I knew there would be things that I’d miss when I moved from the US to the UK. Watching my favorite sport, for one thing. (Ice hockey, if you’re curious.) The convenience of 24 hour public transportation. NY style pizza. Lately, it’s been Buffalo wings. Maybe it’s all the talk about deflate-gate, another Super Bowl rooting against the Patriots, or maybe it’s the great wings I had last time I was home, but I just can’t stop thinking about Buffalo wings.
When you crave something, and I mean really can’t-stop-thinking-about-it crave, there isn’t much that can fill the void except the exact thing you want. If you want Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food, frozen yogurt is not going to cut it. In my case, nothing but real, good, bright orangey red spicy messy Buffalo wings would do. Thankfully, I found somewhere that’s as good as advertised here in London called Sticky Wings, on Brick Lane in East London.
I’ve been a few times already and sampled most of the menu with my fellow wings crew. There are 4 different varieties of wings on offer, either bone-in or boneless. You can choose from American Buffalo (with what I’m pretty sure is Frank’s Red Hot sauce), Sticky Wings BBQ, Jerk Twist and Hot Chilli.
I’ve tried everything but the Jerk Twist (maybe next time…), and while everything was good, the American Buffalo win. While we got a sample selection the first time around, we were all converted to American Buffalo on the next visit.
The Hot Chilli offer a real kick, but it’s not all spice. They’re juicy and flavorful, though your lips will probably be tingling. The StickyWings BBQ sauce version was tasty, but if I had to find a negative, they were a bit sweeter than I would normally like my wings.
In short, it’s worth trying them all, but you’ll probably find yourself drawn back to the American Buffalo wings, and they definitely deliver. They also offer generous pots of homemade dipping sauces for 40p extra, and both the ranch dressing and blue cheese are worth getting – though I’m a sucker for blue cheese, so that wins every time.
When it comes to the sides, though, I have to say that I was disappointed. The onion rings didn’t seem to have any real onions in them, and they were soggy – not quite what I hoped for. I had high hopes for the jalapeño balls, but they were mostly fried cream cheese balls with very little jalapeño bite. The battered and deep fried garlic mushrooms were interesting, but after about 2, I was over them.
My suggestion would be that if you’re getting sides, stick to the fries that automatically come with your wings, and make use of the Frank’s Red Hot sauce on the table, and maybe an extra pot of blue cheese dressing.
And then – there’s dessert. There is only one option on the menu, the Funky Cheesecake. In my international experience, I haven’t had great luck with cheesecake, generally. I have to say, this behemoth was worth it, though. It’s a sharing portion, for sure. For one person, I think the combination of profiteroles on top of cheesecake covered in caramel would be overwhelming, but with a few bites each, you’ll crave it for next time. Bonus: the crunch crumb crust is one of the best I’ve had in a very long time.
If you’re in London and looking for a Buffalo wings fix, Sticky Wings has you covered. It’s nowhere fancy, and you could almost miss it for its cornerside location among the Indian restaurant hawkers and the kebab shops. This isn’t a hipster-chic destination that takes itself too seriously, but a great East London-run place where you can get some amazing wings and a bottle of Sam Adams, and make it out for under £15.
As an aside: I know this is traditionally a recipe blog, but I believe you can get a lot of inspiration from the experts. Eating out is like a research expedition, and while I haven’t yet made successful Buffalo wings, you can rest assured that once I make some I’m happy with, they’ll be up here.