In the months I’ve been doing this blog, I have welcomed suggestions for places to go and visit – and they’ve all been fairly good, albeit with some odd ones thrown into the mix. One such suggestion was this one: “Ooh, there’s a good place in Giffnock”, a work colleague said. I was intrigued. “What’s it called, co-worker?” I demanded to know. “Catch”, came the reply. “That’s odd,” my brain said, “Catch sounds like the usual hunting method for that sea-creature we know of as “Fish”. So I asked him, and bearing in mind I write a blog about kebabs/shawarma, “this place Catch, is it a fish and chip shop?” The gentleman in question is a bright lad and could see exactly where this line of questioning was going, and immediately got quite defensive. “Yeah, it is, but it’s a really good one.” Not to be outdone, another colleague asked: “are you going to review that new Taco Bell?”
Funny thing is, I’m not going to dismiss Catch entirely out of hand (Taco Bell I will) – fish can be kebabbed, I guess, and if they start kebbabing their fish, I’ll pop along. Point is – you have to draw a line somewhere, otherwise what is ostensibly a niche blog becomes a generic takeaway blog, and if that happened, ladies, gentlemen and non-binaries, I fear my waistline would be fucked beyond repair.
So I went Nando’s.
“But all that stuff you wrote…”
Yeah, I know. Except – when walking down Sauchiehall Street one winters evening, two things happened: firstly, I realised I was drunk’n’hungry. Secondly, I saw this:
A “Fino Pitta”? I felt this worthy of further investigation, though the sign gave no clues away. I reasoned that Nando’s, the famous dead bird merchants, would most likely be selling their signature chicken, in a spicy sauce no less, inside a pitta, probably with a salad. This, in my mind, made it a chicken shish, and therefore fair game.
I went inside. “Have you ever been to a Nando’s before?” came the question at the till, eerily reminiscent of the Harvester ads from the 80’s. “No!” came my bold and slightly drunken reply, “to be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing. I saw the Fino Pitta on that sandwich board outside, and I would like one of, please.” To be fair, losing my Nando’s virginity was much less traumatic than I had been led to believe it was – they took my order, I told them where I was sitting, I paid, and got the food delivered to my table. Simple. It was just like being in Wetherspoon’s, except for the lack of beer and pro-Brexit beermats, I guess.
So the food arrived, and this was it:
Exactly as I had suspected! Look at that. If that’s not a kebab by another name, I don’t know what is. A fancy kebab at that; the ingredients as listed on the menu were two whole grilled peri-peri chicken thighs, grilled halloumi cheese, caramelised red onion relish, wild garlic aioli mayonnaise topped with lettuce. Being Nando’s, they offered a choice of how hot I wanted the peri-peri, so I went for extra-hot one. YOLO and that.
The food was excellent. I so wanted to slag off Nando’s, but I can’t. I heartily recommend this meal – everything came together brilliantly. When I ordered, I found it very difficult to see how they could fit two whole chicken thighs into a tiny pitta bread, but this was huge. Sadly, the photo doesn’t do it justice – the pitta bread was larger than a supermarket one but smaller than the monsters you get in most kebab shops – but as you can see, it is literally stuffed to bursting point. I usually have no time for restaurants (usually gourmet burger places) that shove cocktail sticks with flags on for aesthetic purposes – this was entirely functional. The chicken itself was succulent, firm and juicy, and importantly made up most of what was inside the pitta bread. The halloumi provided a nice salty counterbalance, but there wasn’t that much of it – as the garlic mayo and chutney – there was just enough of it to make the Fino Pitta interesting, but not enough to make it a Ploughman’s Lunch. On top of this, because it’s Nando’s and you can add your own sauce – I did. Lemon and Herb. It was wonderful.
The less said here about the chips the better – they were chips, with peri-peri salt added. I won’t be doing that again.
Of course, with Nando’s legendary quality comes Nando’s legendary pricing – this all came to about £9. I’ve said it in previous reviews and it’s equally true here I guess – it would be unfair to directly compare this to, say, Istanbul’s Chicken Shish which is slightly nicer and half the price because it’s a different market, and that’s economics baby. In the world of upmarket, quality fast food establishments, it’s probably reasonable to expect to pay this sort of money.
Not being a Nando’s aficionado, I am unlikely to be back anytime soon on my tod. Should I find myself in a group of people heading towards Nando’s, I can’t see me ordering anything else.
Nando’s, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow (but let’s face it, they’re everywhere)
Fino Pitta (with Extra Hot Chicken and tons of Lemon and Herb Peri-Peri Sauce added on top) 9/10, chips 5/10 – overall, 8/10.