Spotlight On: Wing Kings
Most people know Olu Babalola as a pro basketball player but what you might not know is he also has a passion for cooking soul food. We caught up with the man himself at his pop-up restaurant located at Trippet Lane boozer Dog & Partridge.
Hi Olu! How’s it going? Tell us a bit about how this all started.
I’m great thanks! So I’ve always been a feeder, I learnt how to cook soul food when I went to university in South Carolina and the special seasoning comes from Mama who was the head chef at a slave plantation, she passed the recipe down to her daughter who passed it onto me before she passed away. And yes I do still play basketball, the new season starts in August.
So how long have you been serving at Dog & Partridge?
Since February, the end goal is to have my own restaurant but I’m here for now. I want to build up a good reputation and potentially get some investors on board first. It’s looking hopeful at the moment, some investors from America are interested, people who have watched me grow from the beginning, I’m trying to cross-brand me as an athlete and Wing Kings, maybe get the kids involved too.
Are you still doing events and food markets?
I’ve got a few big events lined up. I’m trying to not do too much at the moment so I don’t spread myself too thin; it’s more if people are reaching out to me for catering you know?
Gotcha. What would you say are the most popular dishes on the menu?
Chicken & waffle. biscuits & gravy, the snickerdoodle sandwich and obviously the wings. The thing is, a lot of people don’t know what these dishes are, and to be fair a lot of soul food doesn’t particularly look good to the eye but I always say don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I’ve got at least 50 other dish ideas but nobody likes a huge menu as it can be overwhelming, I’ll be doing a bit of trial and error with some new dishes to see what people like.
What’s the difference between Olu’s Kitchen and Wing Kings?
So Olu’s Kitchen caters for the regular folk here who just want some familiar pub grub like burgers, salads and wraps. As you can see our prices are reflective of standard pub grub too but they won’t stay that way forever!
And do you do everything yourself?
Yup, everything. It’s mad; I’m constantly rushed off my feet. Especially on #WingKingWednesdays which is where we do unlimited wings and sides for £10. It’s all made fresh too, no frozen meat.
What a deal! Any plans for the future?
We’re bringing back #SoulFoodSundayDinner on the last Sunday of every month! Expect deep southern food such as shrimp n’ grits, chicken parmesan, collard greens, mac & cheese, cornbread and peach cobbler. The menu will change every month and we’re going to kick off the first one on September 2nd. Click here for more info and to book.
WHAT TO ORDER
Chicken Biscuit £3.50
Chicken soaked in buttermilk overnight, seasoned in mama’s secret seasoning mix and fried to perfection in a southern style biscuit. Essentially fried chicken inside a savoury scone- what’s not to like?
Chicken ‘n’ Waffles £5.50
Homemade buttermilk waffles with three whole chicken wings and your sauce of choice. An American favourite or should I say favorite.
Biscuits ‘n’ Gravy £4.00
Béchamel sauce simmered with bacon and sausage, lathered over a light and fluffy deep southern American style buttermilk biscuit. It’s creamy, it’s comforting and it’s calorific. A no-brainer.
WK Chicken Balls w/ chunky chips £5.00
Rotisserie chicken chopped with herbs, mama’s seasoning, cream cheese and mozzarella, rolled into balls and coated in Panko. Do we really need to explain to you why you should order something stuffed with mozzarella, coated in Panko crumbs and deep-fried?
Snickerdoodle Ice-Cream Sandwich £3.50
Nothing to do with Snickers bars. Everything to do with two warm buttery cookies sandwiched together with vanilla ice-cream and finished with lashings of melted white chocolate. You might think you don’t have room for this after all that chicken. Make room.