Bin off Google Maps: Randy’s Wing Bar has such a new address, at Hackney Wick’s Here East complex, that it won’t show up on a GPS map. But with its lip-smacking, chicken feast of a menu racking up the digital ‘likes’, it is unlikely that it will be off the foodie map for long.
Like many of the capital’s coolest fledgling restaurants, this place began life as a street food concept. The enthusiastic duo behind the operation, Richard Thacker and Andy Watts (Rich + Andy = Randy) wanted to bring buffalo-style wings back from their US travels. Their success in doing so sees them cooking chicken extremities in five styles on their own premises.
It’s like a modern ranch in here: industrial ducts on the ceiling meet weathered, wood-panelled walls. The summer months see doors moved side-on, seamlessly extending the dinky room. It’s symbolic that they should open up the restaurant, as the service is so welcoming. Staff at Randy’s want to ease you into having a good time. They bring food and drink to customers sitting on deckchairs on the grassy verge outside, packaging up leftovers and doling out cocktail suggestions with glee. I found a sharp mango spritz worked wonders with fast food.
Those eponymous wings come by the dozen. The Buffalo wings that make Randy’s name are served with a customary blue cheese dip. But the most popular option (we’re told) is the fiery Gangnam: Korean-fried wings, with a sweet, sticky glaze that’s hard not to get all over your chops. Not only do toppings vary, but so do cooking methods. The moist Bombay wings are baked then grilled, giving them a lightly charred flesh akin to what you’d get hot out the tandoor.
Chicken burgers appear on the menu, but those wings are what’s worth making a feast of (especially from 6pm on Mondays, when wings are all you can eat for £12). Definitely order the crunchy, battered buffalo shrimp, further evidence these guys know their US grub.
So, when you next find yourself in Hackney Wick, Randy’s, with its exceptional chicken treats and its all-American welcome, is well worth getting a little bit lost for.