FOOTBALLERS tweet about it, constantly. My friends rave about it and there always seems to be a steady stream of chicken lovers pouring through its doors.
So, what is the allure of Nando’s and why has it managed to stay popular on a stretch of restaurants in Sunderland plagued by closures?
On a pre-cinema trip, I found out.
The menu’s ethos is simple enough: it’s all based around the main ingredient of Portuguese flame-grilled peri peri chicken.
You can have this in various forms from wraps and burgers to platters and salads.
In addition you can add side orders to your dishes such as chips, spicy rice, coleslaw and more.
You can also choose which sauce your chicken is marinated in from mild to eye-wateringly hot.
It sounds simple enough, yet as a fledgeling Nando’s customer, I still found it pretty confusing.
The fact you order different segments of one meal from different sections of the menu takes a little getting used to, plus the ordering system seems unnecessarily complicated.
Instead of table staff taking your order, which they may as well do as they seat you and serve you your meal, you have to order at the counter.
The restaurant being as busy as it always is, means there’s constantly a muddle between the queue of people waiting to be seated and an adjacent queue of people waiting to order.
You also have to get your own soft drinks, cutlery and sauces from a central station, meaning you start your meal going back and forth from your table.
After the initial fluster of working out what to do, Nando’s appeal begins to become evident – service is swift and the food is reliably tasty.
We started with an appetiser of houmous and warm pitta for £3.35. It comes with its own bottle of peri drizzle which you douse the deliciously-rich houmous in to your heart’s content.
Soon after, our chicken was winging its way to our table.
I chose a chicken breast fillet which, with two sides of spicy rice and salad, came in at £8.80.
It was a full of flavour, well-priced, filling and seems a lot healthier than most other restaurants.
I’ve been back since this first visit, twice in fact, it seems I’ve become part of the Nando’s cult too.