The fieriness and tanginess of peri-peri sauce and the flame-grilled chicken has found a way into Delhi through the launch of South Africa-based restaurant chain Barcelos here Thursday.

The casual-dining restaurant, which started off in 1993 in Pretoria, has forayed into the Indian market with a restaurant in the capital’s posh Khan Market. The chain already has a presence in 17 countries with over 150 outlets. 

The launch event saw the presence of Malusi Mogale, deputy high commissioner and minister Republic of South Africa and Costa Maziz, chairman, Barcelos and the restaurant’s general manager operations Rohit Malhotra. 

“We aim to find a foothold in Indian market in the next five years. We have retained the core flavour with peri sauce, but have extended the menu to accommodate the local market needs in India,” Maziz said at the launch event. 

Malhotra also emphasised that the company is focusing on expanding its presence in the Indian market. Pune, Goa, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata are target cities for it in the next five years. 

“An extensive research of about six to nine months before the launch helped us understand the need of the clientele. We have introduced new dishes for the Indian market, but the USP remains the same (peri sauce). There are three most important things – health, cleanliness and hygiene,” Malhotra added. 

The restaurant gives a choice to enjoy food with four sauces: tangy lemon, mild peri, veri peri and supa peris. You can also mix any two sauces to get a new flavour. 

The eatery’s ambience is lively and casual. There’s wooden flooring, and the first level of the outlet, integrates earthy elements with some greenery around it. 

The walls at the restaurant also offer a glimpse of the legends of Barcelos, which is a city in Potrugal, and shows the journey of the restaurant chain. 

Talking of the food, the non-vegetarian dishes, which is a specialty of the restaurant, will leave you spolit by the choices available on the menu. 

Opt for boneless thighs with onion and pepper or drumsticks layered with peri sauces, grilled with peri sauces and served with peri sauce. 

The restaurant has also introduced some dishes to suit the Indian taste. There’s garlic fish with rice, fish fillet cooked with garlic butter on a bed of spicy rice with grilled vegetable on the side. The fish was cooked till perfection, but the spice level was not up to the mark as I expected the dish to be ‘hot’. 

The restaurant is a paradise for vegetarians with a wide variety of dishes like stuffed mushrooms and potatoes filled with the richness of paneer or a veg wrap. 

Another vegetarian marvel to try is the esptada, a hanging dish skewed with mushrooms, marinated paneer with onion and pepper with two regular sides. 

The portions that the restaurant offers are satiating. But personally, one found a similar taste running through all dishes.

It was the desserts which were truly inviting.

Go for chocolate mousse, but if you want to go for a deeper guilt trip then opt for chocolate fondant vanilla bed with ice-cream. The warm chocolate ganache flowing from a moist chocolate cake served with vanilla ice-cream, is sinful.

Also, an array of mocktails have found a place in the menu. One can choose from flamingo, a blend of monin passion fruit, orange juice, pineapple juice with milk or electric blue fizz, a layer of curacao syrup with hint of ginger topped up with ice, sprite and soda. 

And yes, there’s the Indian class kala khatta – made from monin pomegranate syrup mixed with spices and lemon juice topped with coke. It reminded one of college-goers’ favourite ‘Banta’ summer drink.

For a meal for two, be ready to shell out close to Rs.1,500.