A definitive guide to every single item on the Nando’s menu and what it says about you
‘Can I just have a glass for water please?’
I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember when I first found out about Nando’s. Sometime in the early noughties, while we were all still dealing with 9/11 and getting angry about Iraq, the South-African chicken merchants entered our lives. As common as a Pizza Express or discount phone repair shops, it’s endured to become a permanent fixture in the culinary lexicon of suburban Britain.
It’s a restaurant that launched a thousand memes and even serves as a permanent, grating reminder that there was a time when Ed Sheeran was forced to open gigs for Example at the Waterfront in Norwich.
At this point, in the year 2017 AD, chances are you’ll have had every type of Nando’s there is.
The squad Nando’s, the pre-night out Nando’s, the hungover Nando’s, the needed-to-use-up-my-chillis Nando’s, the awkward uni date Nando’s, the Nando’s with your dad where he grimaces a lot and keeps asking why he had to pay £50 for Chicken and chips Nando’s.
You know what you’re doing. When them mans ask: “Have you ever been to Nando’s before?” you look them dead in the eye, replying to the affirmative that yes, yes you have. You know what you want, you’ve been to Nando’s before.
But Nando’s is bigger than you and your same-order-every-time bullshit. Nando’s brings us all together. If you’re Drake, you get medium, David Cameron – a HOT half chicken, worldstar flautist Azeem Ward takes an extra hot Portobello mushroom and Kanye West? Well, he just stands on tables.
But where do you fit in among the greats? Where do your choices put you in the grand scheme of Nando’s? Here’s what everything you’ve ever ordered or will ever order says about who you really are.
“Fire starters” (Starters)
I imagine that you, just like me, don’t usually get a starter at Nando’s. It seems redundant, overkill, an unnecessary delay to the delivery of your sweet poultry feast. But here we are. They’re on the menu.
3 Chicken wings
Why you would need three smaller pieces of chicken to prepare for the chicken you’re about to eat is frankly beyond me. But then again, my parents don’t understand why I drink before I go out drinking. If you’re getting the wings for starter, you’re probably getting a full chicken and still not satisfied, and probably never will be.
Spicy mixed olives
Stop pretending to be sophisticated. It’s Nando’s, not a Catalan tapas bar. You can get the nuts, no-one’s gonna tell on you.
Houmous with PERI PERI drizzle
For fans of grainy supermarket houmous with lacklustre pitta, the houmous is far from Nando’s best. If you’re ordering this, the closest you’ve ever come to the Middle East is the East Midlands airport. You’re trying to push outside of your bubble and for you, ordering houmous at chain restaurant is a major leap. Don’t worry, we appreciate you trying.
Red pepper dip
I have no idea what this says about you because I have never ever in my life seen someone get it. If it’s good, I’m incredibly sorry.
Peri peri nuts
You’re frantic. You’re starving. You’ve been walking round Westfield for hours and you just want your food. You only really like cashews but you’re desperate. The longer the food takes, the worse the nuts you eat are. You know it’s really bad when you’re getting to the almonds.
PERI PERI Chicken
The main event, the big kahuna, the el presidenté of Nando’s offerings. Think carefully, because this is the high stakes round. Different needs call for different chicken, do you get on the bone? Off the bone? A wrap?????
On the bone
You’ve already lined your tummy with some fire-starters and now you’re not that hungry any more so you go small. You now regret wasting stomach space on some rather average dip instead of the chicken you came the restaurant to eat in the first place.
The base order, the everyman’s chicken dish. You’re probably in a shopping centre, it’s probably a late lunch, and you’re probably on the way to Odeon to catch the latest shitshow Marvel reboot. Basic? sure. But the masses can’t be wrong, this is a perfect sized portion and you don’t need to leave your comfort zone. Good on you.
1 Whole Chicken
Waiter: Excuse me sir, something seems to have fallen out of your pocket
You: That’s just my gym notebook, I write down all my reps and my sets and the weights of the bars and the dumbells and every calorie I eat and the size of every shit I take in there. I’m so embarrassed.
Waiter: That’s fine, don’t worry about it.
You: I don’t like to talk about it, but I GO TO THE GYM, IT’S BULKING SEASON YOU SEE.
5 chicken wings
You’re keeping things light. You don’t get any sides, because you’re going out later. You’re weighing up the likelihood of being able to start on the bottle of supermarket wine you’ve got in your bag. You’re watching the clock because you’re late to Gemma’s for pres and you can feel the Jacob’s Creek Rosé starting to warm.
10 chicken wings
You’re a sharer. And as any good sharer knows, if you want to share and get something back, you need individual items to barter with. You want to try some of your boy’s macho peas, give him a wing. Some of the churrasco thighs, throw em a wing. You make any meal you have a tapas feast, experimenting with small bites of everything but never committing.
Someone taken in by the novelty and doesn’t realise that this is zero sum game. You’re never going to get enough of the wings you actually like, and you’ll get screwed over because all you wanted to do was play a silly little game instead of just ordering chicken. Fool.
Off the bone
Naturally cautious, you’ve let your fear of bones trap you into a flavourless meal. In many ways, it’s a metaphor for your life. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while.
You recognise that on the bone is probably the superior chicken, but because you’re a trendsetter, a mover and or shaker, you want to separate yourself from the pack. You’re trying to show the world you’re destined for big things, and take any opportunity to rise above. You will have also ordered a Fino side.
Cheeky Nandos breakfast before our flight! pic.twitter.com/PwZHtnXR9H
— andrew jones (@asj1414) January 16, 2017
You’re 15. It’s a Saturday. You have a JJB sports bag in your hand. The staff are looking suspiciously at your group. You’re paying with your parents’ money.
I’m sorry to tell you this, but the only people who eat wraps are boring. The special sort of boring that looks at literally a sea of possible chicken opportunities and thinks to themselves: “I don’t want my meal to look in any way enjoyable and I want it all smushed together and I hope I remembered to set the Sky box for I’m a celeb”
DID YOU LEARN NOTHING FROM THE HOUMOUS?
I’m not going to pretend I understand the people that get to this point in the menu and are still unsatisfied. I wish I knew why they came to Nando’s.
Steak prego roll
You’re on your lunchbreak in the city, clad in a Hugo Boss suit. You want to show off, but you’ve been forced to come to Nando’s. In an act of defiance, you order the most expensive main. You don’t enjoy it and no-one is particularly impressed, but it’s important to keep up appearances.
It’s ok to want to be into healthy eating. It’s fine. But there is a time and a place. Nando’s is not one of those places. Chances are if you’re getting a salad here, you’re trying to impress someone who doesn’t know you well. Too timid to tell them you really wanted a half chicken, you’re never going to be the one wearing the trousers.
Chips (with peri salt because there is no other option)
You’re a normal, functioning adult member of society.
You’re a happy go lucky sort of person, the kind that’s involved in several societies at uni and probably does some volunteering in the holidays. You see the good in everyone, even this pretty average side.
Garlic bread, but you’re using it replace the buns in your burger
Fortune favours the brave.
You’re a vegetarian inexplicably dragged to Nando’s. Your friends clearly have no respect for you, but because you’re enterprising, you’ve worked out exactly the minimum you need to spend to get enough chilis on your card to not have to pay next time.
This isn’t TGI Friday’s, there is no breaded chicken here, go back to America.
You’re an alpha male, a leader among men. You don’t like peas but you’re physically incapable of not ordering anything with macho in the name. You have a full beard and have won more than five fights in your lifetime.
You’re the life of the party. The understated friend of everyone. The reliable companion. The Samwise to Mr. Frodo.
While many around you use their sides to quench their thirst after the intense heat of their chicken, not you. You’re a risk-taker, a twisted fire-starter. You have unprotected sex and never call them back.
Corn on the cob
You’re here with someone you love. There’s no pretenses any more. You know they’ll love you even with corn stuck between your teeth and you can be your complete selves with each other. I wish you all the best.
These are all indistinguishable. They are all trying to be something more than they are. All mouth and no trousers, they’re ordered by the sort of person that buys a two grand watch instead of developing a personality. Sad.
You’re a fleece-wearing law abider. You’ve never put a foot wrong in your life and you never will. At school you had Cath Kidston stationery, now you’re the only person under 30 in your local M&S.
Water glass that you fill up with a real drink
You’re just like the rest of us. One of God’s imperfect creations. Though you may feel guilty for a second, this taste washes out of your mouth after a sip of free Sprite.
That one cider they have
You’re a fun dad. You drink buds at BBQs. You may or may not have a custom apron for grilling.
You’re in a group with the other mums from school, the kids have been a nightmare all week, and you know what, you deserve it.