I was practically jumping for joy when I got an invitation to be among the first people in Manchester to taste the Nando’s newest flavours to celebrate the launch of Manchester Arndale’s Get Your Eat On campaign.
Throughout August, the city’s most popular shopping centre will be offering shoppers a downloadable book of money-off vouchers and freebies across all of its eatery outlets, including Nando’s of course. A fantastic way to encourage both residents and tourists alike to enjoy the range of food and drink offerings throughout the shopping space, this partnership event was the ideal way to kick off the campaign.
James and I joined other bloggers in a private seating area upstairs at the Arndale venue, excited for the evening ahead. Before we got our hands dirty, we were given an introduction to the Nando’s brand and its inspiring history, the perks of working for the brand, plus the infamous Black Cards given to high profile celebrities like David Beckham and Rudimental. Definitely not envious of having one of those bad boys!
Out came a nice little sharing starter of olives, pitta bread strips and fresh dips which the six of us on our table devoured. Thick, creamy and with just the right amount of garlic, the hummus was spot on, while the red pepper dip was bursting with flavour thanks to a subtle kick of chilli.
Appetites nicely whetted, dishes of sweet potato wedges drizzled with garlic cream sauce were met with delight. One of the new ‘on trial’ products, these were how wedges are supposed to be; thick and chunky, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Roasted sweet potatoes rather than normal ones are tastier, healthier and look so much more appetising – these didn’t disappoint and it seems the general consensus thought the same. I’d be happy to see these on the menu as a side option in the future.
Now for the star of the show; the chicken. We were generously given the level of flavour we preferred, so our table had everything from the Lemon & Herb to the Extra Hot (I wonder who that was?!), along with some of the usual side dishes from the menu, including salad, grilled halloumi and chips. It would have been rude not to join in the Wing Roulette game, which made the evening even more of a sociable occasion and a fun challenge. With 5 different spices between 10 wings, we were apprehensive but, whether it was luck or coincidence, James ended up enduring the Extra Hot – his favourite!
A nice touch was the addition of a new range of drinks for us to try. Available in Peach, Lemon and Berry, Rubro drinks are made from organic rooibus extract and natural fruit flavourings in cute, colourful little cans. I had a try of the Peach one, very light, refreshing and fruit, but the although like other iced tea drinks on the market, they are high in sugar; good to see an alternative drinks option though.
In between getting messy with chicken wings and enjoying each other’s company, a life-size dancing Nando’s chicken was a definite highlight – in fact, it’s James’ new bezzie mate! As we were sinking into our meat comas, little pots of chocolate frozen yogurt were brought out which we JUST about managed to squeeze in. Preferring this to ice cream and sorbet, these foodgasmic tubs were chocolately, rich and sweet but without being to or sickly. The perfect way to finish off a night of fantastic food, as expected, and meeting fellow foodies and bloggers.
A huge thank you to the lovely lot from LFJpr, Manchester Arndale and Nando’s for a great night and the generous goody bag packed with hot sauces, balloons and badges – we couldn’t have asked for a better time!