I broke a personal record last week. 6 Nando’s in 7 days. 2 visits of which were in one day. Excessive? Well yes probably…but it seems peri-peri fever has hit me hard and I currently have an insatiable appetite for their mouth watering chicken.

Like many, I have always been partial to a bit of Nando’s, but it wasn’t until an old friend introduced me to their chicken wings that my taste buds hit new levels, and since then him and chicken wings have become synonymous. I’m not usually one of those people who insists on ordering the same dish from the menu – if I go to Wagamama’s, I wouldn’t stick with 71- Chicken Katsu curry- at Nando’s however, I’m afraid 5 chicken wings + 2 regular sides is now the norm. Before then, upon each visit, I would happily play taste bud tennis, switching from a chicken pitta to a half chicken or even a chicken salad, but since having my first taste of ‘the Nando’s wing’ I’ve become addicted, and my taste buds simply refuse to go back to mediocrity. I often think of choosing food as you would choose a girlfriend/boyfriend. Taste the different dishes on offer, and if you find one you like stick with it, because 9 times out of 10 the dish you keep going back for will leave you feeling comfortably satisfied.

Nando’s is easy. Easy meaning laidback; laidback enough for you to pop in for an impromptu visit with a male friend and for it not to be considered a ‘date’.  But Nando’s is messy and this causes a predicament. What’s a girl to do when she’s sitting opposite a guy and is compelled to viciously tear apart some wings with her hands, ferociously chomp on a corn on the cob and stab aggressively at some macho peas? Every time I go to Nando’s that’s precisely what I want to do, but depending on my company I realise I have to tone things down a bit. If I’m with one of my girlfriends I can happily sit with chicken strings in my teeth, hands covered in garlic sauce, and have sprays of corn flying in all directions; cannibalistic, but nothing that a toothpick and some napkins won’t fix. If I’m in the company of a guy, be it friend, date or boyfriend I attempt to be as ladylike as possible, and more often than not the corn has to go, the knife and fork comes out and the wings are eaten delicately. But on one of my recent visits with a male friend they had run out of chips, forcing me to opt for a cob. Oh dear. He sat opposite, buoyantly telling me about his day as I prayed he’d overt his eyes each time I clamped on my corn. Shame he didn’t, because instantaneously a piece of corn flew out my mouth and perched itself on his shoulder. Miraculously, I don’t think he noticed but that didn’t stop me from the embarrassment of having to sit there watching and willing the yellow debris to drop off like a dead fly.

The great thing about Nando’s were their refillable drinks. I’m sure you all know the drill. Order some tap water, get a glass and pop over to the drinks fountain for your complimentary soft drink. But irritatingly, times are changing.  The other day I went to place my usual order, along with a tap water and was confronted with a wine glass. Eh? My scheming had been exposed. She refused to give me a standard glass with which to get my diet coke *ahem* tap water, declaring it was standard protocol. I grew increasingly agitated with her and professed that it was malapropos to suspect someone as innocent as me to do such a thing, but she wouldn’t budge and simply slammed the wine glass down, almost shattering it. To top it all off, as consequence of our altercation, she wouldn’t even give me my loyalty stamp! So I found myself both accused and denied. Talk about customer service. That’ll be the last time I go to Nando’s for a while, and by a while I mean a day or two…when I can no longer bear to neglect that rapacious appetite of mine.