Chicken Peri Peri meets Kukkad, Tandoor da in a burst of genius
The long lines and thronging crowds at this outlet are a reality, but at the end of it, there’s some seriously good, spicy, succulent chicken with a tang. Even tandoori chicken is not this good!
Atmospherics: Forget about the rather insipid interiors done in all-natural shades of wood and the service which is either surprisingly efficient or hopelessly insensitive (on one of my visits I ordered two dishes; both were delivered at the same time! For a single diner!) On the whole, the glory is in the food, the whole food and nothing but the food; all else is incidental. Do try to sit near the windows for the best view. There is a high degree of standardization in the look of the eatery across countries, and the standardization in the food is even more impressive.
Table Talk: Let’s face it. Nando’s Peri Peri is the reason why you will be braving the crowds. The concept for the entire menu has come from Portuguese-ruled Africa and I find that there are more than a few touches of Brazil in the espetada. First of all, every single item of food that you order will have some amount of the trademark sauce in it. You need to tell the server what level (out of four, ranging from completely non-spicy to incendiary) you want your food. Peri Peri chicken is available in three portion sizes: half and quarter (the latter is available boneless too). Rs 310/170 is great value for money. The chicken is sourced from a single supplier, marinated for at least 24 hours till the spices and lime penetrate the flesh all the way to the bone, and then grilled on an open flame. Part of the secret is in keeping the skin intact, so that it remains succulent (that’s where it scores on tandoori chicken which is, as often as not, bone dry).
There are other starters and snacks – chicken livers and Portuguese roll (Rs 200), espetada rustica (Rs 430) which was served on an upright skewer reminiscent of Brazilian churrasco and Moroccan butternut and grilled pepper with chicken fillet in a burger (Rs 220). The livers were way too tart; the espetada too tough and the burger too uninteresting compared to the brilliant Peri Peri.
Plus and minus: Do not touch the Portuguese lemonade (Rs 120) whose dried herbs appear powdery and stale. Do go in for the sinful desserts.
Must try: Peri Peri chicken wings; Perinaise dip; caramel cheesecake
2nd floor, DLF Promenade, Nelson Mandela Marg, Vasant Kunj
Open from 11 am to 11 pm
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 1,000