Beckham’s got one; Jay-Z can’t live without his; Justin Timberleg’s in; and even scraggy-haired crooner Ed Sheeran’s somehow got his paws on one. I’m talking about something more exclusive than membership to Coutts and rarer than hen’s teeth themselves…
The Nando’s Black Card.
Whisperings of its existence first surfaced on the web a few years ago but I’ve never heard of anyone outside of schleb circles being given one. It might even be an urban myth.
According to legend, owners of this exclusive card – also known as the High Five – can waltz into any Nando’s in the world, slip the card to the cashier (perhaps there’s even a secret handshake involved?) and receive unlimited food for free. There’s even a whole website dedicated to it.
In the heart of our local stomping ground of Chapel Allerton, a huge restaurant/ bar has just closed down. It’s a great venue: all glass fronted and on three levels. In its heyday it was called Angel’s Share and many a night was spent jostling glasses of wine, dodging doughy divorcees, and bumping along to Boogie Luv.
But despite the vintage bird wallpaper, great wine list and locally-sourced grub, its latest incarceration as a more high-brow eaterie called the Hummingbird just didn’t quite cut the mustard.
The husband and I mulled over the sad demise of Angel’s Share/ Hummingbird with fellow Chapel Allerton-ers in the pub the other week. We came to the conclusion that it needed to attract a more loyal clientele – one that perhaps enjoyed spicy chicken, with a side of rice or fries, all drizzled in lashings of an addictive peri-peri sauce.
Basically, it needed to be a Nando’s.
By their second pint, the husband and friend Sam had decided, with 100 per cent certainty, that they were going to set up a franchise of Nando’s, right here on our doorstep.
‘We’re already spending £1500 a year on Nando’s,’ figured the husband, referring to our weekly addiction. ‘We might as well go the whole hog and buy a Nando’s. It’s the next logical step.’
The next morning, the husband hopped on the laptop to enquire about launching the all-new north Leeds leg of this spicy chicken success story.
But to his dismay, he found that Nando’s franchises weren’t an option in the UK.
We pondered this problem for a whole.
‘I’ve got an idea,’ I said. ‘Perhaps we could still have a Nando’s business model but call it…’
‘…Nondo’s?!’ we both chimed at once.
I decided to write to Nando’s.
Dear Mr Nando,
My husband and I are weekly visitors to several of your establishments across Leeds, where we regularly enjoy a butterfly chicken breast and half-chicken respectively (with peri-peri salt fries, spicy rice, and an occasional side of halloumi).
Given our expertise, we feel there is a definite gap in the market for a Nando’s restaurant in Chapel Allerton, north Leeds, namely at the vacant premises formerly known as a the Hummingbird restaurant.
In return for this information and in light of the millions we believe you are likely to make, we are happy to forfeit our finder’s fee in exchange for one of your coveted Nando’s black cards.
Please send to the address above.
I was about to hit send when my eyes fell upon ‘10 Things You Need To Know About The Nando’s Black Card‘.
I refer to point 8: ‘No-one who’s requested a card, no matter how politely, has ever received one. Asking for one is the biggest tattoo.‘
I immediately scrapped the letter.
But there is hope. Nando’s claims that anyone who can prove they’ve eaten in every restaurant across the world would receive free food for life.
I estimate we’ve visited 20 Nando’s across the UK.
Which means we only have another 1015 restaurants to go.