234-244 Stockwell Rd, Brixton, London SW9 9SP
First a disclaimer. Nando’s for me has always been a place of comfort and consistency. A visit to Nando’s as a teenager in South London was a rite of passage. Where you would go after the cinema, swimming, or even your first date. I Love Nando’s.
When we started this blog we said that we wouldn’t review chains. But our blog, our rules, and over time they have slowly crept in. After finding out that Nando’s in Brixton is one of the least well known, out of its 339 UK branches, we decided this was reason enough to pay it a visit.
For those that haven’t visited yet (what have you been doing?!), Nando’s is a quick and cheap eat, the ‘Home of the legendary, Portuguese flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken’. It started off in South Africa but it’s a Portugese/Mozambican themed chain, focusing on grilled chicken. The one in Brixton isn’t the nicest Nando’s by far, set on the ground floor of an unprepossessing office block opposite the Academy in Stockwell Road. In my opinion the best I’ve used is by Clink Street. Brixton is more canteen-like inside but cheerful enough and, at the time we visited, 7ish on a weekday evening, there’s plenty of room. There’s also an outside sitting area, although not one I’d fancy, being just round the corner from the measuring station that registers some of London’s worse pollution.
But the décor isn’t why you visit. The reason for this review is that we wanted a relatively cheap, fast, non-fussy family-style restaurant, where you might actually meet your next door neighbours (we met James and his family). “Hipster”is not really a word I use but the quickest way to describe the other diners that evening was to say they reflected the diversity of the people who actually live in Brixton and was most definitely a hipster-free zone.
It’s easier if you know the ropes before you go in. Everything is super quick, you order the food and drink at the counter and the chicken is already cooking on the impressive grills and the food delivered according to your number displayed on your table. It can’t have taken much more than five minutes between when we ordered and the food was delivered.
But what about the food? My favourite and top recommendation is the ¼ chicken with two sides (my choice – peri-salted chips and the garlic bread). Can’t go wrong with double carbs. But the real adventure is in the sauces! There are six options ranging from “Plain…ish” to “Extra Hot” via “Mango & Lime”. You specify your choice when ordering but they also come in bottles, so you can add extra, or try something different, at the table.
There is quite a choice of starters, salads and different ways of tackling your chicken – burgers, pittas, wraps – but we went for the straight-forward options. Two quarter chickens on the bone and one chicken thighs off the bone. Each come with an individual choice of two sides, so, with a bit of coordination, the three of us were also able to share more peri-salted chips plus a ‘supergrain’ salad, coleslaw and “macho peas’. The last of these consists of whole peas drenched in pea mash, parsley, mint and chilli – a definite hit.
I was with two Nando’s virgins who previously might have been a bit snooty but, in the event, they were both pleasantly surprised. We all found the chicken portions were more than adequate and the sides were all of a decent size for sharing.
To drink we had a couple of beers (2M from Mozambique) and a glass of decent wine. We were out fairly quickly but there’s no pressure and you could make it more of an evening with the interesting looking starters – Hummus with PERi-PERi drizzle anyone? – and a small selection of desserts, including a “Naughty Nata” Portugese custard tart.
The bill, including drinks, came to £38.95 plus service.