By Koray Hussein
So it’s Saturday evening and I’m out and about in Shoreditch with my friend Curtis (from the hideously hideous Polo Bar review). Our stomachs begin to grumble and we start to bounce ideas off of each other:
– There’s a decent Mexican place down Farringdon if you want to give that a go?
– Esin said the Blues Kitchen was a bit of alright if you want to try that place out?
– Pizza? What about pizza? – What the f*ck man? What do you want to eat?!
– … How about The Orange Buffalo? They do the best wings in London.
That got his attention, and it was quite clear that I wouldn’t need to think of another place to eat. With chicken on our minds we set off, marching towards the Old Truman Brewery.
We reached the Buffalo at something past seven and I was once again surprised to find the tables almost completely empty. I know this place is popular. People endlessly (and rightfully) rave about this place… but why is it never packed? Why is it, whenever I rock up to the Orange Buffalo the workers outnumber the customers? It’s so very, very odd.
I filled Curtis in on the spice levels and informed him that I was nice and comfortable with the Woof Woof (level 2 out of 4) last time while Priya went for the Vincent Mango (level 3 out of 4) and found them to be perfect for her too.
We ummed and ahhed, not quite sure what to go for… Until we saw the Snake In A Basket option which offers seven Original (level 1 out of 4) wings and one Viper (level I HATE YOU out of 4) mixed in so the workers behind the counter can watch you bite into each wing with a terrified look spread across your face.
Stupidly we both went for the Snake In A Basket (which drew nods of approval from both the man and woman working there at the time) and, like last time a portion of onion rings and curly fries in the middle with a lovely mountain of their homemade blue cheese dressing.
Sidenote: When they ask you if you want blue cheese dressing on the side. Say this:
Do not click the link if you’re at work and don’t have headphones plugged in!
Whilst waiting for the wings to cook we struck up a conversation with the pair and were informed that only the girl had eaten the Viper’s before and that the guy had no interest in trying them… Smart man.
Once the wings were ready and served up, I quickly scanned the eight of them, hoping to notice a slight colour difference on one to give myself a heads up but failed miserably. Looks like I was going to find out the old fashioned way.
“Try not to let it touch your lips!” Was the parting piece of advice we were given, which didn’t exactly make me feel any better as I sat down and picked up my first wing… I took a bite and thanked God that it was an Original as The Orange Buffalo’s signature tang hit the back of my throat. There’s a reason these bad boys are the best wings in London. Just as crispy as last time; these wings proved that the first visit wasn’t a fluke.
I moved on to the second… Original.
I looked over at the workers and was greeted with a “You still breathing, yeah?” thumbs up and replied with my own “Not dead yet!” thumbs up.
By now I was bricking it and staring at the remaining four with a mixture of hunger and utter wussy fear.
Sixth… Flame thrower dipped in lava with a slight tang of buffalo wing sauce. Instantly I put the wing down in the box and, like an idiot, started licking my lips. I downed the rest of my water and celery sticks as the spice sweats began to materialise on my forehead. I was done.
I have to make it clear though, do not mistake my weak palate for yours and think that because I completely bitched out after one bite that you won’t be able to handle the Viper’s… Curtis managed it; and the poor bastard had to wait until the eighth and final wing to get to his. If you’re worried then just go for the Snake In A Basket and keep a bottle of water handy… And if you’re really worried then you can also request a small sample of the sauce.
I can’t stress enough though… The Orange Buffalo serve some ridiculously good wings which is only matched by their friendly service. If you’re a chicken fan then you physically need to visit this place.
To put my spice tolerance into perspective for you, when it comes to curries, I generally go for a Madras. I could quite possibly go higher and venture into Vindaloo or Jalfrezi territory but I don’t quite hate myself enough to go that spicy.
Originally Posted 23/06/14 By Koray Hussein
If there’s one food in this world that when mentioned, will make my ears prick up like a startled dog, it’s chicken wings. Although that may have something to do with the fact that chicken wings are literally the greatest thing to happen to man along with the wheel, sliced bread and Thierry Henry.
So imagine how excited I got when half way through a conversation about Maybe It’s Because with a friend they not only mention chicken wings, but they claim to know where to get the best chicken wings in London. The. Best. Chicken. Wings. In. London. And the location of these now (at least in my eyes) mythical wings? A stool in a car park off of Brick Lane. Seriously.
I’m not going to lie, after hearing about the car park, I lowered my expectations, grabbed a friend of the site, Priya and made my way over to The Orange Buffalo.
We arrived at around six thirty in the evening and were kind of surprised at the fact that the entire seating area was empty. “Oh great.” I thought, “The best chicken wings in London can’t even draw a few customers in non-working hours.”
Disheartened, we approached the stool which was being manned by the very friendly and approachable, Mike. He was confident and didn’t hold back when talking about how tasty their wings were.
We looked over the four different levels of spice, Original (being the least), Woof Woof, the fruity Vincent, and Viper (being the spiciest). I shamelessly eliminated the Viper option as
A) I can barely eat Nando’s rather safe attempt at Hot sauce.
B) I didn’t want to look like a bitch, crying in the middle of a car park with buffalo wing sauce smeared all over my face.
After a little back and forth and some samples of the sauces (again, I made sure the Viper sauce stayed as far away from my mouth as possible) I decided on the Woof Woof and Priya went for the Vincent, with a portion of curly fries and onion rings in the middle. Now on to the part you actually care about. The taste… Wow. It only took one bite. Just one bite and my head was filling with question after question. How do these guys only have a stool and not a restaurant? Why isn’t there a sea of people here chewing on some chicken? Do I look like a bitch for ordering a less spicier flavour than a girl?
I wanted answers to all these questions. Especially that last one.
The Woof Woof sauce was (for my weakling taste buds) just right, the skin was extremely crispy and the meat itself still maintained it’s flavour and juices.
I really was eating the best wings in London.
I tried one of Priya’s Vincent wings and regretted my decision straight away as the tang of the mango and the extra spice had my mouth calling for another one of my own. Don’t be mistaken they were nice, very nice in fact, but I preferred Woof Woof.
The sides were kind of Dr Jekyll and… Well not Mr. Hyde, more like Dr. Jekyll and Still studying for his doctorate Jekyll.
The curly fries were lovely. Served in a decently sized portion and came with a dollop of blue cheese sauce. Crunchy yet soft, they managed to maintain just the right bite to them as you dunked them into the sauce and devoured them while reaching for another.
The onion rings on the other hand were kind of lacking. Maybe it was the quality of the chicken and the fries but the onion rings seemed to have been cooked for just a tad too long and needed some more actual onion. The coating was nice and crispy but they’re not called Crispy Coating Rings.
All in all, I am already planning my next visit to The Orange Buffalo and would highly recommend it to anybody who doesn’t mind a few calories every once in a while.
Oh and if you go for the Viper wings, be sure to let me know just how much of a wuss I was being in the comments below.