Randy's chicken wings live up to Buffalo's finest
PUBLISHED: 11:25 02 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:47 02 March 2017
EMMA BARTHOLOMEW tests out Randy's chicken wings in Hackney Wick to see how they fare against the Canadian dream
“This makes me think I might be able to save £800 on an airfare to Canada,” my friend announces, as we tuck into a feast of chicken wings at Randy’s Wing Bar.
Ever since he moved to the UK 12 years ago he’s been searching for some to rival those from his home town of Buffalo from where they get their name, to no avail.
But here at the Canalside diner, he proclaims, they have “nailed” the flavour, and they are the best he’s scoffed in London.
Slathered in a Tabasco based sauce with a blue cheese topping, the pungent vapour of the Buffalo chicken wing goes up your nose as you tuck in.
While his only criticism is that they aren’t quite crispy enough to be absolutely “authentic”, my friend admits he was being rather demanding in “looking for something specific you can only get in one restaurant in the world” - Bugsy’s in Niagara.
The chicken wing experience is messy, and I am told there’s “no elegant way to eat them”, as sauce dribbles down my chin and then drops into my lap.
The bucket to discard the bones gets full up really quickly as we devour the six flavours - Buffalo, Kansas, Gangnam, Bombay, Hanoi and Gong Bao – all priced at £7.50 for a basket of eight.
Randy’s founders, Richard and Andy, embarked on a wing tasting pilgrimage to the USA to get inspiration for their wing sauces.
They started with a street food stall, before this permanent base at Canalside near Hackney Wick, in the Here East building which was built as the press and media centre for the 2012 Olympics.
A chicken wing bar is probably not the best place to bring a pescatarian, but my son enjoys his Argy Bhaji burger - an onion bhaji in a brioche bun - and the crunchy battered Buffalo shrimp.
If you like heat, the hot feta fries are for you, but they’re just a bit too hot for me to handle.
Delicious homemade banana and toffee ice creams compliment the chocolate brownie – properly sticky, and not one of those dry affairs.
Exposed industrial ducts on the ceiling contrast with weathered wooden tables and a shiny white tiled bar, and the vibe is laid back.
Unit 4, Canalside, Here East Estate, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park E15 2GW.