Randy’s Wing Bar, Hackney Wick
(First published on The London Word)
Chicken wings, chicken wings, you are the joy of my life. I’m slowly starting to compile a list of my favourite wing joints in London. So when I hear of a new wing bar opening I do my happy dance and put on my stretchy trousers before steaming over. And that’s exactly what I did last week!
Randy’s Wing Bar (as in, Rich and Andy…get it!?) is a newly-opened restaurant at Here East in Hackney. As the name suggests the basis of their menu is chicken wings. They offer 5 varieties of sauces and cooking methods along with 3 burgers – which are a revelation to me – and sides. I’ve tried the majority of the menu and although it is a wing bar, I need to tell you about the burgers!
They are chicken burgers of course – no beef found here – but this is no ordinary grilled chicken burger. The chicken is made into a patty, just like a beef burger. Minced, seasoned and moulded. I don’t believe I have had a chicken burger like it. The flavour is subtle and the meat is succulent and both versions they have are superb.
I really couldn’t choose between them. One is American buffalo and the other is Asian. They also offer a veggie burger with Indian influence which has done away with the usual portobello or halloumi burger and is billed as a veggie burger made for meat lovers. That is a big statement and although I haven’t tried it (yet) I believe them and will give it a go on the next visit.
Of course I have to mention the wings. There is a style to suit everyone and everyone’s favourite is different with Korean, American, Indian and Vietnamese influences. All beautifully cooked and yes I recommend them highly. The only rub is that the size of the wings can be inconsistent. This can be a disappointing, but after speaking with Rich (of Randy’s) he explained that as they only source chickens from free range farms, the chickens are naturally less uniform – hence the differing wing sizes. This place is about quality, not quantity – knowing that my meat is ethically sourced is a massive bonus for me, so I’ll take the occasional small wing when it’s drenched in such delectable sauces. Actually forget the chicken, can I just have a vat of the sauces please and a straw?! Kidding…kind of.
The sides are good, too. In particular their ‘slaw’, which even the most adamant coleslaw haters have been converted to – including me. Maybe because it’s not sickeningly creamy but has a light vinegar kick which cuts through all the richness. It’s incredibly refreshing. The cocktail list is good and the bar staff knowledge is great.
Rich and Andy are incredibly welcoming hosts and make everyone feel at home with a crowd of regulars already starting to attend and pitching up at the bar. This laid back bar is decked out with wood tables and benches and the front walls swing open fully merging indoor and outdoor seating when the weather allows which is really when this place shines. Who doesn’t like to eat alfresco by the water? Beautiful.
The location makes it a bit tricky to find at this stage if you aren’t familiar with the area – having gotten pretty lost myself when the post code was not fully registered – I ended up hitching a ride (please don’t follow suit), but if you can find it please do go. Here East is a bit of a building site, so can be off-putting from a distance but is a lovely spot on the river when you get to it. It has a host of exciting restaurants opening, one of which is Randy’s, and I can’t wait to see the full site finished. A lovely spot on the canal, it is going to be humming with business in now time.
28 East Bay Lane
E15 2GW (formerly E20 3BS)