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  1. #1

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    Default Nandos vs Oporto - Ultimate Chicken Deathmatch

    If you liked this piece of writing, please Digg it: Nandos vs Oporto - Ultimate Chicken Deathmatch


    Ford vs. Holden, Pepsi vs. Coke, Apple vs. Microsoft - legendary rivalries, with long proud traditions. In the world of fast food, there are similar rivalries, McDonalds vs. Burger King, um, and more. But one that has <a href="http://forums.mactalk.com.au/8/69143-split-whats-better-oporto-nandos.html">captured this little part of the Internet's imagination</a> is Oportos vs. Nandos. The two chicken and chili titans have been battling across Australia (well, the east coast at least), for a couple of years now, each trying to win our spicy chicken dollar.
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="size-full wp-image-2240 aligncenter" title="oporto" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/oporto.jpg" alt="oporto" width="300" height="186" /></p>

    For the uninitiated, <a href="http://www.oporto.com.au">Oporto</a> is a chicken shop that was started in 1986 by a Portuguese guy who immigrated to Sydney, bringing with him some damn tasty chicken. The pitch being awesome chili sauce integrated with the chicken. It wasn't until the mid-2000's that Oporto spread across the country, giving those outside of Sydney a chance to enjoy this delicious poultry. Another Oporto trivia piece - it was featured in a scene of the seminal movie, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tKKWOuHYu4">Looking for Alibrandi</a> - if I recall correctly, it was somewhere Josie and her friends visited. (Everyone between the age of 20 and 26 just said "Shit, I remember that book and/or movie!" - you may be interested to know, that I saw this movie in the cinema about 10 years ago, as my class was reading it at the time. All the males in the class decided not to attend this excursion, but I still went, because I secretly enjoyed the novel. It ended up being me, a then-closeted gay classmate, and a dozen 16 year old girls in a western suburbs cinema, all crying when Matthew Newton died. That was a repressed memory that I totally forgot until now. Thanks for letting me share that with you guys.)
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="size-full wp-image-2241 aligncenter" title="nandos-logo-3" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/nandos-logo-3.jpg" alt="nandos-logo-3" width="300" height="157" /></p>

    <a href="http://nandos.com.au/">Nandos</a> began in 1987 <em>(seems the mid 80's was a good time for chicken entrepreneurs)</em>, in South Africa. They've got heaps of stores all over the world, way more than I expected. All this is from Wikipedia by the way, I'm not some chicken-shop savant. Also from Wikipedia, <em>"TV comedian Ricky Gervais is a fan of Nando's and in an article he mentions that if The Office were syndicated in the US, he would "buy Buckingham Palace and turn it into a huge Nando's"</em> and that <em>"In the London leg of the Britney Spears 2009 circus tour, she asked for her hotel to provide a Nando's chef, so that she could have fried chicken at any time during the day. Unfortunately Nando's grills their chicken."</em> - I can clearly visualise Britney gorging on massive plate of whole chickens, drenched in peri peri sauce. Nude. During her non-fat phase of course.

    Being the fast food connoisseur I am, and coupled with the lack of motivation to write about anything relatively tech related lately, I have decided to do an unprecedented and off-topic, head-to-head review of these two chicken restaurant juggernauts. Never having reviewed, or even read a review of a fast food store before, I didn't really know what to keep an eye out for or to note. Despite that lack of experience and knowledge when it comes to culinary appraisal, I have made a list of criteria that I think is important for a food outlet:
    <ul>
    <li>Dining Room &amp; Atmosphere</li>
    <li>Service</li>
    <li>Price</li>
    <li>Menu Selection</li>
    <li>Taste</li>
    </ul>
    Using those five metrics, I will declare a winner of this chicken war, once and for all. Mount up and follow me into the abyss my fatty comrades, joining me on the tastiest review we will ever conduct on MacTalk!
    <h3>Nandos</h3>
    I'm starting off with Nandos, as it's where I had lunch today. The location I ate at was the Little Bourke Street store, in Melbourne's CBD, at approximately 3PM. This store is rather nice actually, as it's in the business end of Little Bourke, where during the non-lunch hours, it is relatively deserted. Compared to the two Swanston Street &amp; Melbourne Central Nandos locations, which are busy 24/7, due to the student population (RMIT &amp; Melb Uni).

    <strong>Dining Room &amp; Atmosphere</strong>
    Nandos has more of a "proper" restaurant feel to it. You get a plate and cutlery and the food is delivered to you at your table. Portuguese music plays in the background, typically consisting of some guitars and/or bongo drums <em>(Shazam on my iPhone confirms this)</em>. Dining after the lunchtime rush, the restaurant was near deserted, so it was quite comfortable and enjoyable.

    <strong>Menu Selection</strong>
    Nandos has plenty of stuff on the menu - burgers, chicken, um, and more. I haven't exactly got a menu here with me. If you aren't here for something chicken related, then you're in the wrong place dude. I think there's some crappy vego stuff, but fuck that. Go back to <em>Lentils R Us</em> or whatever you weirdos eat. We'll pick you up when we're finished eating like kings.
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="size-full wp-image-2243 aligncenter" title="img_0054" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/img_0054.jpg" alt="img_0054" width="446" height="595" /></p>

    <strong>Service</strong>
    Walk in, order what you want, sit down, they bring it to you. Ally, the person who took my order on this occasion, talked far too quiet (or it's my iPod ruined ears) and I had to shout <em>"what"</em> far too many times, like an old man without his hearing aid. But she was friendly enough, didn't make fun of my horrible hobo-esque beard, or my sauce stained jacket and that's all I ask for. About 10 minutes later, my food arrived. No complaints from me.

    <strong>Taste</strong>
    I ordered a chicken steak, because I dislike bones, with some chips and a drink. The chicken steak was what you'd expect. A big chunk of chicken breast, marinated or whatever they do, with the mild peri-peri sauce, because I am a baby and anything hotter than that from Nandos hurts my baby mouth and tongue and makes me cry like a baby. The chicken was fresh and juicy. I am not a food writer, so fresh and juicy will be all the positive adjectives I have.

    The chips are nothing special, but they weren't ruined. They sprinkle on this red powder, which I think is called peri-peri powder, as everything else there is called peri-peri. It is nice.
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="size-full wp-image-2244 aligncenter" title="img_0052" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/img_0052.jpg" alt="img_0052" width="446" height="595" /></p>

    The main reason I think Nandos is great, is the fact they give you a bottle of peri-peri sauce, right there on the freakin' table, ready to be abused as you see fit. Drown your entire meal in it, they don't care! I absolutely love this sauce and I do indeed, send my food to a saucy death, dripping in peri-peri sauce.

    The peri-peri sauce comes in mild, hot, very hot and extra hot varieties. I would like to know who can handle extra hot - seriously, mild makes me rinse my mouth out after a little while and hot actually causes me physical pain.

    I have in the past had burgers and a quarter chicken from Nandos and found them above average. The burgers in particular are of a high manufacturing quality, with a huge bun, appropriately sized for the filling. This prevents the contents of the burger spilling out everywhere, or coming to the end of the burger with nothing but a piece of chicken and lettuce. Kudos to Nandos for this much appreciated foresight.

    It should also be noted that Nandos (most Nandos, not all though) sell beer. Beer and chili drenched chicken. In the same establishment. Excellent.

    <strong>Price</strong>
    My meal was $16. Most of their good stuff is over $10. Actually, I don't think anything is under $10. It's not Big Mac value meal pricing, but it's hardly expensive.
    <h3>Oporto</h3>
    <strong>Dining Room &amp; Atmosphere</strong>
    All the Oportos I have visited (4), are in food courts, so there's no atmosphere whatsoever. Unless you count crying babies, dumb teenagers, middle aged women bitching about their husbands and inoffensive as possible Musak as atmosphere. The Oporto I dined at resides within Queen Victoria Village, again, in the Melbourne CBD, which as far as shopping centers go, is the least shit in Melbourne.
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="size-full wp-image-2245 aligncenter" title="img_0055" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/img_0055.jpg" alt="img_0055" width="595" height="446" /></p>

    <strong>Service</strong>
    I think the manager served me, because he was wearing a clean blue shirt, as opposed to the chicken fat drenched, smock-like top the regular staff adorn. Due to being served by the manager, it was quite upbeat and jovial for 6PM in the evening. I also think the manager knows me, as I do frequent this outlet, hence the extra service. I assume he wants to make sure his fattest customers are looked after, as it's in his interest to get as much money out of them in the short period between <em>"fuck it, I don't care anymore, give me the triple patty large thing with two bottles of coke"</em> and <em>"my doctor said I have to stop eating this shit or else I will die before 40"</em>. I was the only customer at the time, so the wait for my food was incredibly short - roughly 2 minutes.

    <strong>Menu Selection</strong>
    Did you know Oporto does breakfast? I had no idea. I'm not too keen to try, but hey, it's there if I need it. Oporto is famous for its burgers, but the also sell chicken pieces. The menu isn't as diverse as Nando's menu, but it is quite substantial.

    <strong>Taste</strong>
    Let's get things straight - Oporto is fast food. It's made by some 16 year old kid out the back, who is told that if it's not ready within 5 minutes a large man with a mask will penetrate his no-go-zone at the end of the shift. The kid probably has his mind on some sweet teenage pussy too, rather than making your food. So all that considered, it's pretty good you actually get a meal, let alone a tasty one.
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="size-full wp-image-2246 aligncenter" title="img_0059" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/img_0059.jpg" alt="img_0059" width="595" height="446" /></p>

    The chicken was a little chewy, and a bit burnt in one corner, but the bread roll was that artificial soft that I enjoy and it was dripping in mayo and piri-piri <em>(note - piri piri, not peri peri)</em> sauce. The chips were almost perfect. All they needed was some sort of chili sauce, which Oporto stocks, but will cost ya 50c a sachet (vs. unlimited and an on tap peri peri sauce at Nandos).

    Let us not forget our old friend, the Bondi Burger. A triple fillet Bondi burger, with extra sauce, is probably God's greatest gift to fast-food. It's also an excellent alcohol sponge, if you've had a big night on the turps.

    <strong>Price</strong>
    $12 for a large Strip Roll meal - even a fatty like me is full after that. I'm not gonna complain. I do lament the switch from Pepsi supplied drinks to Coca-Cola though. I love my Oporto with Mountain Dew.
    <h3>The Weiner Is..</h3>
    First of all, I think both chicken entities can live in perfect harmony. Both are delicious and bring chili goodness into the stomachs and thighs of meat eating, chili loving people all across Australia. We should be celebrating the wonderful society we live in, where two such entities can exist with no mass-riots or government funded espionage.

    I would also like state that both stores offer a chili-free range of their products. CHILI FREE?! That's like pineapple on a pizza for fucks sake - why go to these establishments, if you don't want chili? I do have some empathy for you chili loathing heathens, as my partner, ashamedly, dislikes chili. It is hard for me to deal with at times, but it's okay, I love her and despite this fault, will continue to do so.

    Because this is a head to head review, I have the difficult task of choosing a winner. it's like being asked if I wanna be shot in the leg or the arm - I can't decide, but I gotta choose one, otherwise the Yakuza will murder my girlfriend. Oporto is cheaper, faster and even has a breakfast menu. Its chili is also a bit more palatable for those without iron stomachs. Nandos on the other hand, is of a slightly higher quality, gives you cutlery, provides unlimited peri-peri sauce, has more locations in Melbourne, and even serves alcohol.
    <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Due to the class-above quality of Nandos, I declare them, the official Portuguese chicken supplier of MacTalk.</strong></p>

    If you liked this piece of writing, please Digg it: Nandos vs Oporto - Ultimate Chicken Deathmatch

  2. #2

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    You lost me after teenage pussy.

    Nah good article; must hunt me down some nandos next time I'm in the city!
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  3. #3

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    Damn straight Nandos is better, there's no real comparison! :-)
    "The need is not for, say, half a million -inch drill bits. The need is that there are ten million -inch holes that need to be drilled." - Robert Noyce
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  4. #4

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    Extra Hot @ Nando's is the only way to go for all of your spicy chicken needs

  5. #5

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    I love them both. But I will have to agree with Big D here. Nandos just shades it.

  6. #6

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    Great review. That was an enjoyable read.

    Nando's is the best. However, I have only had Oporto twice on a recent trip to Melbourne as, like everything else, we don't have it in WA. It was okay. Tasted like every other fast food chicken joint to be honest.

  7. #7

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    I was gonna organise a lynch mob if you'd decided oporto's was better!

    Seriously though there's no compettition. Oporto people either grew up on the stuff and are being loyal like die hard mac users or they have wussy palates and can't handle the real deal. We don't have oporto's in Perth and I was really excited to try oporto the first time in melbourne and was extremely disappointed. That being said I do agree oportos is cheaper and pound for pound (not taking taste into account) probably more value for your dollar.

    Why not make this into a poll? Would like to see some numbers!!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBlogBot2000 View Post
    Due to the class-above quality of Nandos, I declare them, the official Portuguese chicken supplier of MacTalk.
    Awesome. So do we get discounts there now?

  9. #9

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    Nice review! Had fun reading it and makes me crave for Nandos for lunch today!
    I'm here in Hobart and there's only 2 or 3 Nandos here and no Oporto. I tried Oporto once when I was in Melbourne and I don't like their chicken there and the taste. Maybe because I'm used with Nandos. I love my chili, I eat a fucking chili for god's sake. That's what I find disappointing here in Hobart (or Aus in general) the chili is not hot enough for me! I always have the extra hot peri peri sauce on my chicken. Love it! And it's true that they have a worldwide chain of resto. One is in the Philippines. It's quite good actually. And a lot better than Nandos here in Aus. A lot of varieties as well and the chicken is so fresh! Anyways, Nandos for me!

  10. #10

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    Yeah, Nando's all the way. Oporto tastes bland, their chips are crap and it's just fast food with a fancy name. The couple of times I've had Nando's, it's been streets ahead of Oporto!

  11. #11

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    I'm scared that you took my innocently asked question to such extremes. Having said that I agree with your choice. Well done

    EDIT BTW, there is at least one Standalone (eg not attached to a food court) Oporto's in Melbourne, on Chapel Street. It also has next to no atmosphere, and the staff are incredibly annoying.
    Last edited by mitty; 15th July 2009 at 09:24 AM.

  12. #12

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    Nice, I love the extra hot chicken in nandos
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  13. #13

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    Back in the day before Oporto went to mass-produced "flat-and-I-know-it-tastes-like-chicken-but-what-the-fuck-is-it-really" patties, they were much better than they are today. Chicken was thicker, more flavourful and less "fast-foody".

    Over time the "great majority" (ie the people that think they know what they want but don't really) have been heard at Oporto and their food has gotten worse as a result - less filling, weaker sauce & more of a McDonald's 80's style approach to fast food. Far-out, they now ask you if you want chilli sauce with your Bondi burger (the Bondi COMES with Chilli, the Norm came without!) - thanks you small-brained people that can't read menus!

    Nando's have pretty much stuck to their guns and still provide the die-hards with the real hot sauces (their extra-hot has to be one of the hottest peri-peri sauces sold in a restaurant in Australia) whilst supporting the babies with the extra spicey citrus-burn from their lemon & herb sauce.

    If you haven't picked where I stand, it's with Nando's today, although I lament the loss of 1990's Oporto as they would have given Nando's a run for their money.

    Regards,
    Shane.

  14. #14

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    100% agree. Nandos all the way!

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by micka View Post
    Extra Hot @ Nando's is the only way to go for all of your spicy chicken needs
    +1 then make a puddle of sauce to dip the chips in. Can't go wrong and it's not even that hot!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by mitty View Post
    I'm scared that you took my innocently asked question to such extremes. Having said that I agree with your choice. Well done

    EDIT BTW, there is at least one Standalone (eg not attached to a food court) Oporto's in Melbourne, on Chapel Street. It also has next to no atmosphere, and the staff are incredibly annoying.
    And one in Canberra (god knows what I was doing there). Once again, it's pretty much on-par with the Chapel St store. White Tiles, plasma screen, mirrors, and just sterile and awful. Hungry Jacks has a warmer feeling than Oportos.

    Oportos really aint good. Nando's is where it's at
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  17. #17

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    Can't believe you people.

    Slightly partial to Nandos, but would move heaven and Earth to get some Oporto. Bondi burger with chili FTW (I notice that's not what was in the photos). If you want 'atmosphere' go to a real restaurant!

    I have to throw in the towel and start an 'I'm leaving' thread, as I can't bear to be surrounded by you Nandos-loving heathens any longer.

    (And Nandos charge extra for the Perinaise, which is the equivalent of Oprto's chili for chips, not the Peri Peri).

  18. #18

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    What about OGALO which I dont think are in Melbourne as of yet but I sed to live on there chicken when I lived in Sydney. There chicken, chips and salads were so much nicer than both Nandos and Oparto. I would be a very happy man if they had a store in melbourne.

  19. #19

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    Nando's instantly wins because there's no Oporto in WA.

  20. #20

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    Oporto breakfast is actually pretty decent. Of all the fast food breakfasts it's at the top of my list - their big breakfast equivalent stacks up well against a decent cafe.

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