Sunday, 2 October 2011


11-12 Friary Street, GU1 4EN. £7

Popular amongst the youth of today is eating chickens. And the best place to eat them alonside other like-minded gang members is, apparently, Nando's.

We untangle a folded menu to reveal a choice of food that must run to at least 10,000 options. There are wings and breasts, sauces and salads, wraps and corn and a mind-boggling array of potato based sides.

Equally confusing is the pointless hybridisation of fast-food and table service, whereby you order at a counter before your food is brought to you at an indiscriminate point in the future.

To stop my head exploding and make life a little easier I decided to focus on only a small part of the menu: the bit nearest me in the bottom left hand corner. This section was titled "Nandino's" and came with an age limit: "For under 10's".

Balls to that, I ordered the Nandino chicken breast stips, corn-on-the-cob, frozen banana yougurt and a beer (Sagres).

I've not come across adjectives suitably damning for what turned up. The chicken was a triumph of aesthetics over edibility. It did at least look a bit like chicken. The corn ran with this theme.

Sagres is Sagres: a relatively inoffesive way to consume a mild anaesthetic, and, as such, a perfect pairing for the food.

Dessert too finds new ways to undermine the traditional dining experience. Firstly it is self service, secondly the recepticle and hence portion size is entirely of your own choosing and lastly it seems to operate on a 1930s style honesty-box system, whereby if you tell them you've paid for dessert they'll let you have it.

We grabbed a couple of plastic coke cups, filled them with 'Frozen Banana Youghurt' and exited the premises. Utterly wonderful stuff. Packed full of that delicious, artificial pick'n'mix-banana-sweet flavour, and with consistency less fatty, coating and cloying than traditional ice cream. Strongly recommended when mixed half and half with rum.

This kind of gutter/stars food dichotomy is difficult to evaluate so all I shall say is that it remains the only restaurant I have visited to which I will only return to steal their ice cream.

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