The Brewery, Henrietta Street, Cheltenham, GL50 4EQ | (01242) 220082
Nando’s in Cheltenham, situated at The Brewery, is a relaxed restaurant famous for its peri-peri chicken. A well-priced option.
Portuguese chain Nando's puts up a chilli challenge in Cheltenham, that we couldn’t resist.
“If it’s your first time at Nando’s, go easy on the spices,” the affable host recommended with a knowing smile, as we were guided to a window seat overlooking Cheltenham’s bustling and brand-spanking new Brewery complex. It was indeed our first time at Nando’s, but we arrived at the informal, rustic-style restaurant with high-hopes having heard rave reviews about the chain which has spread across the globe since opening its doors in South Africa in 1987.
With menus featuring chicken, chicken and more chicken clutched in our hands and the promise of a fiery feast we proceeded to the till to order a chicken breast in pitta bread basted in a tame lemon and herb sauce (‘for the not so brave’), before throwing caution to the wind with a flame-grilled quarter of chicken drizzled in the hot version of the infamous Portuguese peri-peri sauce (‘for the real daredevils’). Despite a near capacity-crowd in the restaurant ordering took less than five minutes. We grabbed cutlery and more peri-peri to douse on our dinner as if glutton for punishment, and sat down sipping coca-cola (unlimited) and a glass of crisp, dry Portuguese chardonnay (unfortunately, not unlimited) for what we expected to be a long wait.
To our surprise, despite the seeming hustle bustle, steaming hot main courses arrived shortly after, accompanied by spicy rice (see a theme developing?), coleslaw and fries. Although we were surrounded by illustrations of bird’s eye chilli peppers, the feisty peri-peri was more than manageable – bringing a warm glow and a satisfying clearing of the sinuses rather than the eye-watering inferno we were expecting. The lemon and herb marinade was unsurprisingly subtle, and both poultry dishes proved moist and tender.
We felt a brief tinge, albeit short-lived, of guilt tucking-in whilst being watched overhead by a row of sweaty joggers in the gym opposite, but although the food looked almost too good to be healthy, Nando’s reassure their diners that their protein-rich meals are low in fat. An unlimited portion of creamy, chocolate frozen yoghurt later and we were considering signing up for a jog ourselves.
While Nando’s caters almost purely for poultry lovers and isn’t the place to head for a quiet romantic candle-lit dinner, it makes no false promises. Gloucestershire’s well-priced flagship restaurant proudly offers fast food, using superior ingredients, with a relaxed and informal atmosphere. It is family-friendly and the staff are attentive. And like most of the groups of teenagers and young twenty-somethings surrounding our table for two, we’ll be back again – bringing all of our friends for the chilli challenge next time.
The average price for a three-course meal for two at Nando’s, excluding drinks, is around £25.
By Michelle Fyrne
Sunday 06 May 2007