If there’s one thing I’ve learnt through my many dining experiences in Hong Kong, it’s that you should never judge a restaurant based on its appearance. I had walked past new Staunton Street eatery Flaming Frango a number of times and never once considered going in. There’s just something about the garish red leather seating and bright red walls that didn’t really appeal to me. Having now been and sampled the piri-piri chicken, however, I take it all back and couldn’t care less what it looks like.
If you’re a fan of Nando’s, you’ll know all about piri-piri chicken. There may even be a little hole in your heart that’s remained empty since living in Hong Kong, waiting to be filled by some succulent piri-piri chicken. Flaming Frango has now arrived to fill this void.
The idea of Flaming Frango was indeed inspired by Nando’s. The owner had visited Nando’s in a few countries and decided it was time someone brought this fiery Portugese-style chicken over to HK. ‘Frango’ in fact means ‘chicken’ in Portugese. All of the chicken is marinated for at least 24 hours in the chef’s own blend of piri-piri marinade and then flame-grilled on a high heat to seal in all the juices.
Although the speciality here is obviously chicken, if you fancy some spicy salmon, steak, or even spicy cocktails, Flaming Frango has you covered. Knowing we had work to get on with in the afternoon, we opted against trying the cocktails, but I’ve got my eye on the Black Pepper Raspberry Martini and the Piri-Piri Chocolate Martini for my next visit…
We started with a serving of piri-piri chicken jam, served with crusty garlic bread. This is Flaming Frango’s take on French rillettes – a pot of finely pulled chicken with a fiery piri-piri kick that was absolutely delicious. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive about this dish to start with, but we might as well have licked the pot clean, it was that good!
To follow, we tried the Mediterranean salad, which in our case contained no chicken, but you can choose to add some should you wish. Give me anything with halloumi and I’m happy. Here, the halloumi was paired with slices of grilled orange, mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes, olives and cucumber, making it refreshing, light and delicious.
As I might have mentioned before, I tend to be a bit picky when it comes to chicken wings, yet I was a big fan of Flaming Frango’s piri wings. These were nice and meaty, so we didn’t have to fight with skin and fat too much, and were beautifully juicy. They come with a serving of pirinaise, or you can try some homemade “flaming hot” sauce, or mint and coriander sauce if you need to tone down the spice.
The star of the show was without a doubt the ½ piri-piri chicken with sides of seasonal vegetables and Frango’s rice. I had a slight fear that the chicken would be a little dry, but even the breast meat was juicy and tender. It’s a perfect portion for two people and costs less than $200 including the sides – bargain!
For dessert (this was pre-Lent sugar-ban days), we tried Frango’s homemade tiramisu. This was quite different to any tiramisu I’ve tried, in that it wasn’t at all creamy and the coffee flavour was very subtle. Either way, it was light and fluffy and rounded off the meal very nicely.
Prices at Flaming Frango are very reasonable, to the point where you’d probably find it hard to spend much more than $200 a head. The food completely took me by surprise, which just goes to show that first impressions can be misleading. Do you know what? I might even go as far as to say that I prefer Flaming Frango to Nando’s. There, I said it.
G/F, 36B Staunton Street
Tel: +852 2899 2244