After a morning traipsing around Bulawayo unsuccessfully looking for spare parts for my car, we decided we deserved a treat so called in at Nando’s for lunch.
By le connoisseur
Nando’s specialises in flame-grilled peri-peri chicken but there were plenty of other choices, including burgers, pitas and wraps.
On the easy to follow menu there is a section for kids, though choices for vegetarians are limited. We were greeted in a friendly manner by the person behind the counter taking orders.
I chose the chicken strips with the lemon and herb dressing and spicy rice while my companion opted for the mild chicken pita with cheese when he was told that his first choice of a chicken wrap was not available.
To drink we both went for Minute Maids — one grape and apple and one tropical (Nando’s could do with investing in longer straws).
Having ordered and paid we were grateful to sink into our seats while awaiting our meal. The wait was not long and the inviting décor of Nando’s and music being played made it a pleasant time.
We were pleased to see that the walls were hung with original works by local artists and noticed the familiar name of Aubrey Bango among others. As well as the paintings, clay pots adorned the restaurant, giving it an authentic African feel, further enhanced by the African music. It is commendable that a restaurant chain makes the effort to localise a restaurant.
The menu’s design, which is bright and eye-catching, also reflects Nando’s commitment to design. I was so impressed by the promotion of local art that I looked up the Nando’s website when I got home, to discover that Nando’s has the biggest collection of South African art in the UK, with over 3 000 pieces across their restaurants there.
The interior of the Bulawayo restaurant is light and airy with a high ceiling. There was a good buzz and we felt relaxed. Attention to detail is taken in small, clever ways, such as the chilli motif found on the condiment holder, plates, menus, etc.
Our food looked inviting and fitted the menu description. I enjoyed my chicken strips and rice and felt virtuous as it was listed on the menu under “healthy at heart”. The chicken was succulent and the lemon and herb dressing complemented it well.
The rice was spicy with a hint of heat and scattered with chopped peppers. My companion was also happy with his choice. Again the chicken was tender and came with tomato, cucumber and cheese in the pita. The pita could have been a little dry but the mild peri-peri sauce helped to make it moist.
Having enjoyed our main course, we put off our search for spare parts a little longer by ordering dessert. As we mulled over our choice, we noticed a steady stream of people ordering food at the counter. There is a bench to sit on for those waiting for takeaways and they do not get in the way of those who have chosen to eat in.
The dessert menu had four choices: lemon or strawberry cheesecake, hot sticky toffee pudding and duo chocolate mousse. I plumped for the strawberry cheesecake and my always hungry companion chose the toffee pudding. These arrived swiftly.
My cheesecake turned out to be a frozen one and was a little sweet and synthetic for my taste. The sticky toffee pudding was a better choice and I couldn’t resist sampling my friend’s — it tasted as I think it should, sticky and moist; if I am allowed one grumble it could have been served a little hotter.
Still enjoying the cool environment inside, we thought a coffee a good idea, again deferring the inevitable search for that elusive spare! Sadly, our espresso and cappuccino were weak and disappointing, but overall we enjoyed our experience, at this convenient place for a quick, reasonably priced meal in central Bulawayo.
Speciality Restaurant — Afro Portuguese
Expect to spend US$10 to US$20 per head
Jason Moyo Ave, Central Bulawayo