(The event started with a South African tune which fueled the mascot to dance, twerk — yeah, that’s right, wiggle and all sorts of ecstatic move.)
My most favorite chicken has finally arrived in Abu Dhabi!
I am not exaggerating when I say that I prayed much for a Nando’s branch to open in Abu Dhabi. Looking back, it takes me at least 3 hours drive (back and forth) when craving attacks just to get a bite in Nando’s – Dubai Mall. As an adage says, good things come to the patient tummy, errr, to those who declare their purest intentions to the universe. Now, not only that Nando’s is so rock-bottom and accessible as it opened in a rather rustic-vintage style World Trade Centre Mall (one of the newest malls in the Emirate aside from The Galleria in Al Maryah Island) but it is also spacious at 6,000 square feet area. It also maximizes the mall’s tone as it offers an al fresco dining area shaded by olive trees (reminded me instantly of their spicy mixed olives appetizer!).
I am a big Nando’s fan that one of our gadgets was even named “Fernando Duarte” (one of the brains behind Nando’s humble beginnings apart from Robbie Brozin), so you must imagine how high I floated when I received an invitation to the VIP evening for the opening of the first Nando’s restaurant in Abu Dhabi.
(Nando’s peri-peri flame grilled chicken will always be legendary for me, the same way that Jollibee is for the Filipinos.)
While there is a lot to be told about Nando’s humble beginnings, I particularly liked how they linked the representation of the legend of Barcelos cockerel in the restaurant chain as a nation’s pride.
The legend of the Barcelos Cockerel
A pilgrim was passing through the village of Barcelos in Portugal when he was wrongly accused of theft. This was a serious charge for which a guilty verdict meant certain death. The pilgrim was brought before the town’s judge, who was about to eat a roast cockerel for dinner. Feeling vulnerable in a strange village and knowing what his sorry fate might be, the pilgrim pleaded: “If I am innocent, may that cockerel get up and crow!” No sooner had he spoken, that the cockerel got up and crowed heartily. With that, the pilgrim was pardoned and allowed to go on his way. Ever since, the Barcelos cockerel has been a symbol of faith, justice and good fortune.
The event has been graced by Nando’s CEO and the South Africa’s ambassador to the UAE. They happily announced that with the addition of Nando’s in Abu Dhabi, they now operate 12 restaurants across the UAE and 2 new restaurants are to open in 2014 in Al Raha beach in Abu Dhabi and Mirdif City Centre in Dubai.
(The Worldwide Art initiative of Nando’s also supports the artists of South Africa. Hence, the presence of eye catching and thought provoking paintings in any Nando’s restaurants. Here is one of the paintings near the main entrance.)
It is amazing how an African bird’s eye chilli (commonly known as peri-peri) can fire cravings. Writing this post made me so hungry that I can’t wait to get an Espetada Rustica. You know where to find me tomorrow. 🙂
Nando’s World Trade Center Mall, Level 3 (near Central Souk, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi, UAE)
Landline: 02 6310002, Operating hours: 12:00 noon – 12:00 midnight (Sunday – Thursday), 12:00 noon – 1:00 AM (Friday and Saturday)