Over the next week, I’ll be taking you down quite the path with buffalo wings in mind. So I thought it appropriate to first introduce you to the people behind the path taken….If you are a long time reader of FFG, you will remember that nearly eight years ago I wrote about a food truck in Brick Lane that sells Buffalo Wings. This wasn’t just any food truck. For eleven years, I had been searching for the perfect Buffalo Wings in London and I was coming up short. I couldn’t find the real thing to save my life. Then a friend mentioned Orange Buffalo. This food truck was quietly building up a cult following and I was embarrassed that I was so late to the game. So, one afternoon I travelled east for lunch, to try the wings for the first time. If I was going on looks alone, they were already winning the battle. The sauce over the wings was an exact replica, in colour and consistency, to what I had fallen in love with at home in the USA. But the real test was the first bite. I sat on a wooden picnic bench with a wing in one hand and a diet coke in the other – having no idea how hot the wings would be. I took one bite and had to put my diet coke down. If it were possible for buffalos with wings to emerge from my ears and dance around my head, it would have happened in this moment. Orange Buffalo had not only created a wing that was every bit a taste of home, they’d actually made it better somehow. I went back to the truck, said hello and thanked the gentleman for making true American style wings and left. On the way home, sitting on the tube, I started writing a review. People needed to know about this and they needed to know tonight. One hour later the blogpost was published (you can read about my first real American buffalo wing in London if you want a trip down memory lane). Fast forward nearly a decade and the story of Orange Buffalo has blown up. While they still have the truck, they’ve also moved to bricks and mortar, with two physical restaurants in London (and hopefully many more to follow). And this is where our story begins, in Tooting, at the newly opened Orange Buffalo.
A few months ago I went with a good friend, journalist Neil Davey, to eat in the newly opened buffalo wing heaven, to discuss a future project involving….you guessed it…. Buffalo wings. We didn’t need to meet over buffalo wings, but it felt right and, well, neither of us would ever turn down a wing date. So, we ordered, went upstairs to sit and we awaited the delivery of wings, amongst other nibbles. The plan we were hatching will all be revealed. For now, let’s talk experience at Orange Buffalo, bricks & mortar.
Well, first things first, they’ve come a long way from the truck. But, here’s what they’ve managed to do that no one else, that has moved from food truck to full time restaurant, has managed to do well. You still have the same exact brand experience, from atmosphere to ordering. The staff in store are friendly, knowledgeable about their product and eager to get you to try a viper wing (they are still trying and will forever be trying with me. There’s no way I’m putting one of those anywhere near my mouth. But many have tried, and nearly all have cried in doing so). The atmosphere feels like it could be Brick Lane. With exposed brick walls covered in graffiti style branding, picnic style seating and open kitchens for observing the cooking, this might as well be an extended size version of the truck itself. It’s absolutely uncanny. Although, the restaurant has one thing the truck does not – a giant mural of a baby sucking on a buffalo wing and covered in sauce (I would later be told this was a portrait of the co-founder’s child. Absolutely brilliant).
The menu too seems slightly larger than I remember. The original, naturally, was ordered and was just as good as I recalled. But, we also tried a few I’d never tried before. The K-town, a spicy and sweet concoction, is my new second favourite flavour of wing and a taste sensation like nothing I’ve ever tried before (also tried it on the cauliflower, which was insanely tasty). Buckets of blue cheese sauce came with the order, curly fries too. Although we didn’t feel a need to order any Anti-Venoms (gelato pots and mini milks to soothe the burn) as we kept away from the Viper experience. For those that have a death wish for the hellfire that will be your mouth, there is a Viper challenge in the restaurant and the food truck. Just putting that out there. What was left, after the mega meal, were empty trays and dozens of dirty napkins. Could there be a better visual for a night well eaten?
Bottom line is this. If you are looking for the best buffalo wing you’ve ever eaten, you will find it here. I say that with hand on heart, knowing that it’s one of the truest statements I’ve ever made. This isn’t just a restaurant visit, this is a pilgrimage.
Now, just a tad about what comes next. I went to Buffalo, New York. The Orange Buffalo guys were there and all will soon be revealed. Let’s just say this shit has gone international….
Note: Visit https://theorangebuffalo.com/ for more information on visiting the food truck or any of the restaurants with Orange Buffalo!