July 31, 2018: Ever since I saw the signage go up at a new strip mall of restaurants at the corner of Woodbine and Highway 7 signifying that a Nando’s would be opening up, I was so excited for it. I’ve only had Nando’s once before but absolutely loved how tender and delicious the chicken was. I was so excited that a location was opening up in Markham which was so close to me!
On this grand opening night, we were invited to try out anything we wanted from the menu. This was very generous and runners were also handing out Mixed Olives, PERi-PERi Nuts, and also Hummus with Pita and PERi-PERi Drizzle as starters as we arrived.
I love olives and the Mixed Olives were tasty and fresh and also not too salty (win!). The PERi-PERi Nuts (almonds, cashews, and macadamias) were slightly salted and crunchy. The Hummus with Pita was so good as well. These were perfect complements to our meal.
Marilyn and I placed our orders at the counter and then chose some sauces to place on our table before we took part in the PERi-PERi Mixing Station.
We were able to mix and take home our own PERi-PERi concoction! It was fun to grind up the peppers, onions, salt, lemon oil, and tamarind powder using a pestle and mortar to make our own PERi-PERi sauce.
We could taste it to perfection before bottling it up to take home. (I was happy with mine without having to taste it and when I brought it home, my mom greatly enjoyed my PERi-PERi hot sauce and said it was quite spicy!)
(PERi-PERi is the hot African Bird’s eye Chili and is mixed with fresh herbs and spices to make Nando’s unique bastes.)
After we were done this fun activity, we headed back to our table where our food orders were gradually arriving. The service was so good as the servers kept making sure that we were content with everything and that we had all our orders. (The food runners deliver your food according to the numbers on each table.)
We ordered the Double Leg PERi-PERi Chicken with two sides that included a drink (their drinks are self-serve with the touch of a button from their drink machine).
Their world-famous, flame-grilled chicken is fresh (never frozen), and marinated for 24 hours until the flavour goes right to the bone. It’s basted in any choice of the PERi-PERi flavours: Xtra Hot (“like tackling a ferociously fiery dragon in a furnace”), Hot (“highly combustible – proceed with caution”), Medium (“hits the spot without scalding your tonsils”), Lemon & Herb or Mango & Lime (“a mere hint of heat but a tidal wave of flavor”), or Plain-ish (“marinated in PERi-PERi but grilled with no added spice. As mild as we go”).
The chicken leg meat was just as tender and moist as I remembered it. 😀 If I remember correctly, this was the Medium spice level.
We also ordered the PERi-PERi Chicken Sandwich to share with two sides as well. The sandwich is served with crispy leaf lettuce and tomato on a freshly baked Nando’s roll. I chose the Plain-ish level of spice. It was a solid sandwich.
In total from the two orders, we had four sides. We ordered the Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Macho Peas, Hearty Coleslaw, and PERi-PERi Spinach. Mmm, it was all so good. The Garlic Mashed Potatoes are a classic side order at Nando’s. I remember enjoying them a lot the first time I had them too.
The Macho Peas are served with lots of cilantro and tasted so unique because of that. I really liked it. It paired really well with the chicken.
The Hearty Coleslaw had an abundance of creamy mayonnaise and the PERi-PERi Spinach was another great vegetarian side.
We also shared three of the Crusted Wings and three of the Whole Wings. The Crusted Wings are slightly sprinkled with spice. I liked the wings. 😀 I liked the Crusted Wings especially since they were a bit crispy.
Last but not least, the food runners distributed Pasteis de Natas to all the guests as the dessert of the night. These are traditional Portuguese custard tarts, also known as “Natas”. Mmm, these were really good and probably the best ones I’ve had in Canada (of course, the ones I’ve had in Portugal still rank as the best authentic tarts 😉 ). The crusts were perfectly crispy and the custard was very smooth. 😀
Thank you so much to Nando’s Canada for having us! We were able to try so many selections of their food and was gifted to bring home a own bottle of PERi-PERi sauce too!
FTC Disclaimer: Although Nando’s Canada reached out and invited me to a complimentary tasting to promote their new location, the opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the company.