After a fun-filled visit to the United States of America recently, it slowly and sadly hit me that the Americans had a massive head-start in foods compared to the the UK. From their numerous breakfast diners serving delicious red velvet pancake stacks to the real nachos drenched in liquid cheese you get at the cinemas, they have it all and unfortunately, in the UK, well, we’re very slowly catching on. While we do have a huge variety of available Halal food and a large variety of cuisines, we are lacking in our diner-style fast food restaurants – Buffalo Wild Wings, California Pizza Kichen, iHop, Cracker Barrel and so on. We eventually got a hold on the idea of some of the trends, like the great “burger joint” that have opened up, yet I always believed we were lagging behind. That is, however, until I consulted my little friend known as “Google” and a helpful suggestion from two of my readers – London had opened up UK’s first Buffalo wings place a couple of months back –Stickywings – and it was halal!
I instantly grabbed my phone and bombarded BW with messages. Little did he know that his Canadian friend, T, had been going on about a great wings place from the day these two first met but didn’t realise it was the same restaurant. If a Canadian, who knows his wings and once ate 40 of this place’s wings in one sitting, and absolutely loves these wings, then they must be good. Now more than ever did it only make sense that the three of us went to Stickywings that very same night.
The menu is simple yet satisfying: 4 types of wings with two different portion sizes – US (11 wings) and UK (6 wings) and you can substitute 3 extra wings into the portion instead of the fries you receive; boneless wings; a wrap; and two types of burgers.
T, a devoted regular, stuck to his original order of US portion (14 wings with no fries) Buffalo wings with a pot of blue cheese sauce. BW and myself were spoilt for choice and took a while to decide until the awesome owner, Darryl, suggested that he would make a US portion size for us with all 4 different flavours – an easy way to sample everything on the menu. If you want to be a true wing-lover, you don’t go for the boneless option (like BW almost did) you go for the real deal – true proper wings!
Did the wings really live up to its hype?
Yes and here’s why… Buffalo Wings
This was my favourite out of the bunch. The slight crispy wings came lightly smothered with a tangy, buttery garlic sauce and tasted scrumptious when dunked into the dreamy creamy blue cheese dip (make sure you order this sauce!).
Jerk Twist Wings
This, according to Darryl, is the marmite of the bunch – you either love it or you don’t. Well, between BW and I, we loved it and it was even BW’s top wing of the night. The Jerk provided the sweetness and slight spice yet the twist wasn’t far behind with its slight lemon-y taste.
Hot Chilli Wings
Boy, were these wings spicy yet not too spicy so that they couldn’t be enjoyed. I ate one and with the nose dribbling effect taking action, decided against eating a second one letting BW enjoy the same fate as me.
Sticky BBQ Wings
These wings, although being my least favourite, were deliciously sweet – perfect for those who love BBQ sauce or have a sweet tooth.
Every single wing that came in the basket had the same consistency throughout. Each one had a crispy skin layer with a hot, moist and tender centre, and then doused with whatever sauce of your choice. These weren’t just finger-lickin’ good, but rather finger-, hand- and elbow-licking good. BW and I enjoyed the wings so much that we cleaned the meat off the bones and ordered another portion (UK size this time)!
Darryl doesn’t skimp on these wings – he makes sure they are the best quality – and even in his old Lewisham shop, he would drive over 60 miles just to source these chicken wings. But Stickywings isn’t just about the wings – there’s a hidden gem that lies amongst that menu – the beef burger. And of course being the burger lover that I am, I just had to order it!
Bagel Beef Burger Move over brioche, the bagel is the new bun. Even though it’s not gourmet, this huge, medium cooked patty was oozing with juices and melted cheese, and stuffed within a bagel. The consistency of the bagel meant that it was able to withstand the burger and not fall apart in your hands. Absolutely genius!
Funky Cheesecake This cheesecake definitely took me to funky town. One slab of the cheesecake consists of a crispy, buttery biscuit base, with a soft cream cheese layer and drippings of toffee sauce on top. And do you want to know the best bit? Inside the cheesecake, there is a layer of fluffy, creamy profiteroles – a dessert within a dessert – what is there not to love! Darryl, after 40 cheesecakes, managed to find this beauty that isn’t too sweet considering it’s a two in one affair.
The total bill came to £40 including over 30 wings, side orders, drinks, a burger and three cheesecake slices (I needed some for the journey home). A sweet way to end the meal (even sweeter than the cheesecake) was the fact that Darryl does not accept service charge or tips. Instead he’s planning on opening up a system in which the tips/service charge, if given, will be donated to any charity of your choice. Now that’s what you call great service!
This is exactly the kind of food that London’s halal scene needs and makes a great change from the burger/steak trends that we are used to. I love this place. Its simplicity is what makes it great and its location is in one of my favourites. Yes, the wings took a while to come, but do not forget that these are cooked from scratch – once your order is placed, these wings hit the fryer. It’s a small place that stands out amongst the curry houses of Brick Lane a.k.a Banglatown yet it tends to get busy every day of the week! And I can see why – the food is fantastic, the atmosphere is great and the service is beyond awesome with the owner taking time to talk to every single customer that night.
Watch out USA, soon you’ll be playing our game of “Catch Me if You Can!”
Halal status verified by owner and restaurant
Address: 40 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RF
Telephone: 0207 375 0100
Closest Station: Aldgate East but Liverpool St, Aldgate, & Shoreditch High St
Parking: Difficult to park near the restaurant