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Chickenow – Best Tenders In The World?

If you have read a few reviews on IhabDines.com, you’ll know I love to take bold claims to the test. Chickenow has quite a big one, claiming to have “the world’s best tenders”.

You can imagine how that must have intrigued me! So, to take them on, I visited their Shiekh Zayed Road branch which is very conveniently located in a busy area right beside the Metro station. They have ample interior and outdoor seating but being that we are in Dubai and the weather couldn’t get any worse, I was definitely sitting inside.

Chickenow - Sheikh Zayed Road Branch

 

The only issue I have with Chickenow is the fact that the interior and outdoor lighting is extremely yellow! My pictures are edited to remove as much yellow tint as possible and after a while it was a tad too much for me.

They certainly went for a wood cabin look and the place looks nice and with a cozy feel. The counter is a typical fast food looking counter but quite well spaced out, you wont feel that your food is coming from the back of a dungeon as with other places. The salads are made right in front of you on the counter.

The staff were very nice, polite and welcoming when walking in.

Chickenow - Menu

Chickenow has an interesting menu with a variety of burgers (their highlight is that you can build your own burger), salads, chicken tenders and fried chicken (which can be ordered in different buckets)

Some branches have additional meals such as chicken kabsa, biryani and a signature Chickenow dish with gravy sauce.

Since this was my first visit, I needed some help ordering and thankfully, the staff were more than happy to assist me with my selection.. and boy what a selection I went for!

Chickenow - Cutlery And Condiments

I sat by the window where I found an interesting metal tray where they had stuffed in tissues, cutlery and some condiments. I have some mixed feelings about this and am concerned if the staff maintains the cleanliness of these, but they looked pretty clean to me.

Food did take a little time, but I heard that food at Chickenow is made quite fresh, so I was willing to wait and hoping it was worth the wait.

Within a few minutes, the food started to come… time for some excitement!

Chickenow - Nachos

Lets kick off with a few starters shall we? I started off with their Nachos and they were alright with little flavor, yummy jalapenos and two side sauces; a cheese dip and a garlic tomato sauce. The cheese dip was typical melted nacho cheese dip but the garlic tomato sauce was odd. Maybe they were thinking salsa, but the execution was quite different. It wasn’t bad but it was just different to what I was expecting and the garlic was a tad too strong.

All in all, it was a decent way to wait for my main dishes to come.

I had also sampled their coleslaw, mashed potatoes with gravy and sweet corn while waiting for my food. The coleslaw was not bad but not as flavorsome as I’ve previously had but the crunch of it felt fresh. The mashed potatoes were quite nice with good flavor and finally, the sweet corn was.. well.. as you’d expect from canned sweet corn.

But enough with the starters, lets get into the good stuff!

Chickenow - Southwest Salad

I had ordered their Southwest Salad with grilled chicken and yes, I was expecting some criticism ordering salad from a fast food place, but I wanted to try it out and see what it would be like.

The grilled chicken was very nice, tender and juicy. While some ingredients were really nice like the kidney beans and carrots, the rest had a bit of a refrigerated taste to it, which kind of killed it for me. There were some grilled potatoes on top, which were cold too. Perhaps try their Edamame salad, but i’d pass on the Southwest one.

Chickenow - Mediterranean Tortilla Wrap

First of the main dishes was the Mediterranean Chicken Wrap and before I get into it, there is one aspect of Chickenow which has to be mentioned, and that is that customers can order fried or grilled chicken options for all the orders of burgers and wraps.

Being that I had ordered 2 grilled chicken dishes, I went for fried chicken for this one. At first I wasn’t sure what flavors were they trying to achieve but in the end I figured it out. It was like an Arabic shawerma. The Mediterranean wrap has french fries, pickles, garlic and mayo sauces in it.

I am not sure if fried chicken worked with this kind of flavor, but I would surely recommend the grilled chicken instead. It was quite okay, but did not blow me away.

Chickenow - Meal For One - Chicken Tenders

Just when I was feeling a little skeptical about my dinner at Chickenow, the server brought on my Meal For One – which consists of three chicken tenders, french fries, coleslaw and a serving of grandma sauce.

Grandma sauce is Chickenow’s specialty sauce which is a south western style home made sauce that has amazing flavor! it is slightly salty, a slight tangyness to it with spice – delicious sauce!

The french fries were nice, had good seasoning and a good crunch. Are you ready for the tenders review?

The world’s best chicken tenders is the official claim and although I cannot ignorantly say they are, I can admit that they are very very good!

Without a doubt they beat any fast food chicken tenders I’ve ever had!

Chickenow - Juicy Chicken Tenders

I wanted to share how good the tenders are, so I cut it in half just to show that these chicken tenders are all Chicken! Some places have very little chicken covered in a huge amount of batter, while others have little of both resulting in super thin tenders. At Chickenow, it is clearly a thick cut of chicken that is super tender and juicy with a nice thin later of batter giving it the right amount flavor and crisp it needs. Great tenders.

Chickenow - Original Grilled Chicken Burger

Along with my tenders, they had served the Grandma Chicken Burger I had ordered with grilled chicken. It had chicken breast, turkey bacon, american cheese, iceberg lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and of course, grandma sauce!

It was a nice chicken burger with nice flavors, tender and juicy chicken breast and a nice soft bun. I would say this was a well put together burger. Considering you can create our own burger, you can tailor it to your exact liking but as far as ingredients go, it was pretty good.

Overall, If I had the choice between Chickenow and a competing fried chicken place, I would pick Chickenow without much thought. The restaurant is clean, nice and cozy, the staff are nice, down to earth and helpful, the food is quite decent but if I am visiting again, there is only one thing I would order and it is the same thing I would definitely recommend, the chicken tenders!

The service: As expected from a place like Chickenow – good, smiling and helpful staff who know the menu well and are able to make suggestions based on your mood. I had ordered two fried chicken meals and when I came to order a burger, they were like why not have it grilled instead so you can try out two fried and two grilled. This was quite nice as opposed to just letting me order what ever I wanted without thought. They were quick to serve and were around when anything was needed.

The value: The full Chickenow Menu can be found on their Facebook page, but their Meal For One tenders meal is for 38AED, which might be a little pricey compared to its direct competitors, but there are two main points to be made; the first is that the quality and flavors of the chicken tenders are on another level and secondly, there is a large variety of options on the Chickenow menu starting from 20AED or less.

Ratings:
The Place: 5 / 10
The Service: 6 / 10
The Food: 6 / 10

Overall: 5.7 / 10

If you like fast food or chicken tenders, you have to try Chickenow. The menu has a lot of options, but skip it all and go to the good stuff!

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Posted by on July 11, 2015 in Dine In

 

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Galito’s – Quality Peri-Peri Chicken

We all have tried at least one brand of Peri-Peri Chicken in the UAE and it is becoming more of a trend with competitors appearing regularly. Galito’s opened its doors in 1996 in South Africa and along the years opened in various South African cities and now the UAE as well. I was fortunate enough to give it a try at Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi one lovely afternoon.. Curious to know how it was? Lets go!

Galitos - Peri-Peri Sauces

Before we get into the lovely dishes, there is one thing that I learnt from my visit and chat with the general manager; the owners have not disconnected from the brand. I personally believe this is a factor that many international brands suffer from, where they franchise the name and it often goes to hell. We were told that the owners and various managers actually do visit all Galito’s branches world wide, check on produce, cooking, quality, ingredients and ensure that their true standards are maintained. This… is how restaurants should be managed!

The Galito’s promise: “We have recreated the excellence of home cooked nutrition so that you can enjoy ‘just like mom makes it’ chicken without the hassle. Our traditional marinade is made from all natural ingredients infused with selected herbs and spices. We take care to marinate each chicken for at least 24 hours until moist and tender and then they are ready for the Grill.Galito’s…Tastes like home!”

Galitos - View at Yas Mall

To kick things off, Galito’s is now open in 5 locations in Abu Dhabi, and I had the pleasure to enjoy the beautiful views at Yas Mall. Galito’s has nice indoor and outdoor seating, but as the weather was still acceptable at the time, we sat outdoors. I wouldn’t necessarily compliment their outdoor furniture as they were mostly plastic seats and ordinary shared tables.

Are you ready for the food now?

Galitos - Garlic Break and Chick-E-Naise

For the first starter, we had the Garlic Bread with Chick-E-Naise, which is essentially garlic bread with a chicken mayonnaise sauce. This is a new spin-off the traditional garlic bread, I liked it, but had a tad too much Chick-E-Naise. I’d recommend this to be ordered to share with 4 people rather than have more than one per person. Good flavors though.

Galitos - Perimmus and Pita

Alongside the garlic bread, we were presented with the Galito’s Perimmus and Pita bread. This was a very creamy and delicious hummus that was flavored with Peri-Peri. It had just the right amount of spice, thickness and texture. Absolutely loved it. If you like hummus, this will bring a new twist to your favorite starter.

Galitos - Melon Teaser, Laranji and Kiwi MojitoGalitos - African Blues

Galito’s also has an interesting list of mocktails and they certainly were not holding back on us! They brought on 4 out of the 5 mocktails from their menu.
Coco Melancia – Probably my least favorite of the mocktails. It had a nice, subtle blend of watermelon and coconut but did not entirely work for me and felt a bit bland.
Laranji – A very zesty blend of citrus flavors and strawberries. Certainly very refreshing and flavorful
Kiwi Mojito – My favorite, with the right blend of flavors and without a doubt, the yummiest mocktail they had!
Finally, they brought on the African Blues – a mix of peach and lychee. Not the flavors i had in mind and a tad too sweet for my liking, but was quite nice.

To keep it simple, the Kiwi Mojito was the only mocktail that we finished. Their mocktails were nice, but you need to find the one that works for you!

Galitos - Chicken Salad

Their Chicken Salad was as typical as can be. There were some nicely grilled chicken on top of very fresh and crunchy lettuce, tomatoes, capsicum and cucumbers with dressing on top. Nothing much to say here, other than this is definitely a nice, light and fresh salad, especially for the people looking for a healthier alternative.

Are you ready for the stars of the show?

Galitos - Prawn Espetada with O Porto Rice and Fries

 

If you’ve been to other Peri-Peri restaurants, chicken remains the highlight, and although it is at Galito’s they do give you options like the absolutely delicious Prawn Espetada that we tried! It comes with 2 sides of choice and we went with Sweet Potato Fries and O Porto Rice.

The Prawns were fantastic. A tad small, but had an incredible amount of flavor, and spice (especially since I asked for Hot spice). A certain favorite and I would recommend this if you love prawns.
The O Porto Rice was not as good as I had from competitors, a tad sticky and not as flavorful as I would expect.
The Sweet Potato Fries were standard, thick sweet potato cuts seasoned well.

Galitos - Mild Half Chicken with Salad

The moment of truth was here, the Peri-Peri Chicken. Before I jump into the chicken itself, the manager gave us a bit of information worth sharing with you. All Galito’s poultry is brought in daily from local farms, cleaned, prepared and marinated for 24 hours on a daily basis to ensure the highest quality of chicken at no compromise. They had introduced chicken livers as a dish on the menu and pulled it when the suppliers could not supply them to the Galito’s requirements… No compromise. Very nice chicken, fresh, delicious and healthy.

The chicken was definitely grilled very well, but perhaps a tad dry for my personal liking. The flavors were quite nice as we ordered mild spice and it gave me an opportunity to try their bottled sauces as well. The bottles are available for sale at Galito’s and my favorite would be the Hot spice, the rest were lacking in flavor to me.

Galitos - Burger Pizza with Fries

Visiting with children? They, too, can have some fun! There is a small kids section in the menu with interesting creations such as the Chicken Burger Pizza with Fries, which was as straight forward as can be in terms of taste with nothing special but a lot of fun for the kids.

Overall, Galito’s is a very good restaurant. They focus a lot on the brand values of taste, quality and fresh ingredients while being closely monitored by the people who initiated the brand. The staff are really helpful, nice and enthusiastic and were always there for any request. While all this is quite good, the question that is to be asked is, would you rather Galito’s or Nando’s?

I will leave that answer to you. Galito’s has its unique flavors, menu items and standards of freshness, quality and processes that are almost unprecedented.

The Service: It was very good. Plenty of happy staff serving both indoors, outdoors and always happy to serve. The manager and head chef were both around at all times to assist with any inquiries we had. They greeted us when we arrived and were happy to wish us well when we left.

The Value: One of the key factors of Galito’s message, or at least their message in South Africa, is to be offer great, fresh and delicious food at an affordable price. This is not exactly the case here in the UAE as Galito’s seem to follow the standard pricing for this kind of restaurant. The Prawn Espetada was AED109, Half a Chicken with One Side was AED45, Chicken Salad was AED26, etc.

Ratings:
The Place:    5.5 / 10
The Service: 6.5 / 10
The Food:      6  / 10

Overall: 6 / 10

If you happen to be at Al Wahda, Al Naeem, Dalma, Yas or Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi, I’d recommend you try Galito’s at least once. I would love to know your feedback too!

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2015 in Dine In

 

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