With such a diverse and multicultural community present alongside Kennedy Road, we are excited to introduce to you all our latest blog series: Kennedy Eats. Kennedy Eats will be a monthly feature showcasing the latest restaurant openings, food reviews, recipes, and more to highlight the best cuisines available close to home. Get ready as we go through a cultural explosion exploring new flavors each month.
This month’s feature: Nando’s (Kennedy Commons – 15 William Kitchen Road)
If you’re a fan of Swiss Chalet’s rotisserie chicken, you’re in for a treat. The restaurant’s menu is largely inspired by its Portuguese heritage and South African influences. With 1000+ restaurants worldwide, Nando’s is widely famous for their flame-grilled chicken and peri-peri sauce (a sauce derived from the African Bird’s Eye Chile). Let’s just say we now know why many have grown to love this remarkable establishment.
The heart and soul of this review comes down to Nando’s delectable chicken and peri-peri sauce. Their menu is jam-packed with plenty of options, including shareable dishes and vegetarian choices (known as the Veg PERidise). There is also no shortage of desserts: Portuguese Custard Tarts, Chilli Chocolate Cookies and Bottomless Frozen Yogurt are available to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re dining with a group of friends, you can guarantee there will be something for everyone.
To start, we ordered the Hummus with Peri-Peri Drizzle. What you can expect: creamy hummus and warm pita with a mini bottle of their peri-peri infused oil to tie it all in together. Overall, if you like hummus, Nando’s will not disappoint.
One of the great things about their menu is getting to choose how many sides you want accompanied with your meal. Once you look at all the options available we doubt you’ll be getting any less than two! Expect to choose from a range of peri fries, Corn, Garlic Bread, Coleslaw, and Macho Peas among others.
Based on how much you heat you can or are willing to handle, the Peri-ometer is there to guide you from selecting your own spice level- from Extra extra hot to more mild flavorings like Lemon & Herb, and Mango & Lime. If you need more flavorings to take it up a notch, there is a large range of condiments in the back to choose from, but the peri-peri sauces are seriously the cream of the crop.
For entrees we ordered: PERi-PERi Chicken Sandwich with 2 sides (Garlic Mashed Potatoes + Roasted Vegetables), and Double Chicken Skewers with 2 sides (Portuguese Rice and the Casa Salad). The freshly baked Portuguese bun was to die for with a crisp crust and soft inside. The chicken was tender, juicy, and flavorful – just the way chicken should be! As for the sides, they were all fresh, delicious and made for great complements to the dishes, but be warned that the Portuguese Rice has a touch of heat to it!
Despite the busy entrance on a Friday evening where most tables were already occupied, our wait time was not long (about 15 minutes). The staff was attentive, friendly and very knowledgeable about the menu items, especially for a first-time Nando’s goer like me!
Once you have been seated, servers bring the food to you and clear your table throughout. If you have any questions, rest assured that the staff is there to help you out. Unfortunately, reservations cannot be made, so we recommend arriving a bit earlier than anticipated, especially if meeting with friends and family.
If a romantic, intimate dinner is on your mind, count Nando’s out. On a Friday night, Nando’s was busy and loud but for all the right reasons. Lively music plays throughout the restaurant accompanying its eclectic and funky South African inspired décor. Nando’s stays true to its roots with vibrant colours, paintings, and wall art telling the Nando’s story. The draped fabrics and dropped lighting across the entire ceiling add just the right amount of modern ambiance to make a statement.
While there are plenty of booths and family-style tables, the restaurant is very much open concept. From the entrance, cash and food station, everything can be seen at a glance. As a first-time Nando’s customer, the set up can be a bit confusing. It’s a fast food/restaurant hybrid- while many are looking to dine in; many are also looking to take out. Just remember to order first before taking your seat and keep in mind that most condiments and drinks are self serve at a separate station!
Overall: Nando’s is the true definition of elevated fast food. Their menu is reasonably priced, and the portions are perfectly sized to keep your hunger at bay. We couldn’t be happier to see Nando’s open up in the Dorset Park/Kennedy Road neighbourhood.
If you’re looking for fantastic décor, authentic and flavourful dishes and a fun night out, consider Nando’s a first choice.