Wings. These oft-forgotten yet regularly delicious bites of heaven are the unsung heroes of the food world. Whether glazed and grilled or coated and fried, wings have something of a cult following - and nowhere is this truer than Randy's Wing Bar.
It was dreamt up by friends Richard Thacker and Andy Watts (yep, Richard + Andy = Randy) and is now a shining beacon to wing-lovers. In fact, the boys are so confident in their wings that they have dared other restaurants to challenge them in a series of "wing battles".
While inviting other restaurants' cooks into your kitchen might seem like a recipe for disaster, Randy's have some killer wings on their menu which we were lucky enough to sample and compare to their competitor's. The challenger? Local eatery Spit & Roast.
One might assume being supplied with a bucket prior to a meal is a bad sign. While definitely novel, it turned out to be extremely useful. Two dishes which initially stood out were Spit & Roast's Korean Hot Wings and Randy's Bengal Bad Boys, which came with a crispy turmeric beer batter and an onion and ginger glaze.
The wings kept coming and, though initially envious of the diners with regular tables, our bar-style table along one wall of the restaurant soon came into its own - as the added space was an indispensable virtue. Highlights included Randy's harrisa-infused, slow-cooked Casablanca wings which made pomegranate palatable (a rarity for me) and Spit & Roast's Memphis BBQ wings, which came with a deliciously different cornmeal crust.
Now brimming with bones, the bucket had become an object of both pride and shame. Unaccountably, I still had room for more fries. But having consumed most of a poultry farm, I could no longer entertain the idea of eating more chicken.
Dessert arrived in the form of offensively large slices of chocolate fudge cake. However, not even the delicious Randy's Pilsner, which was reminiscent of a Spanish holiday beer, could wash it down. I was defeated.
Randy's Wing Bar is located in Stratford, London, and the next wing battles are on Wednesday 3 May (against Chuck Burgers) and Wednesday 31 May (against Wingman's). Four Battle Wings and two Sides costs £35 ($44) as a "Combo Move". More importantly, all of the chicken Randy's use is free range.
Richard and Andy also organise the immensely popular London Wing Fest which happens on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 August. In regards to a champion dish from the Wing Battle, it had to be Randy's Bengal Bad Boys. As for an overall winner, it was simply too close to call.