Casa do Frango – – Avoiding the Chains in London – Part 2
This is the second in a three part series on how to avoid eating and drinking in chain restaurants in London. This article focuses on Casa do Frango; an alternative to Nandos. We wrote about this chain back in 2017. It is far better than most chains, but it is still preferable to find an independent alternative.
I admit to a pang of regret whenever I eat at Nandos. In the late 1980s I lived and worked in Portugal for a couple of years. Chicken Piri-Piri was a local meal that my colleagues and I loved. One of those colleagues and I discussed at length how this dish would be suiteable for fast-food back in the UK. Proving that ideas are cheap, we never did anything about it. Nandos with excellent execution demonstrated that the idea was valid.
Casa do Frango
The London restaurant that offered chicken piri-piri whilst avoidng the chain is “Casa do Frango”. It sits above the excellent “Native” restaurant on Southwark Street.
I acquired a large Portuguese vocabulary when I lived in the country. I phrase it that way, as my pronunciation was poor and I never got beyond a rudimentary grasp of grammar. What I did learn was a wide range of menu related nouns. Many of which I have forgotten. However, “frango” is one I still recall; it means chicken. Thus the name of the restraurant is “House of Chicken”
I visited in the middle of the week and the place was busy, with all of the tables taken. Fortunately, there was space at the bar. The decor is simple, with exposed brick walls and the wooden floor and ceiling of the original structure.
The menu offered a range of sharing plates for starters. These ranged from £3 to £9. However, as I was dining alone, I skipped over these to the main course. Here the choices are simple: half-chicken brushed with piri-piri, oregano, or lemon & garlic. There are also six different sides offered. I went for the traditional choice of piri-piri and batatas fritas (fried potatoes).
The chicken was moist and cooked just right. The sauce had a kick without being overwhelming. Without doubt this was superior to the Nando’s option
For once, I did not order wine. This was despite a good set of well priced Portuguese wines on the wine. My eye had been drawn to a cocktail. The Caipirão sat at the top of the menu with three other cocktails. It was the main ingredient. Licor Beirão, that made this my inevitable choice. There is a liqueur from Portugal that I adore. It is hard to find in the US and the UK. I have only drunk it a handful of times since I lived there. Thus a cocktail using it was impossible for me to resist.
Licor Beirão is on the sweet side. Mixing it with lime juice was an inspiration. The result was refreshing and able to stand up to the spice on the chicken.
Service was fast and friendly. The food was tasty and well-priced. I can recommend a visit to Casa Do Frango.