Nando’s Peri Peri arrived in Washington, DC (and in the U.S. for that matter) last year but opened a restaurant in my neighborhood of Dupont Circle several weeks ago. When a second one opened practically on my doorstep, I went within days of opening. I love hot sauce, and this place knows how to do it right!
I had heard a lot about this South African chain, which opened its first restaurant in 1987 and then expanded t0 the UK in 1992. As you can see from the row of hot sauce bottles, spicy is their hallmark. Incidentally, the various Nando’s websites (USA, UK, South Africa) all emphasize how their ingredients and recipes are based on the cuisine of Portuguese settlers in Mozambique who, at the turn of last century, brought it to South Africa – I love how detailed the background on the food is and how it is a central tenet of what has become a huge chain.
Enough history and concept – let’s talk about the food. Husband and I started with their Peri-Peri Nuts, which are a nice combination of almonds, cashews and macademias along with some spices and slight smokiness.
Then we split a half chicken with garlic bread and mashed potatoes, because husband wanted garlic bread and i wanted mashed potatoes. The chicken is marinated in some of their medium Peri Peri sauce before being flame-grilled to order. It was all very delicious and satisfying. I highly recommend splitting a platter between two people, as the portion was plenty of food for two. I really enjoyed the food – it’s flavorful and spicy if you want it to be, but it does not have to be, especially if you use the Wild Herb sauce. I really liked both the Medium and Hot Sauce, and the Extra Hot in small doses. All three sauces were lovely with the chicken and mashed potatoes.
All photos by City Girl
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