South Melbourne chicken wing joint Wings of Glory gets a new city outpost
Breathing life into the quiet patch of Little Lonsdale between Elizabeth and Queen Streets, the Wings of Glory CBD venture is small, cheery and functional. A playful comic strip adorns the side of the restaurant, AstroTurf blankets the floor and tables are shunted side by side into a space that can occasionally feel cramped.
Wings of Glory is busy, even on the blustery Monday night that we visit, with a steady stream of devoted chicken wing lovers flowing through. The restaurant doesn’t bother itself with table service – it’d be a struggle to squeeze through the small gaps between the tables – but the front counter waitstaff are congenial and only too happy to recommend different pairings depending on what you feel like. On this occasion, I am dining with only one other person, and so we go for the six-piece combo each – one combo has original glory wings basted in hot seasoning and served with a brown rice salad, while the other contains the boneless wings marinated in Cajun spice and served with chips and a blue cheese dip.
Vegetarians have the choice of Seitan vegetarian wings, and the flavourings expand beyond the ones we chose to include lemon pepper, honey, barbecue, chilli mango, medium and mild. Sides include fried pickles and the curious ‘veggie sticks’, while platters are available for larger groups. ‘The Fury Challenge’ – whereby you eat 12 super hot Wings of Glory wings in four minutes – is happening on a table nearby where a feverish looking man is being cheered on by his counterparts. To douse the hotness, craft beers and ciders are available in the fridge by the door.
Diners are granted a glimpse into the inner workings of the kitchen through a little window that doubles up as the pick-up point. Drinking water is dispensed through a wall-attached pipe next to the washbasin. Everything is DIY, but with minor flourishes.
The original Glory Wings in hot seasoning are really just buffalo wings, and good ones at that. Marinated in generous proportions of buffalo sauce and double fried, the wings contain a decent amount of kick that tickles the throat after each bite, with the act of eating them as messy and finicky as you’d expect the consumption of good wings to be. The rice salad that accompanies it is vinegary and fresh, with the chopped up celery, tomato, onion and cucumber a suitable counterpoint to the zingy wings.
But the Cajun boneless wings are the table’s favourite. We are curious as to how wings can be boneless, and are told that they’re simply boneless thigh pieces. If you’re a wing traditionalist, this may not be the option for you, but it’d be a shame to pass up on them – heartier than the wings, the Cajun boneless wings are moreish and crispy with well-balanced flavours. The hand-cut crisp spherical potato chips that accompany them are a departure from your average shoestring fry or thick cut chip, and are best eaten straight out of the piping hot deep fryer.
If you’re still able to fit in dessert, Wings of Glory prides itself on ice-cream dogs where you can choose between choc oreo, honeycomb crunch and strawberry bliss fillings.
Wings of Glory is a quick and convenient dining option for time-starved city dwellers that pairs its no-frills setup with simple and down-to-earth chicken wings that hit the spot. With places that specialise in exclusively American-style chicken wings few and far between in Melbourne – Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew and Kodiak Club immediately spring to mind and neither of them are city-based – Wings of Glory is carving out a spot for itself in Melbourne’s dining scene.
If you’re a chicken aficionado, make sure you try out Korean chicken chain 4Fingers too.
Wings of Glory
288 Little Lonsdale Street