May 13, 2016
I had the opportunity of attending Nando’s VIP launch party back in February before they opened. Through the course of the night, I was able to sample some of Nando’s most popular dishes. When I had heard that the world-famous chain was opening up in Edmonton, I was super excited. Nando’s originated from South Africa but their food has Mozambican and Portuguese influences. They are very well known for their peri peri chicken. The restaurant is currently located southside but another one is planned for a northside opening (yay!). Since the launch party was the very first night that they opened their doors, there were some kinks. The service was very inconsistent. There was a long wait even though I came during the later part of the evening. When my friend and I got seated, no server came by to explain to us how the night would go. Would we get to order off the menu? Or would different plates of food be brought around to be tasted? Eventually, I asked a nearby server and found out that we would be tasting different items being brought around the restaurant.
The interior of Nando’s was more modern and hip than I had expected. I thought it would be very plain jane on the inside but the wooden accents and artistic decor proved my thoughts wrong.
To start the dinner off, we each had a glass of their housemade sangria. It was deliciously refreshing and fruity. The taste of the wine wasn’t too strong either.
Portuguese Garlic Bread $4
The food tasting came out in a regular meal order: “appeteasers”, entrees, then desserts. The first appeteaser I tried was their Portuguese garlic bread. It was a baked Portuguese bun with a garlic and herb spread. The bun was a bit too chewy for my liking. On the other hand, the spread wasn’t overly filled with a garlic taste.
Peri-Peri Fries $3.75
Next up were the Peri-Peri fries. These fries were served with a Peri-naise sauce. It was a creamy blend similar to an aioli but not as thick. The lightly crispy fries had the right amount of salt on it.
Sliders $8.50 (3 Pcs)
We tried out both types of sliders that Nando’s offered. Found as an appeteaser, you have a choice of chicken or mushroom sliders. The chicken ones used Peri-Peri chicken with cilantro dressing and chili ham. The vegetarian option used roasted portabello mushrooms and halloumi cheese. I preferred the mushroom sliders better because the chicken sliders were very bland. There was barely any flavour or spices in it.
Lemon & Herb Chicken
All of the chicken at Nando’s is marinated for 24 hours in their secret sauce. The timeframe allows the flavor to be soaked right to the bone! After, they are flame grilled then basted in one of Nando’s Peri-Peri sauces. Their chicken is ordered based on a spiciness scale. I tried the lemon and herb chicken, which is further down on the scale since it’s not spicy. After taking a first bite of the lemon and herb chicken, I can see why they are well known for it. The chicken was deliciously juicy and tender. There was a bit of zest from the lemon with a balance of aromatic spices and herbs. The freshness of the chicken came through with every bite.
The other flavour of Peri-Peri chicken that I tried was the mildly spicy chicken. Maybe my tastebuds are weak but I found it to be too spicy for me. I had to take a sip of water after every bite!
Pasteis de Natas $2.50
Dessert offerings at Nando’s include pasteis de natas (Portuguese egg tarts), New York cheesecake, Nando’s kisses, and bottomless frozen yogurt. I had the pasteis de natas, which I was excited to eat. I’m a big fan of Hong Kong egg tarts so I wanted to see how the Portuguese version would compare. They have a custard in the center similar to creme brûlée. The crust was buttery and flaky. It was very tasty!
I feel like Nando’s is worth a try once or twice. There is a lot of hype surrounding it though, but that’s not necessarily bad.
Address: 4228 Gateway Blvd
Disclosure: I was invited to the VIP Launch Party, complimentary of Nando’s. A review was not expected. It is 100% unbiased and based on my own sincere opinion.