In my limited experience Nando’s is in a different league from other fast food outlets, and they have made great efforts to promote their “eat-in” facility, including, of course, signing up for the “Speciality Restaurant” Category of Zimbabwe on a Plate.
Having tried the Pomona (Borrowdale) Nando’s and found it no more than a sit-down-take-away (excuse the oxymoron!) I expected little restaurant type ambience in Kwekwe and there I could not have been more wrong! The décor is delightful and the large area with comfortable tables and chairs/padded bench seats would do credit to any Restaurant.
Although I ordered our meal at the counter I did notice that Valerie the very active “hostess” was taking orders from a table of half a dozen business men. The Nando’s practice of identifying diners by giving them a decorative metal number stand was followed and our meal was delivered to our table. I noticed also that as soon as diners left their tables they were speedily cleared and cleaned in preparation for the next people.
Having perused the menu my companion, who declared herself overeaten and over drunken at the end of our holiday in Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls, chose grilled chicken salad from the “Healthy at Heart” section of the menu and throwing caution to the wind, extra feta cheese and olives (US$1 each). I, feeling likewise, decided that I would finish as I had begun, and have — chicken and chips!
To my delight our helpful cashier explained that they had a new dish, not yet shown on the menu, chicken espetada; I had no hesitation in choosing this (with chips of course, though healthier rice was offered as an alternative) and in a moment of health consciousness I also ordered a Portuguese salad.
My espetada was properly served on a horizontal skewer, and comprised five large pieces of boneless and succulent meat which I think was chicken thighs. The portions of extra feta and olives were so generous that we counted the olives which came to a magnificent 29!
Although my chips were of a reasonable size, dry and fried in fresh oil and not the pathetic matchstick efforts often encountered, they were not as crisp as I would have liked.
My substantial Portuguese salad was made from the crisp inside leaves of an Iceberg lettuce and decorated with tomatoes, cucumber, onions and a few olives to which I added a few more from my companions “grove” of 29! Our desserts were served in the traditional Nando’s package and we both had cheesecake, though I would have had the unhealthier duo chocolate mousse had it been available!
Excellent Americano (Filter to ordinary folk) and cappuccino coffees completed what really was a very fine meal. In line with its Portuguese theme they also serve Galão coffee, which I believe to be very milky and so definitely not for me!
It was interesting to note that Nando’s was far more popular than any of the other food outlets in the complex and I would not hesitate to recommend it as a stop-over.
As it is unlicensed there is no temptation for the driver to indulge! However it isn’t as fast as the long distance traveller might wish, and to my mind it would be a shame to try to eat and drive when such a pleasant sit-down venue is provided, so allow a reasonable amount of time.
A thoughtful touch is the provision of a hand basin in the dining room, and I am pleased to report that the toilet was as spotless as the rest of the premises, another important facility for the long distance traveller.
Although a security guard is provided by the complex as it is situated on the main road, parking could be a problem. However, on our second try we found a space alongside the restaurant where we could keep an eye on our very dirty and very full vehicle while enjoying a welcome break and a very satisfying meal.
Expect to spend US$7 to US$15 per head