Nando’s in Bury St Edmunds serves delicious flame-grilled peri peri chicken
By WILLIAM HOWARD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 9, 2016
My brother-in-law served in the Air Force in Britain, and when my wife told him we were going there, he said, “Eat at Nando’s.”
Not “make sure you see Buckingham Palace,” or “be careful driving on the left side of the road.” He said, “Eat at Nando’s.”
Nando’s is an international Mozambican/Portuguese-themed restaurant chain specializing in chicken dishes with lemon and herb, mango and lime, medium, hot, extra hot or extra-extra hot piri piri marinades. It was founded in South Africa in 1987 and now has more than 1,000 locations in 30 countries.
Being an American, had I not heard of Nando’s before, it might have been ages before I even stumbled into one during my stint in England. Thankfully, I listened to my brother-in-law’s advice.
At first it almost didn’t seem worth going. Sure, the restaurant was clean and very colorfully decorated — Nando’s claims to have more than 5,000 works of South African art displayed in restaurants throughout the UK — but it was way too crowded.
So crowded that often you have to wait at the entrance for a table while gawking at people eating chicken that you urgently want to dig into yourself. The counter where you place an order also is usually crowded with people jostling for position while trying to remember their order and what table they’re sitting at.
So why are all of these business professionals, dating couples, college students and families enduring this packed restaurant experience?
After my long wait I learned it’s because of the delicious flame-grilled peri peri chicken served in quarters, halves or whole. Also, butterfly breasts, wings and in burgers, pitas, salads and wraps.
My wife and I ordered a meal platter that came with two drinks, two sides and a split whole chicken. The poor bird didn’t stand a chance as we attacked it with our forks and fingernails. I actually felt remorse at my barbaric eating behavior as I looked from my oily hands to the remains of our meal. Luckily Nando’s has a handy washing basin located right next to the fizzy drink replenishment.
Coffee and dessert helped us overcome our guilt about our uncivil table manners. We both just felt very content after dinner.
While leaving I nodded sympathetically to the couple desperately waiting for our table. I could understand why they would wait so long for a seemingly simple chicken dinner.
Address: Arc Centre, Prospect Row, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3DG. The restaurant is near the Apex Theater and can be reached from RAF Mildenhall in about 30 minutes via the A14. There are more than 280 branches located in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Hours: Open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
Menu: On and off the bone flame-grilled chicken in piri piri marinades with various sides, burgers, pitas, wraps, salads, desserts and drinks from soda to wine and beer.
Prices: Chicken varies from 4.40 ($5.85) to 12.75 ($16.95) pounds depending on whether you want a whole bird or just a piece. Burgers, pitas and wraps range from 5.95 ($7.90) to 13.15 pounds ($17.50) depending on whether you order them alone or with sides. Salads are from 4.40 pounds ($5.85) or up to 10.15 pounds ($13.50) if you want chicken included. The best deals are the platters for 17.45 ($23.20) to 44.25 pounds ($58.78), which include chicken, sides and drinks for dining parties of up to six people. My wife and I ordered a meal platter, coffee and dessert for 28.50 pounds (about $37.90 dollars).
Attire: Casual, the crowd varies from well-dressed couples on dates to college students or families with children.
Information: Phone: (+44) (0) 1284 763754; website: www.nandos.co.uk.