Recently, the news of Nando’s opening a branch at Fortress Stadium must have been the best bit of information for any fan of peri-peri chicken. Though this world-famous Afro-Portuguese franchise in Lahore is long faced with issues related to cleanliness and competition around its Gulberg outlet.
The Fortress Stadium outlet was a pleasant surprise. We were greeted by smartly dressed contingent of servers, all fired up and eager to please. The cheerful staff at Nando’s signature wooden door led us inside this spanking new place which is divided into three floors of sitting area.
The hot new look promises to set a precedent for casual dining with its unique use of lighting fixtures, wooden panelling accompanied by warm shades and handpicked South African art pieces. It all totalled to a rustic cum modern ex-peri-perience.
The nippy weather outside forecasted the arrival of an early winter and a welcome relief from the extended summer. One could instantly feel that positive energy in the air.
One big factor in pulling crowds of all age groups had to be the vibrancy of the environment and the secret marinating of the chicken delicacies in peri peri sauces that we can’t get enough of.
Several celebrities and socialites showed up at the launch of the outlet at Fortress which happens to be the third in the city. They included tennis star Aisam-ul-Haq, fashion designer Munib Nawaz, stylists, models and journalists.
Popular percussion band Quadrum also played Live on the occasion, adding to the festivities.
Food was served piping hot in ceramic plates with the usual options of quarter, half or full chicken basted in the sauce of your choice, with fries and drinks on the side.
Generally, the most adventurous ones opt for hot and spicy serves while the rest take a shot for medium and lemon or herb to make their meal flavourful.
The rooster is the trademark sign and is most loved by families for a relaxed and chilled-out dining place.
Also on the menu are trinchadas, pitas, salads, wraps and burgers with sidelines. The chicken tenders have always found takers.
TNS had a quick word with Aisam-ul Haq who seemed to be enjoying his meal. “Oh, it’s a perfect getaway!” he commented. “I would call it a complete Nando’s experience for anyone who wishes to dine out midst a warm environment and savour the addictive grilled chicken.”
In the final analysis, Nandos in Lahore needed a mighty push to get back on its feet, pull its act together and find a way back into the league of the best offering specialised flame-grilled chicken — a status it once enjoyed. Its new outlet at Fortress Stadium is expected to do the needful.