Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Nando's Camberwell - Fast food tales 2 of 3 - May 2012

I remember being told, many years ago now, that the Camberwell branch of Nando's was top of the 'Nando's Murder League'. Apparently more had occurred in this branch than any other. As an urban legend it's a fairly plausible one, given the chain's gritty location on the corner of Coldharbour Lane. If it were alive, the squat, ugly rotunda would almost certainly be a tattooed, bulldog of a Millwall fan, offering you out for looking at him the wrong way. Even the outdoor terrace reminds you of a prison yard with sharp railings and fastened down furniture.

At variance is the bright and cheerful faux-Portugese interior, like you've just found out that the Millwall fan has a penchant for flower arranging. It smells of lemon handwipes and barbequeuing chicken. And it's busy, wow is it busy. At 10 past 9 on a Friday night it's heaving with local families and young couples. The atmosphere is bright and loud, there's a queue for the takeout counter and a cluster of kids round the self service drinks machine. Romantic it ain't. 

And the food? You come to Nando's for the chicken. And only for the chicken. Coated in marinades of various strengths, it's actually pretty tasty. Sweeter than a jerk sauce and without the sour tang, it soaks through the reasonably tender chuck, working well with the open grill cooking technique, enhanced by the char. It matches RSPCA Freedom Foods standards and likely has better provenance that other local chicken shops, thankfully given the 300 odd outlets they have in this country alone. Sadly though, that's as good as it gets. The chips are soft, doughy and taste of the box they come in, coleslaw is sweet and oily. The overriding sensation is one of sugar. God knows what it'd be like with 20 oz of Coke to finish it off.

Mediocre sides aside, I can't bring myself to dislike Nando's. It's got to be better for you than a Big Mac or a KFC meal, and the place is bright, packed and friendly. It's not somewhere I go that often, but when I do get a craving for spicy chicken, it's not a bad standby.

Nando's on Urbanspoon


  1. I'd love to see the murder league! There is probably quite some competition, given Nando's locations!

  2. The chicken is good, but as you say the sides are really bad.... I can't believe they simply cannot cook fries. Unreal.
    I wonder if Nando's HQ has that information on file ?