It was a Thursday night and I was in Newcastle. I had been to the gym that afternoon and I was starving so I needed something fast. I decided to head to Manjaros, close to St James Park. It’s a great spot for students who live in the area to get some cracking scran at great value. Already a well-established restaurant in Middlesbrough, Manjaros states

‘Manjaros cuisine is based on a blend of African and Caribbean flavours. Our mouth-watering spices originate from the heart of Africa and isles of the Caribbean. Selected dishes have been prepared to create a sensational zest of spices commonly used throughout different generations in Africa and the Caribbean islands.

Only the finest selection of natural ingredients is worthy of our famous “Manjaros Sauce”, which is used to season and spice up our signature dishes. This signature sauce comes in a variety of flavours and spice levels from the very mild alligator peppers to hot bird eye chilies.’

We were up for this. Manjaros we were at your mercy. Feed us. It was around 7pm and the place had a few tables taken. In no time at all, Hassan took us to our table by the window and presented us with the menus. With a great selection of starters, I went for Lamb Flambé Chops with salad at £4.95 – Juicy lamb chops marinated in our signature Caribbean and African spices, Flambé on natural char grill and drizzled with Manjaros sauce. Messy and excessively marinated in sizzling, spicy sauce, I still wanted more. My colleague demolished his Hummus served with warm pitta bread, blended with rapeseed oil and seasoned with fresh garlic and creamy natural yogurt at £3.50. Bish bash bosh. Starters went down a treat.

Next up, for our mains, I went for the massive Waka Waka Chicken with steak chips and salad at £9.95 – Special cut of succulent boneless chicken marinated in house-made allspice, flambé on the grill with our famous Manjaros sauce . Brilliant butterfly chicken barbecued. I say butterfly but it was more like the size of an eagle. No wonder Manjaros do such large plates. The salad, chunky chips and coleslaw were all good too. Finding it hard not to compare, I was beginning to realise Manjaros has a Nando’s feel about it. The most important thing with that though is it is much better value and the food is simply better. My colleague went for the Manjaros speciality; Pepperoni topped Chicken Parmesan at £9.95. Cheese, cheese and more cheese! Layers of it smothered over the chicken, chips and salad. My colleague was hungry and it was a good job. He managed to eat it all but it did take him a few stabs at it. We were stuffed and couldn’t move. Manjaros also do pasta, pizzas, rice, burgers, wraps, grilled meats, platters and kids meals. They’ve got something for everybody.

Overall, Manjaros is very much like Nando’s but bigger, tastier and cheaper. Give them a try, especially if you’re hungry, you won’t be for long…

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