Medium, extra hot, maybe mango and lime? Whatever your marinade there's one thing guaranteed to make that Nando's chicken combo taste that little bit better, if it was free. Say it again - Free Nandos. Sounds good doesn't it?!
But short of jumping over the counter and grabbing a chicken leg off the flaming hot grill, how can you blag a free dinner?
Luckily when it comes to giveaways the South African chain isn't shy. There's a dedicated passport to protein heaven at Nando's, and it's called the, 'High Five' card. Fabled on many a website, it's enough to make the most dedicated peri-peri-fan weak at the knees. Behold.
Now, before you go into the local Nando's and ask Tracy behind the till for a black card application form, hold on. Your chances of getting one of these beauties are pretty slim. Potential holders listed on the peri-peri fansite (yes, there's a fan site) include, Oprah Winfrey, David Beckham and even Ricky Gervais. Even Tinchy Stryder, JLS and Pixie Lott sing for their suppers by mentioning Nando's in interviews, a lot.
I managed to get my mitts on one of these cards, albeit for a few seconds before it was snatched back. The owner in this case is a lucky broadsheet journalist (name changed to protect their identity).
Our Nando's related chat was as follows.
What does this card get you?
Free food and soft drinks for up to five people whenever you go. It's nice to go into town with friends and being able to, 'treat,' them to a meal.
Is there any shelf life?
How much abuse does it take?
I use it about twice a week, although when I started I used it all the time. My record was six times in a week, a couple of days having it for both lunch and dinner.
Who gets one?
Journalists, pop stars, fashion names…
What's the price on this bounty?
As a journalist, I mentioned it in features as often as possible - they repaid me with a card.
Next stop, Nando's press office, the entity that dishes out this exclusive gift. Note: sending an email begging for free chicken is pretty pathetic.
Here's my email.
After three months waiting for a reply I decided to give them a nudge, aka, send yet another email begging for a, ‘high-five' card.
A cheery response came a day later, thanking me for spreading the, ‘peri-peri love'. This was followed by a firm slap in the chicken lips. I can't have a Nando's card due to a, 'limited amount,' being allocated each year. Loosely translated that's, 'If you're not in N-Dubz, clear off'.
Still, to lighten the blow I was offered a couple of, ‘Chicken cheques,' each offering a combination meal with soft drink for two. I begrudgingly accepted this ‘hush money ' and admitted defeat.
There's more loyalty schemes at Nando's that you can shake your chicken wing at, all you have to do is lose every shred of dignity by begging, or just put on a boob tube and try and get a part in, 'The Only Way is Essex'. Either way. Good luck, you'll need it.