*SPECIAL EDINBURGH EDITION*
It is amazing what I will endure to eat a few paper plates of hot wings.
The basement of Wings on Fishmarket Close is a damp, unpleasant space. Its creators have filled the basement with vintage games consoles, posters, and memorabilia from Star Wars, and other Nerdom intellectual property.
The whole place feels like an unwashed children's play area, where distressingly mucky kids have been drooling on the Fisher Price. Playing Street Fighter II on a Sega waiting for our wings, the state of the controllers was almost enough to rob me of my appetite.
As you would probably expect for an Edinburgh Old Town basement built on plague pits and burnt witches, it is very very damp. Breathing in the ancient fungal spores in that basement that must take years off your live.
All this, and I like it. It's good fun negotiating the vast menu. Some tips:
- Stay away from the dry rubs - these are often unceremoniously dumped on the top of the plate, leaving some wings caked in so much that it's like eating iron filings.
- The heat measures are wildly inconsistent - but this is part of the fun. One day the excellent Dance in the Blue Flame will offer a pleasing piquant sensation, and on another it they will melt your face.
- Order extra blue cheese dip - wings are not served with blue cheese as a default.
- It's cheap as chips - order lots and experiment.
After several trips I've narrowed my selection down to a couple of favourites. The aforementioned Dance in the Blue Flame (pictured above) is Wings' take on the award-winning Bleu Bayou wings at Abigail's in Waterloo, NY. Chef Marshal Grady was singled out as creating the world's best buffalo wing in feel-good wing-food documentary The Great Chicken Wing Hunt, by folding blue cheese dip into the Louisiana hot sauce.
Another favourite is the Shakakahhh named after the great white bat with great white guano in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (re-watched the other night - holds up well). It's a secret recipe, but seems to a tomato-based hot sauce, with a slight tang - irn-bru perhaps?
Wings makes a compelling offering of lots of wings, cheap beer, and Mariokart at your table. You can see why I can't keep away.