Preview: Nando’s is Bringing a Taste of South Africa to Houston’s Galleria Area
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Nando’s, the famous South African fast-casual chain, is coming to Post Oak Plaza at 1707 Post Oak Boulevard. It’s anticipated to open in the spring of 2023. The staff threw a braai (South African barbecue) and invited Houston Food Finder to preview what’s to come for the popular franchise. It’s developed a following in the UK and even had a mention in an episode of Atlanta where an eccentric billionaire has a Nando’s built into his home. The focus is on peri peri, a South African pepper that is used to make Nando’s signature sauces on its grilled chicken dishes.
This was my introduction to Nando’s famous PERi-PERi chicken after hearing so much about it throughout the years from various British TV shows and friends who have indulged in the dish on their travels. The food at the event was served in a buffet setting and may not be a good representation of how it will be served in the restaurant, but the chicken is juicy, tender and slathered with hot peri peri sauce. I also tried the medium spice level, which could have passed more for mild and would be a good choice for someone who wants something with less heat but still with plenty of flavor.
If the medium felt closer to being mild, there was no shortage of other sauces to choose from to adjust to one’s liking. Ranging in spice level from tangy lemon and herb to a smoldering XX hot, all of Nando’s sauces are available bottled for purchase if you find a favorite that you’d like to have at home.
We also sampled the Nandoca’s Choice sandwich, made with a garlic bun, chicken breast and house coleslaw, and the halloumi salad, made with arugula tossed with roasted bell pepper, grilled corn and topped with fried halloumi cheese. The PERi Mac is a Texas-exclusive side introduced at the event, where mac ‘n cheese is seasoned with spiced peri salt. For dessert we tried nata, a sweet, Portuguese-style egg tart with a flaky crust and dusting of cinnamon.
Nando’s is also serving two, Texas-exclusive frozen drinks: Rosalita, made with tequila, mezcal, Amaro Montenegro and lime juice, and a Passion Fruit Frosé with red wine and its eponymous passion fruit and rosé. Both were too sweet for my taste, but I can see them being a fun addition to a quick meal with the chicken and fries.
As the night went on, the music stopped for the reading of a proclamation from mayor Sylvester Turner marking October 6 as Nando’s Braai Day. It capped an evening full of food and fun that introduced Houstonians to a taste of South Africa, and to welcome Nando’s to our city. South African and British expats surely will be excited to have a taste of home, and the uninitiated can look forward to finally knowing what it means to have a cheeky Nando’s.
When she isn’t daydreaming about her next travel destination, Cindy likes to crochet, mix her own cocktails at home, and torment everyone with dad jokes that are so bad they’re good. Otherwise you’ll most likely find her getting cozy with a flat white or a glass of whiskey at a favorite local haunt!