Eating out Options: Nandos Part 2

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Following up on my first review of the eating out experience at Nandos I returned recently and thought I would share this other experience. First of all I previously praised the Rubro Iced tea available and commented on how I would try the other flavours on future visits and so I tried the lemon. But I have to say though it was very refreshing it just wasn’t as satisfying as the peach. I shall have to try the berry flavour before I can say for sure which flavour is the winner.

As for the food I was going to go with a salad but I have a confession to make: though I frequently tell people how much I love salads and that I eat them on a regular basis this is a convenient lie. Convenient because it’s easier than explaining the meals I do eat to the ignorant and frustrating individual asking ‘what DO you eat?!’ who finds it difficult to imagine a diet without pasta, bread and meat.

Mini rant aside, though I do enjoy my salads my idea of a salad is very different to what most people’s idea is and I find that often other people’s salad concept (without meat and wheat products) is often rather dull. So though I really enjoyed the Mediterranean salad I ordered on my last Nandos visit and do enjoy salads I have to admit on this visit I was not particularly keen on the idea.

Nor was I keen on the idea of being ill and uncomfortable the next day which, without a little creative thinking, seemed to be the only other alternative. However, I came to a decision: the Mushroom and Halloumi burger with macho peas and spicy rice, my sister a keen candidate for my inevitably discarded burger bun. Unfortunately they didn’t have any Portobello mushrooms left (an excuse to return again to test out the berry Rubio) and so I opted for the Beanie burger (chickpeas, cheese, sweetcorn, pumpkin seeds and lentils) which I had been contemplating getting anyway. And I was certainly happy with my choice, the dinner was very satisfying and full of flavour (I ordered medium heat and poured lots of extra medium heat sauce on top. So here’s my meal in three easy steps:

Step 1- The arrival of what I ordered
nandos full meal

Step 2- What I ordered minus the bun which was now on my sister’s plate
nandos meal

Step 3- My half eaten burger being enjoyed greatly and topped with lots of medium heat sauce
nandos burger

As for the side dishes, I had spicy rice before turning vegetarian and so knew I would still love this however I had yet to try the Macho peas. I was very impressed, they have a slight spice to them with a strong mint flavour and like the rice are good value for money satisfaction and portion size wise.

Again, I definitely recommend Nandos I think that it is a very good option for vegetarians as even people I know who are non vegetarian tend to opt for the vegetarian option due to them being more flavoursome.

My only regret is playing it safe with medium spice. Next time I may brave Hot.

Eating Out Options: Nandos

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First of all, apologies for the lack of posts recently I had a period of no internet and then spent the last week in the wonderful city of Budapest (expect a summary of my Hungarian food experience soon).

So a few weeks ago now I visited Nando’s with my sister for dinner so I thought I’d review my experience there. This was not my first visit, though it was my first visit after becoming wheat free.

I’ve always liked Nando’s as the service is quick since you order and pay at the til, the food is simple but tasty, it is good value for money and you can never go wrong with spicy food.

For vegetarians Nando’s provides a great option choice on the menu, in fact I know many people who opt for the vegetarian option even though they are not vegetarian because there is so much flavour. The veggie options include: Beanie burger- sweetcorn, chickpea and lentils, a mushroom and halloumi burger and the Veggie Burger- soya and tomato. These can be served with a burger bap, pitta or wrap and with one or two sides from a large choice including: mash, spicy rice, coleslaw and corn on the cob.

I was rather tempted to get one of the veggie options without the bread but then I decided to opt for a salad instead for convenience and I am most definitely glad that I did, I was very impressed with my Mediterranean salad:

WP_20140613 1For the price (£5.25) this was a superb portion size, I had ordered a side of Luso beans (black beans, tomatoes and pepper) but to be honest the salad alone would have been plenty enough, though the Luso beans were certainly very delicious. I often find that salads aren’t worth getting in restaurants since they are over priced and over flavoured but I cannot fault this salad in any way. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal without having to feel ill afterwards, as I so often have suffered from from eating out.

In my past trips to Nando’s I either ordered wine or stuck to the bottomless refills of fizzy drinks. However, this time I decided to try something a bit different and went with the Peach Rubro (iced tea):

WP_20140613Again, I was very pleased with my choice I only wished the can was bigger since it was such a refreshing drink that I am afraid I drunk it far too quickly. If I visit Nando’s again I will be sure to try either the lemon or berry alternative flavour.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Nando’s if you are yet to make a visit and if you have I would definitely recommend trying out one of the salads if you have been hesitant in the past.

Eating Out Options: Tampopo

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So I went on another little shopping trip with my parents and we ate out at a restaurant my dad has been wanting me to try for a while because he knows my love for oriental food. Here is a little discussion of my experience with the East Asian restaurant Tampopo.

WP_20140511 3We actually had a long wait for food because we chose an unfortunately very busy time to go but I didn’t really mind the wait since we had ordered some Jasmine tea to drink whilst we chatted which came in this adorable teapot. And also had some Thai prawn crackers with chilli dipping sauce to keep the hunger at bay.

There is a range of food to choose from: curries to fried rice to soup noodles inspired by authentic dishes from across east Asia: Japan, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam to name a few. The menu can be found here, for reference.

I ordered the vegetarian Khao Pad which is a Thai fried rice dish with pineapple, crushed peanuts, green beans, mushroom and tofu (but you can choose Chicken or Prawn with a meat option). I was tempted by the vegetarian Monkfish Molee Curry but since it was a coconut based curry I dismissed it since it was too similar to my order from Las Iguanas and I like to vary it up. We also shared Wok Fried Greens in Tamarind sauce as a side.

WP_20140511The food was well prepared and of good portion sizes. I did really enjoy my dish but I think the tamarind sauce was the winner in the whole meal mmmm. My mum ordered the Yaki Udon which was her second time having and a definite winner with her and I actually cannot remember the dish my dad ordered but he also really enjoyed his. I started off eating my dish with chopsticks but soon realised I was absolutely failing and ashamedly finished the meal with a fork (though my dad powered on through until the end).

If you’re gluten or wheat free, like me, I think this is a good choice of place to eat out at if you like your oriental food. Although there is a fair amount of wheat noodle dishes there is a rather large choice on the menu with rice or rice noodles. If I was only wheat free and not also vegetarian I would have definitely been spoilt for choice.

However, combining the two meant that there wasn’t really a great deal of choice (though I guess this is something to be expected). Many of the dishes don’t have a vegetarian option and something to watch out for is one of the dishes had a vegetable option but this was not vegetarian (contains shrimp paste), though this was clearly labelled. I think if you are only vegetarian Wagamama has more choice as an equally good east Asian restaurant. Though I do think that it is good that nearly all of the vegetarian options were also vegan.

It is a shame I never have enough room for a main and dessert because the dessert menu did look extremely appealing. I am particularly drawn to the green tea and cinnamon ice cream.  My parents have opted for the Vietnamese fried banana dish before which looks interesting, though they did mention it was rather sickly. Maybe I shall go again some time for my pot of tea and some ice cream.

The service was very good, as I mentioned we had a long wait but the waitress was very apologetic about it and was both friendly and helpful.

Overall, I would recommend Tampopo for a visit but I would check their menu first to see the options if you do have dietary requirements.

Eating Out Options: Las Iguanas

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Yesterday I had a lovely day out with my parents after their return from holiday and before my return to University for the next few weeks (of final year stress). As the day of shopping and bargains came to a close we had a drive around in the hunt of somewhere nice to eat and of course at this point I become the problem. Is there anything on the menu I could eat? Likely not when the restaurant in question is Italian or a steak/ grill house. So we were going to stick with the safe bet of Wagamama but since that was the last place we had a meal out at we headed to Las Iguanas with me hoping my body would be strong enough to consume some wheat.

However, upon entering I was pleasantly surprised because not only do they have both vegetarian and wheat free alternatives (wheat free labelled as gluten free) they also had separate menus for people with special dietary requirements so that you didn’t need to search through all the food you have no intention of ordering in order to find what you want. They don’t have this menu online but here is the full menu with all the choices listed. Though, I will say that if you are both gluten free and vegetarian the choice is far more restrictive than if you are one or the other. I also wouldn’t recommend Las Iguanas if you suffer from a nut allergy (especially if you are also vegetarian/ gluten free)

So let’s start with the food, I ordered the gluten free and vegetarian ‘Bahia Moqueca’ (and ended up pointing at the menu after failing miserably trying to pronounce it) which is basically a coconut based Brazilian curry with squash, palm hearts and spinach and tasted like heaven! The gluten free alternative merely omitted the plantain which I probably could have ate since the issue was gluten and not wheat, however since my body had been feeling sensitive that day I decided to be safe. My parents laughed as I took out my phone and began photographing my meal but here it is:

There was a bowl of salsa dip which went perfectly with the salad (‘Ensalada mix’) which we ordered as a side, and a bowl of shredded coconut to sprinkle on the curry and a portion of garlic rice. The curry was served in a terracotta bowl over a lit candle, and the portions were unexpectedly very large.

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Yumm! I really can’t give the taste justice, honestly if you like coconut at all you will adore this. The vegetables were cooked to perfection and I would most definitely order this dish again. It’s just great to be able to eat out without any worries of feeling dreadful the next day and yet still try something a bit different.

For those non-vegetarians out there my dad ordered ‘The Extradinary XinXim’ and really enjoyed it, a curry like mine but with chicken pieces and a peanut sauce and my mum went with the ‘Chilli con Carne’ and also equally enjoyed her food. We were all feeling very much satisfied. The service was excellent, the wait for food was short and the value for money was superb.

The cocktails menu also looked appealing and next time I decide to go I think I would definitely indulge in an alcohol beverage. Also to note the lunch menu, which has cheaper prices, lasts until far past lunch, I believe it ended at 6:30pm. And if you fancy trying more than one dish there is always the Tapas on the menu to share. There was also a good choice of desserts, though we were far too full to eat any more, three of the desserts on the menu were gluten/ wheat free so good news all round.

Overall I would definitely recommend Las Iguanas if you are looking for somewhere new to eat out.