Sticky wings 4/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3.5/5
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 3/5
Note: Alcohol is not served on the premises. All meat is halal.
Amongst the curry houses and factories, the heart of East London is where it’s at. Home to Brick Lane market, independent shops and hipster bars, locations such as Aldgate and Shoreditch have still managed to preserve their appealing gritty urban edge, despite the spread of affluence and city workers. But independent cafes and hipster hangouts are not the only thing on the rise in the East End. Trendy halal hangouts such as Boondocks, Band of Burgers and BIRD have made East London the place to be for hungry muslims and city workers alike. After hearing a lot about Sticky Wings in particular, we headed over to get stuck in, and see whether their chicken treats lived up to our high expectations.
It was a Friday night and ShakerFries and I were on Brick Lane. Having sunk my teeth into a burger too many, I fancied something different. It was the grand opening of Band of Burgers, but we strolled past and parked it on our list of ‘places to try.’ Amongst all the curry houses on Brick Lane, Sticky Wings stuck out like a sore thumb. The restaurant was relatively busy with simple décor comparable to an old school American Diner. The menu looked somewhat simple at first glance: 2 portion sizes (US (11 wings) and UK (6 wings)) incorporating 4 types of wings: Buffalo, jerk twist, hot chilli and sticky BBQ. We decided to order 2 American sized portions, allowing us to sample all four flavours. The waitress also informed us that we could substitute 3 extra wings into the portion instead of the fries, but we decided the fries would be a good accompaniment to the meal. After another recommendation from the waitress, we also ordered the blue cheese sauce for the buffalo and BBQ wings, and ranch sauce for the hot chilli and jerk twist wings. Other items on the menu included boneless wings, a wrap, and two types of burgers, which we weren’t really interested in given that we had only chosen Sticky Wings for.…well, the wings.
The food took around 15-20 minutes to arrive, but we didn’t mind the wait as all the wings were cooked fresh, were hugely juicy and piping hot when they arrived to the table. Interestingly, we were told that the wings should be eaten in a particular sequence in order to cater a real taste for all the flavours. We started with the Buffalo Wings, and were immediately blown away. The chicken was succulent, encased in a crispy batter and smothered in a tangy garlic sauce. Considering ShakerFries and I had developed recent fixation for Buffalo Wings, this was by far one of the best portion we had tasted to date. Next up were the Sticky BBQ wings. These were more on the sweeter slide, with a smokey after taste. I usually have to be in the mood for BBQ sauce, and on this occasion I did enjoy the sweetness after tasting the tanginess of the Buffalo Wings. I couldn’t however get my head around the taste of the jerk wings and was a bit disappointed. Having developed a strong taste for Caribbean flavours, I didn’t feel the taste of the Jerk seasoning came through. Perhaps it’s because you can only really enjoy the Jerk flavor when you char the chicken over a BBQ or charcoal. I just felt that these flavours didn’t work over fried wings, and although sweet, I felt the flavours were a bit limp compared to the BBQ and Buffalo wings. Next onto the chilli wings, which we were instructed to save until last…with good reason. I loved the tangy taste of the first wing, and got the spicy kick at the end. However once I tucked into the second hot wing, I felt my face burn and I broke into a sweat. Strangely enough, despite having to extinguish the fire raging through my tastebuds, I still thoroughly enjoyed this flavor. I would even go as far as to say that they were my second favorite, despite having to pass on the remaining 3 wings to ShakerFries.
Although I was initially skeptical about filling my belly up on ‘just wings’ for dinner, I was left swallowing my words. Every wing was meaty and tender, and all were the right level of crispy, even after being smothered in their various sauces. In fact, both of us were left licking our fingers. The bill came to a modest £27 including drinks. Not bad considering we were just a stones throw away from Liverpool Street. The service made this dining experience that much more enjoyable, as the waitress was particularly attentive and checked several times if we were happy with the food. I’m still not sold on the idea of ordering a burger from here, but we both agreed that when we go back we would both order American sized portions of the Buffalo Wings, as they were by far the best on the menu. Overall, Sticky Wings is a prime example of how simplicity really is the key. It’s menu and décor may be modest, but the food and service exceed our expectations, and made a massive change from the hoard of burger joints populating London.