Kango's Piri Piri and Gourmet Burgers, Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth – Restaurant review

Kango's, Edinburgh Road, PortsmouthKango's, Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth
Kango's, Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth
Sometimes, it’s the simple things in life that are the most satisfying – especially when it comes to food. Forget the flair and artistic beauty of fine dining, because there are times when you just can’t beat a plate of chicken wings.

That’s what is going through my mind as I step into Kango’s – and I am optimistic as I walk in.

The wooden decor, mixed with the walls decorated with signs and logos, is like mixing a classic Western tavern with an 50s diner. It is as if Sandra Dee went off with John Wayne rather than John Travolta.

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Dining alone after a bit of shopping, I sit in a small booth, and gaze at an extensive menu. More than a dozen burger options, plus chicken platters, a host of sides and more, is very impressive – though I note a lack of options for children.

The piri-piri chicken wings at Kango'sThe piri-piri chicken wings at Kango's
The piri-piri chicken wings at Kango's

I decide to order three piri-piri chicken wings (£2.95), with a small cheeseburger (£7.95) and a small portion of chips (£1.90).

For the most part this seems reasonably priced, but given that I have to order chips separately, part of me thinks almost £8 is too much for a small cheeseburger.

I also order a bottle of Diet Coke, but for some reason this comes on the house – I have no idea why.

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When the food arrives, I am in awe at both the size of the ‘small’ cheeseburger, as well as the size of the chicken wings; both are absolutely enormous.

Kango's cheeseburger and chipsKango's cheeseburger and chips
Kango's cheeseburger and chips

The wings are certainly the highlight, and proof that this restaurant’s speciality is the poultry.

There is a lot of meat on the bones, and it simply flakes off with ease.

Whoever cooks the wings grills them to perfection – they aren’t too dry and have a really good flavour.

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What’s more, the piri-piri sauce is to die for; I ask for a medium sauce and it has a good spice to it, without being overpowering.

I feel like a kid in a sweet shop eating the wings – it is such a delight.

Sadly, however, the meal goes a bit downhill.

The small cheeseburger is  actually enormous; I dread to think what a large one looks like.

Inside is ketchup, mayo, two slices of cheddar cheese, tomato and lettuce – all packaged in a brioche bun, which is a solid move for a burger.

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The salad is crisp and the mix of ketchup and mayonnaise works wonderfully, delicately balancing the flavours on a knife edge.

But you don’t order a burger for the sauce – that’s like going to a theme park for the souvenir shop.

The meat inside is surprisingly dry. It has been cooked medium-rare but doesn’t have an ounce of flavour, and has to be washed down with the drink.

And it is stone cold in the middle too. A big turn-off. 

What’s more, even with two slices of cheese, you wouldn’t know it is there.

Stronger stuff is definitely needed on that front.

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As for the chips, they are acceptable; another 30 seconds in the fryer would have made them a lot crisper though, and they could do with some seasoning.

I would have liked to have been offered some sauce with them too – some more piri-piri, perhaps...

Overall, this is a great little restaurant with a lot of potential.

The chicken is definitely its forte and I would go for more of that next time, rather than a burger.

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But if they can fix their meat problems, give the chips a bit longer to cook and hand out piri-piri sauce like it is going out of fashion, the staff at Kango’s could soon see chicken quite literally flying out the kitchen.