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.

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My Hungarian Food Experience

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So recently I went to Budapest for a graduation celebration city break, a city which I definitely recommend visiting if only for the stunning architecture. It was a cultural adventure from visiting the synagogue to watching the opera and of course discovering the food and drink on offer. Unfortunately Hungarian food is predominantly meat and so I didn’t try out the local cuisine, in fact there were a lot more East Asian restaurants than Hungarian and so as you’ll soon see this was predominantly the food I ate.

First of all, I have to put in a mention for the restaurant Imazs as the food was delicious and very affordable and the service was equally excellent. It was just a short walk away from our hostel and because there was plenty of choice on the menu we ended up visiting twice. Here are some of the dishes I enjoyed:

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As pictured above: Vegetarian Pad Thai (the tofu was cooked to perfection), Avocado salad, Cucumber Maki and Tamago Nigiri and Miso Soup.

On the East Asian theme we visited a Japanese tearoom where I had this delicious drink (basically a green tea milkshake yum):

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And there were plenty more café stops. My personal favourite was the Cat Café where there was a range of adorable cats as company whilst we sipped delicious drinks from a menu with plenty of variety including a ‘catpucino’! I had a cinnamon hot chocolate on my first visit and a gingerbread latte on my second.

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I also had my first Iced Chai Latte on the journey back from the baths and it tasted like any other chair latte: heaven:
iced chai latte

Moving on to some more food, we went to a restaurant with a variety of food on offer, though I would not recommend the restaurant, based on atmosphere service and value for money, the food was both interesting and tasty. I wish could remember the details of the soup I ordered but it had rice, spinach and chickpeas the other photo is my friend’s stuffed aubergine starter:
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We also stopped for lunch at a Mediterranean restaurant which specialised in hummus and Falafels. The dishes looked delicious but unfortunately most of them had flatbread and so, avoiding wheat, I went with olives (not pictured) and an eggplant tahini:
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We came across a little sweet store that had tasty and addictive treats! Though I can’t remember exactly what I bought but I do remember that they both contained peanuts as I was having major peanut butter cravings for the entire trip (how Hungarian people cope without peanut butter is beyond me):

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On the last day we stopped for breakfast at a restaurant where I had a mushroom omelette and a latte which I’d developed a dangerous addiction too which has continued since!:

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So that concludes my Budapest food and drink round up. We stayed in a self catering apartment so prepared and cooked most of our meals, I’m really missing eating breakfast out on the balcony but I am not missing struggling to prepare a wheat free packed lunch. Going to the market was a highlight of the trip and I only wish I’d taken a picture of the impressively sized aubergine we picked up from there.

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.