Nando’s Peri-Peri was founded in the 1980s in South Africa, and the concept has spread in the years since to the United States. The restaurant has set up shop in the Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, and Chicago, IL markets. We started off with the Hummus with PERi-PERi Drizzle (5.95); the hummus was creamy, nutty, and one could infuse the stuff with any of Nando’s variety of PERi-PERi blends or the miniature bottle of Peri-infused oil that is included. I Feel that the pita could have been brought out warm rather than at room temperature, but the pita itself was soft and edible.
The Flame-Grilled Chicken Breast ($11.45) utilizes a whole chicken breast rather than a tender/sliver of chicken; the breast is butterflied and a liberal amount of PERi-PERi sauce is drizzled over. The presence of the skin on the chicken breast allows for a deeper variety of flavors.
The Rib-eye Steak Sandwich ($13.75) had a surprisingly large amount of meat present. The sandwich was given further depth through the inclusion of arugula, pickled red onions and a good amount of Nando’s own mayo. Nando’s gives its patrons a number of different sides to choose from; PERi chips are lightly-seasoned fries, while the Portuguese rice has enough spice on it to make an entrée pop. Where I am not much a fan of peas, Nando’s macho peas were able to insert enough spice into a drab vegetable to make it into a must-eat. Rather than completely whipping their potatoes into a glue-like consistency, the red skin potatoes that Nando’s offers as a side have a good texture to them. The skin that is kept in the side creates a mouthfeel that is hard to beat.
The appetizers and the entrees we delivered just a few minutes after ordering, making our whole time at Nando’s only about a half-hour. When a couple or family has other things to do during the day, the ease of ordering and rapid delivery make Nando’s head and shoulders above other similar fast-casual restaurants. The Joppa Road location was clean, adorned with a wide variety of African art and staffed with adequate numbers of workers to make the experience memorable.
The PERi-PERi sauce is Nando’s bread and butter and provides visitors with a wide array of distinct tastes; mild, medium, garlic, hot, and extra hot flavors are available. If one is a fan of anything hot, immediately make it to the hot and extra hot flavors. The medium sauce has a little bit of a zing, while the overall PERi-PERi body is spun into a bold new direction with the inclusion of the titular spice in the Garlic sauce.
The beer selection allows visitors to experience east coast beers; I was surprised to see that Nando’s worked with Maine’s Allagash to offer their White. For those wanting a soda with their meal, there was a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine stocked with a wide variety of regular and diet options. Nando’s in Towson is open from 11 AM to 10 PM, 7 days a week. One can dine-in or take a meal to go.