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Category: Portuguese

Nando’s, North Vancouver

There is a new “Nando’s” in North Vancouver, and I came up during their grand opening to celebrate the occasion. “Nando’s” is a known for their Portuguese flame grilled chicken, seasoned in their trademark Peri-Peri spices, a sauce and a flavour I would learn to recreate this evening.

 

For the recipe and the how to, plus a recap of all the below that we enjoyed, check out my latest vlog on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei!

 

Like all their other restaurants, this location had its own character. Warm tones, wooden fixtures, and colourful geometrics coming together to bring you a casual and modern setting. Comfortable, but still dressy; enough to enjoy a glass of wine at, and so we did.

New to their menu was the availability of sangria, described on their menu as a “fresh and fruity mix of red wine and berries”. They also have the regular wine, if you didn’t want the fruit.

They are a great way to start your meal, just like the sides of mixed salted nuts and olive oil seasoned olives.

The “Peri peri chippers” are also new to their menu. House made and fried crispy warm chips, dusted in their peri peri seasoning, served with a side of their “perinaise” to dip in to. “Perinaise” is what they call their blend of peri peri seasonings and mayonnaise for a creamy and spicy spread. So good and so popular that it is also available in a squeeze bottle for you to take home.

Their “peri peri crusted wings” (also new), are available for ordering as a trio, quintet, and in a group of ten. The seasoning creates a crust over each juicy piece of wing or drumlet, giving it a crunchy texture to sink your teeth into.

 

They also offer regularly seasoned wings, in plain, herb and lemon, mango and lime, medium, hot, and “xtra hot”. Like all their other chicken, the choice is yours, but if you need additional heat or more flavour they also have their bottles of peri peri on stand by for self pouring.

But the best way to try all the above is to order their “wing roulette”. 10 wings in varying peri peri heats, where half of the fun is seeing who gets the “xtra hot” one. A game we played and filmed in the video above.

“Grilled chicken livers” are also new to the “Nando’s” menu. Having grown up eating liver, I didn’t shy away from trying their rendition. We choose a medium spice and opted to have it with a side of their garlic bread.

The nuggets of organ meat were good on its own, plenty of flavour and not ashy. However, I much more preferred it with the bread as base and some of their hot peri peri sauce for additional flavour.

If you visit “Nando’s”, you have to get some of their rotisserie style chicken, as it is their most popular dish. We had our half chicken on its own, in mango lime. The fragrant sweetness of the mango was a nice break in the consistent taste of everything else.

And be sure to save room for dessert because the “Pasteis de natas” should not be missed. I would and do travel to my local “Nando’s”, just for one of their traditional Portuguese custard tarts. A sweet flakey crust, cushioning a creamy custard that just melts on your tongue. Delicious.

The “Nando’s kiss” is a new dessert, along with the bottomless frozen yogurt, and their chilli chocolate cookie. The “kiss” was named after the Hersey’s chocolate, a shell of chocolate, topped with whipped cream, housing a dark chocolate ice cream centre. Sadly, our dessert came out before we were ready for it, so we sent it back. And as it sat in their refrigeration unit, it melted, the result was a pool of chocolate in chocolate; chocolate soup as it were. Therefore I cannot give a true assessment of this.

In between courses we took part in their peri peri making work shop. A table was set up with prepped ingredients, all chopped up and minced. Their marketing rep takes you through the process, spooning ingredients and grinding them together with a mortar and pestle. As you worked to grind everything down to a paste, she educated you on their trademark spice.

Their peri peri peppers grows in Africa, it is the only chilli that grows towards the sun. The work required to pick it and make it into the sauce and spice we know and love, gives African workers the ability to earn a living, and take care of their families. “Nando’s” pride themselves on this fact, realizing that it not just about making a sauce, it is about the people behind it as well.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
A solid destination for some good chicken. And with an extensive menu that includes salads, wraps, sandwiches, and meat on skewers; you could eat with them everyday and still find yourself trying something new. I will be picking up from them, the next time I have a potluck, a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

NANDO’S
148 13th St E, North Vancouver, BC V7M 2H7
604-988-4915
nandos.ca
Nando's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nando’s Richmond Garden City

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As a business major and a food blogger that reviews setting and service, on top of the meal had; I enjoy any media event that allows me to learn more about a business first hand. My blog isn’t a research piece on what I read about online. It is a review and the recall of what I have saw and learned first hand. So, to interact with a business owner and discover another reason to visit a restaurant, outside of just good chicken, is worth my time and candor. And today, being being able to meet and see the enthusiasm on the face of the Nando’s CEO’s, and to hear him speak the mantra of his company with such passion was inspiring. I left, not only with my belly fed, but my heart filled with all the good work this chicken chain does for the community in South Africa, that they grew up in.

As a disclaimer, when it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

Truth be told, this is my first taste of “Nando’s” chicken, the popular Portagese style chicken chain. My partner frequents them, but I have never found myself dining in or grabbing lunch from any of their food court presences. I guess with all the one of a kind options and all the other more dressed up dine in chains, this never came up as an option. I don’t immediately look to them as the date night choice, or a girl’s night out venue. They are more, one of those places you need to try and end up going back to, because you develop a craving for.

So not only was today the opportunity to try them for the first time, but it was a chance to visit their newest dine-in location, now open in North Richmond. They are one of the draws slowly expanding the area, along with other big box stores like Walmart, Bed & Bath, and DSW.

Only ever seeing their food court kiosk, I was immensely impressed by the decor of this flagship location. This large corner restaurant beckoned you forth with their promise of their “peri peri chicken” right in the exterior’s tag line. And tonight their chicken mascot made them all the more welcoming. I love a mascot, but am always too shy to take advantage of the photo op or to give it the hug I want to deep down inside.

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Every “Nando” restaurant is designed differently. They are a chain that doesn’t want to feel like a chain. And this location certainly sets them apart, you get the South African feel with the warm colour pallet. Green and red upholstered cushions, pale blue and white tiles, and geometric shapes painted in green. Twine and coloured string wove its way around a wooden framework, encompassing one of their many seating areas. The vaulted ceilings were hung with wicker and linen lampshades, clam shell lights with metal structures soften by threads. A contrast of soft with hard, the common with something unique.

We would later learn that the above, and majority of their distinct decor pieces are hand made by local African artists, a similar story with the chillies used in their trademark peri peri sauce.

Their African bird’s eye chilli is the product of farmers in Africa and an essential ingredient in the “Nando’s Peri Peri sauce”. The story behind these distinct chillies is that they are grown to keep elephants away from farm land and from eating crops. Apparently the mammals stave away from the heat of these spicy red peppers. So the farmers keep their crop and “Nando’s” pays them for growing it at the boarders of their fields. The grilled chicken company is conscious of the community they grew up in and want to give back to it.

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Those who attended the event, and I were given a corner with a lengthy family style table. A piece of furniture important to note, as the “Nando’s” meal centre around the family and their goal is to bring everyone together over good food. Keeping on this trend, they ensure that none of their restaurants have television sets to distract from dialog. And most of their newer location have the necessity of sinks outside of the washroom. This for ease of hand washing and cleaning, because take it from me, eating chicken wings can get messy, and cleaning meat from bone is a two handed job. The sink provides an easy solution.

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Continuing to consider the ease of the customer, there are a few perks dining-in allows you to take advantage of. They have plenty of bottled sauces for you to take to use at your tables. There is a high tech soda machine, giving you the option to choose your drink or to mix it all together with a touch of the screen. Over 10 choices more than your regular line up at any fast food joint. And this includes the regular and sugar free versions of your favourite pop and carbonated fruit juices. There is also a soft serve machine. It dispensed a strawberry cream that we ended up gingerly piping into glasses for a DIY ice cream float. This is probably not a standard offering, but one you should adventure if given the ability.

We were offered an assembly of shareable appetizers and large family style serving plates to pick off of.

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The “mixed olives” is a mix of green and black olives dresses up with garlic, pepper, and chilli.

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The “peri-peri nuts” was almonds, cashew, and macadamias seasoned in their trademark flavours.

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The “Roasted red pepper dip” was flavourful with spices and spicy with the use of chillies. It had a tang flavour that was slightly sweet.

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The “Hummus with pita” was your regular chunky chickpea dip, but served with a “Nando” only twist. It comes with a tiny bottle of peri peri drizzle, that you pour over for just your right amount of peppery goodness. With both dips I wished for a fluffier pita bread, something more substantial than the dry limp one we made due with here.

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The difference between “Portuguese garlic bread” and regular garlic bread is the type of bun used. These are baked Portuguese buns coated in a garlic and herb spread.

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All their “flame-grilled wings” are served whole, with the drum and tip included. They are seasoned in the same flavours as their chicken parts. We tried the lemon herb in mild and a hot with their peri peri sauce. Each lean wing had a nice smokey flavour. But I prefer a fattier piece with juicy flavour and a sticky sauce. Overall I rather their dark meat chicken parts, and recommend going for some instead of the wings.

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Our large group shared a hefty portion of chicken legs and thighs. Once again, available to us in a mild lemon herb, and this time medium and hot peri peri sauce. On an interesting note, the pieces often appear squished because they flatten the chicken used and season it using less marinade.

I am partial to dark meat because it is juicy and tender and this delivered. But it was very telling how many used the bottles sauces on the side to pick up the flavour of the chicken, even though there was sauce already poured over it.

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To make your meal more well rounded they offer a few sides to accompany it. Pick and choose from list that includes garlic mashed potatoes, macho peas, salad, sweet potatoes; or fries, potato wedges, and vegetables seasoned in their peri peri spices.

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I liked the spiced rice and coleslaw for my sides the best.

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To end the meal we are given a “Portuguese egg tart”. It was a creamy custard surrounded by a smokey flaky pastry. I was blown away by how good it was. Dare I say, the best I have had? I would go back just for a dozen of these. That and to try their “wing roulette”. A fun game where you pick a wing and hope that it’s not the extra hot one that you end up with. I love being offered a different way to experience my food.

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As an extra little bonus, we were treated to a make your own peri peri sauce workshop, we were given a demo and the opportunity to see how our mix faired against their trademark blend. In ended in a mini competition, judged by their CEO. Sadly I did not win, as my batch was made with an excess of oil.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This was quite the introduction to the Nando’s brand. And like I said, theirs isn’t the restaurant you would think of when looking for a date night option, or a place to hang out with friends at. But they are definitely a good casual space to gather your extended family within. Because once you had your first taste, its one of a kind flavour is one that you will want to revisit. And with food court presences and several locations around two it is easy to not deny that craving. This location is a little far for me, but with its amazing setting and its own soft serve ice cream machine, it is the one I would recommend.

 

NANDO’S
Richmond Garden City
Unit 1005, Building F, 4711 McClelland Road, Richmond BC
604-244-8004
nandos.ca
Nando's Garden City Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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