If this time last year, you had told me that I would come to miss dental school, I would probably have grabbed the nearest fire extinguisher and thrown it at your head. “Nonsense!” I would have exclaimed, certain that anything short of death would be better than the brutish hell of final year. Six months on however, and I must admit that as a qualified dentist, I do occasionally miss the freedom, the friends, and the lack of responsibility that came with university life.
Such is the extent of this nostalgia, that when I sat a postgraduate exam earlier this week, it actually felt like a trip down memory lane. Unable to fathom how I could be glad to be sitting an exam again, I decided to gather my inept comrades together and grab some crispy fried chicken from Wing Wing – an homage to the years we spent in Whitechapel, and the endless array of perfect-fried-pigeon vendors that litter its streets.
Halal status: All the chicken served here is halal.
Situated a stone’s throw away from Russell Square, SOAS, and UCL, Wing Wing is essentially an upmarket Korean fast-food outlet, where Korean fried chicken is the star of the show.
Steak and I began with a portion of soy garlic chicken wings, which were large, meaty, and – to the delight of my cholesterol levels, in no way greasy at all. With each bite, the crispy, crumbly batter gave way to reveal a tender helping of chicken within, and the sharp essence of soy garlic came through reasonably well.
Soy garlic chicken wings x6 (£6.50) *Recommended*
For most chicken-lovers, wings seem to be the unanimous choice when deciding which limb is the most satisfying to eat. Being the hipster neanderthal that I am however, part of me has always favoured the chunkier drumstick, and I was all but ready to bellow in approval when I saw them on the menu. Thick, juicy and crispy, they were just as satisfying as the hefty wings, and although the hot sauce coating wasn’t particularly spicy, it did pack a very subtle kick.
Hot sauce drumsticks x3 (£6.50)
With so much chicken before us, we grew concerned about our vegetable consumption for the day, and so, decided to dig into some seaweed fries. The fries themselves were thin and light, whilst the dash of seaweed seasoning added an aromatic sharpness.
Seaweed fries (£2) *Recommended*
Whilst we were certain that we had had enough greens, the team at Wing Wing thought otherwise, and promptly slapped us in the face with a handful of lettuce. Our final order of the day – the chicken burger, arrived with a crispy, but thin slice of fried chicken thigh, which was somewhat overwhelmed by an excessive amount of iceberg vegetation. The bun too seemed to carry a cold chill – (perhaps from having lived in a refrigerator), and the only thing that really brought the burger to life was the creamy kimchi coleslaw, which delivered a delightfully sharp and sweet flavour.
Chicken burger (£7.80)
Full of chicken and batter, we flushed our insides with a gulp of lemon & lime soda, which seemed to contain a sneaky helping of ginger. Naturally, this resulted in a sharp and sweet drink, with a rather feisty kick.
Value For Money: 4/5
At around £1 for a wing, £2.25 for a drumstick, and £7-£8 for burgers and bao buns, Wing Wing certainly sits on the more expensive side of London’s fried chicken scene. However, as someone who looks down upon the grease-laden wings of London’s perfect-fried-pigeon vendors, I will certainly not be using them as a comparison for quality and calibre. Ultimately, you can expect to pay around or under £10 a person for a filling, frill-free lunch in central London, and from that perspective, it really is a rather cheap and cheerful lunch spot.
The team at Wing Wing are also incredibly friendly and accommodating, and the fast-food-style counter service did not stop staff members from going out of their way to ensure that we could eat comfortably.
The restaurant itself is clean, crisp and modern – like any corporate fast food restaurant, but without the underlying aura of evil that you can smell at McDonald’s. (Ronald McDonald is related to Pennywise. Don’t tell me otherwise). With plenty of seating options, it shouldn’t feel like a chicken coop during busy periods either. Wing Wing can be found a short walk away from Russell Square station, but is within walking distance of Euston Square and Kings Cross too.
With a straightforward, frill-free menu, Wing Wing are about as unpretentious as they come. Make no mistake – there’s nothing revolutionary here – it’s simple Korean fried chicken with a few extra touches, and there is definitely room for improvement. But, for those who work, study, or pass through nearby, it’s a pretty sweet spot to stop by for some clean and crispy Korean fried chicken. Simple, satisfying, and suitable for sinking overdrafts.
Wing Wing Krispy Chicken
Address: 30 Woburn Place, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0JR
Telephone: 020 3900 0990