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Joelyn Speaks: Food – Nando’s Chicken

Avariel, Mintea and Raven have all given me raving reviews of Nando’s Chicken from their Nando’s experience in Australia. So when it opened in Bugis Junction, everyone was all talk about it.

I wanted to go try it out but it did not really strike me until Avariel said, “I want to try Nando’s. Now.”

So Avariel and I got off our butts and headed down to Nando’s.

The place where we dined.

A quick story before Nando’s officially opened her on Mother’s Day (9th May 2010). Avariel and I were in Bugis the Thursday before Mother’s Day but because we thought Nando’s was not to be opened until Sunday. But while walking to Iluma, guess which restaurant we saw nicely done and opened? But they were having their training program on that day so it was not officially opened anyway =(.

So I met Avariel in front of Nando’s before heading in just before dinner time. By then it was already relatively crowded and stuff. The manager got me a seat first because Avariel was semi-lost (HEE). He said, “Just in case you can’t get any seating later, your friend is coming soon anyway right?”

We got our seats and got our menus. We thought it was pretty tight, because we were seated on a single table with tables and seats surrounding us, so it’s like little boat in the middle of tanker fleet.

They didn’t have the chicken wraps Avariel loved so much in Australia but we decided to get a starter together with a premium order so we could both share. However, nothing could actually prepare us for what was about to happen later…

Open concept kitchen/ bar.

While it looks perfectly normal and cosy and stuff, the place started getting smoky soon after. I’m talking real smoky until it was almost fog-like and hazy. Avariel and I turned and saw the chaos that erupted from the kitchen and soon after, people were either coughing or leaving. Even the staff were getting the brunt of the mechanical disorder.

BUT!

And I say that in capitals, because Nando’s handled it very well. As soon as the smokiness rose, the restaurant was closed and the orders were stopped to further aggravate the situation. – Good damage control done there. One of the managers also went around, apologising for the incident, explaining the situation to us and giving out vouchers.

Despite the mishap, our food was coming. Staff were running around assuring every customer that as long as they’ve placed an order, the food was coming.

True enough, the food came. Staff were a lil confused but no one can fault them on that, the mishap had caused a bit of confusion. We finally got our starter: Portuguese Garlic Roll and our main course: Espetada (Mild Peri) with Mediterranean Rice and Coleslaw.

Le Espetada: Bueno, no?
My Crimson Cola.

Avariel and I shared the Espetada, grilled chicken thigh with peppers and side dishes.

All the mayhem aside, the food was GOOD. Chicken was not stringy and cut right through, no problems there, so that spells out that the chicken was tender and bursting with flavour (needless to say, I have sensitive taste buds and Mild Peri set my tongue on fire). The grilled peppers skewered together in the huge kebab complemented the chicken, balancing the savoury, tender chicken with sweet crunch.

Even presentation was well done and easy to get through. The last thing you’ll need dealing with kebabs is chicken sticking onto the kebab skewer, sending flying chicken and peppers everywhere- No such thing here. Instead, they used a standing metal kebab so the customers can easier slide the meat off the vertica, hanging skewer easily, no flying meat there!

For those intrigued by the term “Crimson Cola” from my second picture, here’s the clarification: Crimson Cola is just coke mixed with pomegranate juice, garnished with a lemon slice and mint leaf. Tasted kinda like Shirley Temple mixed with Virgin Mojito. Nice. I don’t drink so plus points =).

So now that food has been settled, we thought we would just pay the bill and head off after eating. During the course of the meal, we had the management come to each table AT LEAST THREE TIMES apologising and explaining what really happened at the back, which I applaud because it’s better than letting your customers sit there, deciding whether or not to go back. – Tip: It is always a good idea to update your consumers when something affecting them happens.

The best part actually happened when one of the wait staff came to us while we were finishing up and said, “We’re sorry for the incident and for that, the management has decided that all food ordered will be on the house.”

Essentially speaking, we ate there for free.

So I know there are going to be the “you’re-blogging-it-in-good-light-because-you-ate-there-for-free-right?!” comments but effectively speaking, it could have been worse. I’m just very impressed at the quick action done by Nando’s, avoiding unnecessary confusion amongst the customers despite the smoky atmosphere.

For those concerned about the present situation, I’m sure Nando’s is back and raring to serve you the best Peri-Peri Chicken ever (It happened over a week before this post, anyway). For more information, click here or get them on Facebook.

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