Nando’s was always somewhere I went with my husband for a couple’s date night. It never occurred to me how baby friendly it was until we had our daughter and I was worried that one of my favourite places to eat would be out of bounds.

Butterfly chicken, saucy spinach and grains and greens

Butterfly chicken, saucy spinach and grains and greens

Thankfully- they cater for babies too! We visited the branch in Widnes on Friday night to find out just what they have to offer when you’re bringing along a ‘Nandino’- aka a child under ten.

After we got settled and put our daughter safely in her high chair- my husband and I chose what we always do- half a chicken for him in medium sauce and a butterfly chicken for me with mango and lime- we are far too predictable when it comes to our chicken order.

However, this time we opted for something other than the obligatory chips. The summer menu offers lighter, more balanced sides that bring colour to your plate.

The Grains n’ Greens are a munchable mix of grains, beans, peas and corn drizzled with an avocado and buttermilk dressing. The perfect alternative to peas or beans if that is your go-to when you visit.

Saucy Spinach is baby spinach cooked in a spicy tomato and coconut sauce with chickpeas. Think saag aloo without the potato- so if you’re a curry fan, you will love this.

Luckily there was no fighting over these as my partner likes spice and I don’t, so we were both happy.

The Roasted Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash comes with wilted spinach and a sprinkle of feta cheese. Another mild dish if you’re not a fan of the hot stuff. All of which made a tasty alternative to fries if you’re like us and want to try something different to the usual.

The children’s menu works just like the adult one in that you choose a main, a flavour, two sides and a dessert or drink.

Luckily, we could kill two birds with one stone as a lot of the new sides for summer were also the sides what were on the children’s menu. We chose a chicken fillet sans sauce, with sweet potato and butternut squash and broccoli.

Sadly, our daughter likes her food plain and all Nando’s chicken is marinaded, so we ended up eating her chicken because she wouldn’t. Noted for next time!

The sweet potato and butternut squash chunks were ideal for the weaning stage as she could feed herself and they were already cut into bite-sized pieces.

The broccoli was equally as interesting as she used the stalk as a handle while eating the top.

When we go back- I think I would order our daughter a few sides rather than the set meal so we can choose the plainer dishes. The menu was too sophisticated for her little palate- she enjoyed the unseasoned veggies much more than the foods that were heavily flavoured. As all parents know- it’s a learning curve- and all babies are different.

This still means we can eat there as a family but will need to change our order to suit her needs until she is a little older when she might be more adventurous with her food.

The desserts are ideal for small babies- either a scoop of Gelado or frozen yoghurt is easy to feed them and also helps numb the pain of sore gums if they are teething too. We opted for watermelon slices as we know our daughter loves these- they are the perfect shape for her to hold and slip down easily, so we finished on a high!

If your baby is still on bottles, there is a machine that dispenses water at the drinks station so you can easily fill your bottle from there once you’ve put the hot in. There was baby change area too- you just have to ask for the key.

Overall, I would recommend taking your baby to Nando’s- all I would say is to cater for what you know they will like rather than opting for the set meal just because it’s available- if your LO prefers plain foods. The set meals might be more appropriate for slightly older children however, for those under one- they are probably used to something simpler- which is where the sides come in very useful!

Thank you to the staff at Nando’s Widnes for the tasty food and good service.

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