It’s fair to say that I came late to Nando’s.

I have a dim and distant memory of (possibly) visiting the Cheltenham branch in the early 2000s but I can’t be sure it ever really happened.

What I did know, however, is that Nando’s is popular. Very popular.

So on a rainy Saturday, me, my other half and our five and eight-year-old hauled ourselves to Orbital Shopping Park to check it out.

And yes, it was busy. The queue snaked out of the restaurant and looked ominous. Never a good sign with hungry children.

But it was being well-managed by front-of-house – they took names, said it would be about 20 minutes.

And after a short trip to the nearby play area (children, not me) we were in.

For those that don’t know, and I’m sure there won’t be many, Nando’s is all about chicken. If you like chicken, it’s the place for you.

It works like a mix of a takeaway and a restaurant – you're shown to your table but order at the till. The food is brought to you (quickly) and you help yourself to cutlery and sauces.

You can order wings, burgers, quarter, whole and half chickens (and much else besides) and choose your own spicing. This ranges from fragrant and light to blow-your-head-off lose-your-tastebuds spicy.

I’m always inclined to go hot. Even though I know it’s too much for me. So in a moment of sensibleness I ordered the medium-spiced Sunset Burger.

It is described on the menu as two chicken thighs, melting cheddar, smoky red pepper chutney and baby spinach in a soft bun. I had peri-salted fries as a side.

When it was delivered to the table it looked good – the melted cheese oozing out of one side.

The chicken itself was moist and morerish, helped along the way by the piquant chutney.

And any sauce or cheese that slipped out of the burger provided something delicious to dredge the spiced chips through.

I helped myself to the medium sauce for an extra kick and it did all I expected.

All this was washed down with a bottle of Sagres Portuguese lager – a drink that took me directly back to an Algarve holiday in 2007.

My other half played it straight – quarter chicken, fries, and macho peas (whole peas drenched in pea mash with parsley mint and chilli), which helped bring a bit of green to a sea of beige and brown.

In the name of research, I tasted the peas – they were so good that I already want to make my own version at home.

The chicken was lemon and herb spiced – just enough so you know it’s there but not so that it causes a commotion. The children both chose from the Nandinos menu – he went for the chicken burger and chips, she had the chicken breast.

When it arrived both eyed the microscopic film of light spicing with great suspicion.

He was definitely not eating it – too hot. She tentatively scraped at the surface of the chicken.

But we had a secret weapon – ketchup. And with a judicious slathering of red sauce, they were both soon chomping their way through dinner, already asking about pudding.

As part of the kids' meal deal, you can get two courses, and they both went to the Chilly Billy lolly – a fruity lollipop that went down a treat.

And with that we were done, less than an hour from start to finish and a family of four fed for less than £40.

So if you’re looking for somewhere that will keep the little ones happy (or test your own chilli tolerance), this is the place for you.

After our visit Nando’s is now vying for the top spot with Wagamama in our family for places to go when we’re out and about in Swindon. So we’ll probably see you there.