Still not straying from my halal conquest while in Singapore, it’s high time now for the world renown chain restaurant Nando’s as my next target.
While the interest in eating Portuguese or African-inspired dishes in Indonesia may still yet to be discovered, or if you want to count Casa de Peri at Kota Kasablanka as its sole representative as of today, I bet that the cuisine’s presence here in Indonesia may actually receive warm welcome.
Nando’s was here in the past but it didn’t go well with the market several years ago. But how about now? There’s indeed a drastic change with how the foodies here on seeing something new!
Talking about how adventurous Jakartans nowadays with their food could be an endless story but for an international chain like Nando’s, they might want to consider entering the market here. Which is why, apart from the fact that it is halal-certified in Singapore, my exploration went actually very well that day.
Initially Casa Bom Vento was the destination but since it has not reached the time to open, our hunger brought us to Nando’s as an exchange. Located inside the all-about-eating mall of 112 Katong on the famous Joo Chiat Road, Nando’s has a share of space and atmosphere which were very comfortable for family dining and for couples like us.
The main star here is of course, the chicken. It can come in quarter size, half chicken, or even whole chicken. Afterwards you can combine the chicken with one or two side dishes such as rice, fries, salad, and anything else.
The chicken came in several degrees of spiciness and of course, the chilies are not the likes of habanero, jalapeno, or bird-eye chilies; but it came from the peri peri chilies. These chilies which originally came from Africa was brought by the Portuguese during the age of spice to India and introduced to the world. Hence, there’s this unique intertwining between Mozambican and Portuguese cuisines in Nando’s dishes.
I went straight with the quarter chicken. It was grilled and smothered with mild peri peri sauce. Instead appearing as the golden or blackened grilled chicken that I always know, it came in the color of cream and has these crunchy charred spots around. When cut open, it was moist and all tender. The flavor was a spot on and it tastes like a vinegary, spicy creamy spread which works so well with everything.
Wanting to ask for the usual chili sauce (oh gimme a break, Rian), the waitress instead pointing me up to this sauce station where I can take different degrees of peri peri sauce, black peppers, and even salad dressing that looks like a pesto sauce.
I took the liberty to try several bottles at once and found out that the mild level is the best among all. The garlic peri peri tastes a bit strong with the garlic and not really up to my liking, and meanwhile the hottest peri peri sauce feels like they are punching it with a lot of tabasco instead of the character of spiciness that Indonesians are accustomed of.
It was a really nice experience at Nando’s with all the kind and swift services, especially of course with the food. It’s not cheap, of course, but let’s say that it’s worth it when once in a while you might want to switch from Chili’s to Nando’s once in a while, if it one day opens in Jakarta.
Please come again for us, Nando’s!
FUN FACT: Nando’s originally came from South Africa.
NANDO’S – SINGAPORE
Some dishes are suitable for vegetarians
Address (Singapore only):
- Bugis Junction
- Tanglin Mall
- Plaza Singapura
- Tampines Mall
- 112 Katong Mall
- The Star Vista
Opening hours: Daily, 10am – 10pm