You Have To Try These Wings In Wood Lane
One second while we wipe the buffalo sauce from our chops. OK...
London's carnivorous tryst with American comfort food is so passe, Subway's pulled pork sub is almost a decade old. Now up to our eyeballs in ribs and our foreheads in wings, we don't always have a handle on quality.
Kansas Citian, Michael Michael Gratz, is one of the good guys. His new venture, Prairie Fire, is a glazed cave of wonders beneath Wood Lane's railways arches. Its smoker emanates with aromas so delectable, they could lift you off you feet and pull you towards them, face-first. In another life, Gratz worked across the road at Television Centre, but now — egged on by a longing for the tastes of home — he's producing smash hit after smash hit of slow-cooked, sauce-daubed deliciousness.
This is not Man Vs Food: the Cowtown sandwich arrives as an almost dainty stack of USDA black angus brisket, molten cheese, onion ring and homemade sauce, pinned between toasted potato flour buns. Everything from the crispy onion ring to the sharp-not-too-sharp pickle, plays its part. And its moderate measurements belie an onslaught of intense flavours; the tang of oakiness from 16 hours of smoking; the richness of the brisket's molasses slathering, the overcoat of one of Gratz's prized secret BBQ sauces.
The pinnacle of these sauces can be found lacquering Prairie Fire's riff on buffalo wings. Usually lifeboat orange and acidic enough to make you splutter every time you breathe in, these particularly plump buffalo wings are reworked with a deep and moody sauce infused with Korean influence, and made thicker and naughtier with ghee. It's the foodie version of Jimi Hendrix taking Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower, and saying "Now let me have a go with this one..."
Finger lickin' good doesn't begin to do this place justice.
Prairie Fire, Arches 88/89 Wood Lane Arches
Last Updated 27 January 2020