Much as we passionately love Indian food, every once in a while even we need a pause from our desi staples of Tandoori Chicken, Masala Dosa, Palak Paneer and Gulab Jamun.
So, off we headed to the fast-casual Portuguese-Mozambican restaurant chain Nando’s Peri-Peri in Annapolis (MD) yesterday.
Our interest in Nando’s was piqued by SI blog reader Kreacher’s recent comment on the restaurant’s fine Peri-Peri fries.
For the curious, Peri-Peri is Swahili for the African Bird’s Eye chilli, a variety of chilli indigenous to Africa (source:Wiki).
Although belonging to the fast-food genre, Nando’s has a far superior ambiance compared to your Mac, Burger King, Hardees and Taco Bell.
There are nice booths with leather seats here not those ugly, garish-colored benches you encounter at Mac or Burger King.
Yes, there’s Beer and Wine too at Nando’s. 😉
You order and pay up at the counter and a waiter brings the food to the table.
Being as usual in a famished state, we ordered Peri-Peri Chips/Fries (with Peri Salt and Perinaise dip), Butternut Squash and Couscous Salad, Peri-Peri Nuts, Chicken Sandwich, the Naughty Natas dessert and, of course, a bottle of ice-cold Portuguese Beer Sagres.
What’s a meal without Beer, eh?
The Sagres beer was expensive ($4.95) but made for a nice combination with all those hot Peri-Peri sauces.
Butternut Squash and Couscous Salad – Delightful
Oh, what a healthy treat.
Looks yummy too.
Nothing like tasty stuff coming in good-looking packages, if you get our drift. 😉
As the Nando’s menu describes it, this salad consists of oven roasted butternut and red onion with olives, grilled corn and couscous served with dressing on a bed of leaves.
The salad was a little cold for comfort, particularly as it was a wee bit chilly yesterday.
With the olives and all, the salad was tasty enough as it is.
But if you want a kick to it, we strongly recommend you add a few drops of Nando’s extraordinary Garlic Peri Peri sauce from the tall bottle with the metal snout. With the Garlic sauce, the salad undergoes a dramatic transformation and Nirvana is guaranteed! Absolutely.
The Wild Herb Peri-Peri sauce was fine too but we were too chicken to try the Hot Peri Peri sauce.
At $7.95, the Butternut Squash and Couscous Salad is a little expensive for gluttons like yours truly habituated to gormandizing at all-you-can-eat $11.99 Indian buffets.
But, hey a welcome change. Even if you don’t like it, at least you know what some other people in the world eat.
Peri-Peri Fries – Beri Beri Nice
Now for the fries, the main purpose of our visit.
We’re happy to tell y’all that the fries with Peri-Peri salt on them (and Perinaise, a mustard-like dip on the side) were beri beri good.
Sure, they were not as crunchy as the Mac fries but they did not have McDonald’s weird pale color either.
We attribute the magic of the Nando’s fries to the reddish-brown colored Peri-Peri Salt (15 cents extra) that adds a nice spicy zing. Not the pepper kind of spice but a mild red chili powder kind of spice.
Perinaise comes in a small cup and can be best described as Mayonnaise Light. Not bad but nothing extraordinary either.
We say, forget the Perinaise. Instead, add a few drops of the Garlic Peri-Peri Sauce on top of the fries and, again, you’ve got yourself a BIG Winner!
But why does Nando’s charge 15-cents extra for the Peri-Peri salt. That was a bit off-putting. 🙁
Chicken Sandwich served on a largish Portuguese roll with green leaf lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise gave no reason for any complaint.
We opened up the top of the roll, added a few drops of that heavenly Garlic Peri-Peri sauce and it was sextasy redux.
Our solicitous waiter informed us that the meat was fresh and came from the restaurant’s custom order from a place in Baltimore.
Peri-Peri Nuts – Go for It
If you’re into booze as much as we’re, you are probably forever scrounging for some nice accompaniments.
Folks, there’s no better bar-snack than Peri-Peri Nuts ($2.95). A nice, crunchy combination of spiced almonds, cashews and macadamia, they’re just perfect with a bottle of Sagres Beer or our favorite Gin and Piña colada cocktail.
After tasting a sample, we liked the nuts so much that we placed a second order of Peri Peri nuts.
Like all the other stuff we’d tasted so far, the Peri Peri Nuts too had a fresh taste and more importantly did not have the chemical after-taste and smell common to the roasted nuts purchased at your local American grocery store or Sam’s Club.
As were finishing up our Chicken Sandwich and Butternut Squash salad, our waiter got us our dessert Naughty Natas, a Portuguese pastry.
Naughty Natas is a custard tart served on a flaky, layered crispy bread base. Though it was slightly low on sugar for our Gulab Jamun and Gajar Halwa hardened palate we enjoyed this Portuguese pastry so much that we placed another order for take-out.
We were pleased with our waiter Danny aka Dayanand, a desi bloke from Chennai.
Danny went out of his way to please us and even offered to get us a replacement salad should the Butternut Squash and Couscous not meet with our approval.
Hey, you get stainless steel spoons and forks too here.
All in all, we had a pleasant time at Nando’s in Annapolis (located in the Annapolis Mall, between Sears and Border’s book store).
We’d definitely reconsider a repeat visit to Nando’s should we happen to be in the area or drive through Annapolis.
SearchIndia.com strongly recommends Nando’s Annapolis (MD).
panni soukamya? my tamil friend is helping me…It means how you doing my friend? Off the topic: do you live in parsipanny, nj?
Folks, where did this clown emerge from.
Keep going like this and you’ll be exterminated with extreme prejudice. And no one’ll be sad to see you go.
No, we ain’t from Parsipanny, NJ. Nor from Hicksville, NY.
Unleash Ezekiel 25:17 on this motherf*cker. 😉
Nice movie. Great scene!
For those who came in late, we did a brief post here: Sorry Folks, Kaminey Ain’t No Pulp Fiction
sorry…he just told me the real meaning of panny….delete the previous comment…
Unfortunately the Canadian outlets (at least the ones in Vancouver) don’t have the olives. I tried them in London a few months back though, and they were fantastic. From your description it seems like the US menus are more in line with the UK ones than the Canadian menus are.
Glad you liked this place.
Nando’s has four outlets in the U.S., mostly in and around DC, and plans to open two more in the area.
But we doubt they have staying power. During our visit, the place was as deserted as a graveyard.
Off-topic: Do you read Stephen King. Just read his 130-page novella 1922 from Full Dark, No Stars (published in 2010). Pretty good, in a grisly, Kingly-fashion. 😉
We were surprised to learn that a Bollywood film No Smoking (2007) is based on the short story Quitters Inc by King
Some of our readers are probably aware that several of King’s works have been made into movies. The best known one is, of course, Shawshank Redemption, a movie nominated for seven Oscars in 1994 but swept away by the Forrest Gump tsunami.
Nope, I don’t read Stephen King, because of a preset notion that he writes mostly horror novels, which is a genre that I have no particular fondness for. I must admit that I have never given his novels in other genres much of a chance. Now might be a good time to start though, and pull my Kindle out from the packing box I had relegated it to during my move.
Regarding Nando’s the chain might succeed with some presence and USP. Most local chains succeed the same way, like Jack-in-the-Box (with its 24-hour breakfast) or In-N-Out (with its stripped down menu) or Round Table Pizza (which does a pretty good job of kicking Domino’s and Pizza Hut butts). A bunch of my ex-project members who spent considerable time in London were impressed with Nando’s enough to even consider starting up the franchise in a big way in the US. Who knows?
If they can thrive, we’d be happy. Would be nice to see them in our state too. 60-miles (one-way) is not a short drive.
(For some reason, your comments have started going into the spam folder leading us to miss them for a considerable while. Not sure, if it’s your IP or some keywords we’ve defined. Will check later.)
I can see a few words above that might trigger doubts in Akismet, but I have seen much worse words get through! I believe my reference to the burger chain above (which to the uninitiated sounds like an explicit repetitive motion people would perform while engaging in specific recreational activities) might be the culprit. My last comment which got sent to spam made a mention of the same chain, while a comment in the interim on this very thread made no such mention and passed fine.
Love your hilariously worded which to the uninitiated sounds like an explicit repetitive motion people would perform while engaging in specific recreational activities. 😉
No matter whether you’re In-N-Out or In-R-Out, this comment too got shoved into the spam folder.
Must be your IP.
Eureka, we found the culprit. Not your fault or IP. Au contraire, it was a word we had in our comment blacklist (blame it on a harassing idiot from Chennai). That was triggering the move-to-spam. Deleted that word. All izzz well.
I read the article about this on yesterday’s BT
What a surprise.
So, Nando’s has made it to India too.
We still have the Peri-Peri Nuts! 😉