I’m just going to say it..
I don’t like Nandos.
I mean, I don’t HATE it, but what is there to love? Mediocre chicken with average sides just doesn’t do it for me and the once, maybe twice, I’ve been there I was left chronically disappointed and craving my mum’s Sunday roast. Well, nothing’s ever going to beat one of F’s phenomenal feasts, but as far as chicken goes – I think I’ve found a contender.
Clockjack Oven. The concept is simple – fresh, rotisserie chicken sliced up and served with sides & sauces. Simples. You know what you’re getting – please don’t go here if you’re a veggie, or if you don’t like chicken – there is nothing else on the menu. If you do, however, roll up your sleeves.
This is a place that knows what they’re doing and does it well. It’s compact, but the atmosphere is buzzing and it’s perfect for a catch up dinner with friends. We were immediately made to feel at home by the chatty staff who brought over (unprompted) tap water and bowls of root vegetable crisps seconds after we sat down. Major points straight away in my book.
The menu is by no means extensive but it’s all there – between 5 of us we ordered a whole chicken, 2 sides of crispy chicken bites, 2 house salads &a coleslaw. It took a lot of collective will-power to refuse the chips that were mistakenly sent to our table, but we wanted to save room for the good stuff, and pudding.
My only quibble about this place is the time it took for the food to arrive – yes, it was a busy evening, but the chicken’s were already rockin’ round the rotisserie and ready to serve, so excuse for tardy birds. Luckily it all finally arrived just as we were reaching the threshold of patience, so all was forgiven quickly. The food was good. Simple, unpretentious & tasty – perfect Friday night fare. The chicken was seriously juicy & even though we’d gone for the ‘whole to share’ it still came nicely portioned up so no messy carving necessary, thank God. However for me the real winner was the BBQ sauce – sweet, smoky and fruity it was the perfect accompaniment and I’m pretty sure I’d reached fourth portions by the time I’d finished licking my fingers. Saucy.
The chicken bites were nice but slightly too deep-fried for my tastes, a little too KFC, but when solidly dunked in aforementioned BBQ heaven I managed to get over this. On the other hand the house salads & coleslaw were crunchy, light & delicious – the crispy sage & onion balls deserve a special mention as they were just wonderful. Never have I ever enjoyed a stuffing ball quite so much.
By the time we’d finished our plates were clean and H had led the way in getting our fingers dirty and stripping those chicken bones for any meat that had the audacity to still be clinging on. It didn’t last long.
Next time (I will be going back) we might just order a little more food – perhaps succumb to the chips – as we were definitely not full when we left. This was entirely our trying-to-be-good fault however, and actually worked out perfectly as it meant we could stroll around the corner for a cheeky Snog for pudding. All in all a great evening and a cheap one too – £9 a head! I’m pretty sure you can’t even get Nandos for that kind of bargain, and why on earth would you?!
In other chicken-related news, why not waste some time looking at churches that look like chickens?