley, mint and chilli, were one of my favourite sides! But since I last visited any branch of Nando’s they’d added quite a few more healthy options including the Supergrain side, chargrilled veg and sweet potato wedges, and the list of salads seems to have grown too.
The Superfood salad, which I ordered with chicken on top, of the extra-hot variety, was delicious. Plenty of fresh grains with beans and avocado, all on top of a bed of crisp mixed leaves, and finished with a small tender chicken breast, marinated and cooked in plenty of Nando’s Peri Peri sauce.
As usual, Alex went for the extra hot butterfly chicken, with spicy rice and corn on the cob. The butterfly cut, deemed to be healthier than portions on the bone, and I was very proud that he went for rice and not fries – his choice was actually pretty healthy too.
We were so engrossed in our conversation, catching up on the day, and with the person on the table next to us who turned out to be someone Alex went to school with, that we didn’t even notice how busy it had suddenly become around us. Almost all of the tables were filled with people waiting for their chicken fix, or eagerly tucking into plates of wings, sweet potato wedges and salads with fingers or knives and forks.
With mains between £7 and £15, the bottomless drinks at just under £3, and additional sides also at about £3, you can eat out quite cheaply at Nando’s. There’s plenty of healthy options, and choices for vegetarians too, even though it’s well known for its chicken – in fact, one of our friends is a veggie and Nando’s is one of his favourite restaurants!
I definitely picked well for our healthy mid-week date night dinner at The O2 Centre, Finchley Road. I’m already planning our next visit, eyeing up the healthy options at Wagamama.
Where’s your favourite place for a healthy dinner?
*I was provided with our meal by The O2 Centre, Finchley Road. All views my own.