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

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.

Thursday, 25th July 2019, 1:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th July 2019, 6:11 pm
Kango's, Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth
Kango's, Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth

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.

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.

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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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.