So Many Sauces!

2017-07-28 21.14.59

Hey everyone, welcome to Sticky Sisters, a new fast food joint in the middle of my home town. Round the back of leeds’ Merrion Centre, just by their First Direct Arena, if you feel like visiting for real.

Because we can’t all eat fancy food all the time. Sometimes we just want chicken wings.

2017-07-28 19.31.40

But actually, their wing portions were a little small and, while certainly not bad, they were nothing special either. They’re not really worth the over four pounds they cost and would be better marinated or tossed in the sauce than simply with a side pot for dipping. Here’s the thing, though: The sauce is seperate for a reason.

The sauce comes on the side because, they don’t expect you to have just the one that comes with the wings and they’re a little pricey because all the sauce is included.

So it’ll cost you no extra to order a full platter like I did.

2017-07-28 19.22.31

And yes, the stickers even seemed to match my review notebook.

Yet there were far more than could fit on a single tray. A whopping twenty-five sauces in all, all on a pleasingly ridiculous custom roulette wheel for the indecisive:

2017-07-28 19.08.28

And, even so, all it ever chose for me (prior to my photograph, at least) was their “Cheesy Blue”. A sauce that I can only describe as tangy like no cheese ever should be but not anywhere near as overpowering, smelly or unpleasant as expected.

That’s not exactly praise but then, I’ve been known to have some pretty awful reactions to strong cheese in the past. I’m sure that people who actually like the namesake ingredient would find it far more to their tastes.

And I’ll talk about the rest of their sauces in just a moment. First, though, let’s look a little more at what me and my friends had them on.

sisters

Aside from the obvious wings, we opted for their vegetarian items. Not because they were vegetarian but because halloumi bites and sweet potato fries are genuinely amazing, while cassava was something we’d never heard of before and I couldn’t say no to some jalapeño poppers. All of these were good quality but nothing to write home about.

The halloumi was crisp yet soft and the same, slightly salted cheese it always is. The sweet potato fries were well cooked to a similar texture and the cassava, while clearly not battered or anything, felt like deep fried mashed potato with a smooth, almost creamy taste to it. A strange but not unpleasant vegetable.

The poppers were the hottest thing on the menu, foodwise, even compared to mains such as the “spicy” bean burger, yet they were still quite mild. A pretty decent

1.5/10

Heat

with much less pickling than any store bought equivalent.

Definitely not what I’d call hot but enjoable all the same.

The thing that stood out most, however, was their heatless speciality garlic bread:

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A soft, doey, pretzel-shaped bread that had only the slightest hint of garlic but the most beautiful, saucy, sweet, caramelised onion topping, capped with two colours of cheddar.

As a garlic bread, it was somewhat lacking but, as its own thing, this was by far the best item on the food menu. I would strongly reccomend it.

And every single one of these dishes came with a sauce, in addition to the tray full that we’d already specially requested.

A smooth yet tangy “cool ranch”, a lightly garlicky but oh so creamy “dreamy garlic”, an almost chipshop-style “creamy curry” mayo, a sweet and molassesy “smokin’ BBQ” with an excellent tomato undertone and, the only heatless one that actually disappointed me, their under-garlicked “show me the aioli”. A poor aproximation of spain’s own garlic mayo.

Personally, I liked the creamy curry a little better with added black pepper but, aside from that aioli, I thought they were all pretty decent, despitebeing on the simple side, and I really rather enjoyed the BBQ.

But, as a fiery food reviewer, they’re not where my speciality comes through. My real interest was always going to be in numbers twelve through twenty-five: The chilli sauces.

For the sake of having some order to these, I’ll go around the wheel because, if I’m honest, I don’t remember what heat half of them were supposed to be. They didn’t all seem to match up to the company’s claims anyway.

So, to start, let’s look at their “buffalo kicker”. A light, yet thick and creamy sauce, similar in consistency to the cheesy blue but oh so different in taste. This sauce was below my threshold at a mere 0.5/10 but it definitely tasted of a red chilli that I suspect was cayenne but couldn’t quite discern fully through the cream.

And the “sweet thai chillin'”, an aptly named thai sweet chilli style that, while lacking in the ginger, made up for it with a clear red jalapeño fruitiness. That one was a bit hotter but still barely a 1.5/10. Very much on the mild side.

Then came their headline sauce, the “sticky sisters”, kicking it up to a low 2/10 heat. This was an aged cayenne sauce with that distinctive, well-rounded flavour that comes with time but also a tonne of vinegar.

It was a lot thicker than most such vinegary sauces but, aside from that, it was very similar to Frank’s “red hot” and not that unlike Tabasco, either. The sort of thing most people would add butter to before putting on wings but would generally consider a staple.

Followed by their “jigglin’ jalapeño”. With twenty-five sauces on the menu, it was inevitible that we’d have to skip over a few.

This was highly jellified and, while not quite a jam, more like one than a sauce. It was filled with shreds of green jalapeño that gave it a definite green chilli flavour, yet also contained a few pieces of red for contrast. Its heat was a mild 1/10 but its taste and stickiness were ideal for the halloumi.

My one complaint with this one would be that the alliteration in the name only works on paper.

Next on the wheel, we have the “pepper jam slam”. A sweet, almost barbecue-style sauce with an extreme stickiness that can be seen on my sweet potato fries above. Definite dark sugar and smoke notes but also a strong undertone of red and green chillies, making it one of the most complex tastes and quite possibly my favourite in the range.

Yet they added next to no heat. A mere 0.5/10.

About as obvious as the bare minimum of mustard in the cayenne and red habanero sauce that they called “haaawt mustard”. Which was, despite its high 3/10 heat, the most underwhelming thing on the menu.

Whereas the “mango madness” definitely tasted of its namesake ingredient, even if the red habanero it used actually gave even stronger fruity notes.

It wasn’t perfect. It had a little too much acidity for my tastes and the mango could have been fresher but it was an excellent wing sauce all the same and pretty good on the sweet potato as well.

Plus it had a satisfying slow yet sharp burn on the back of the tongue, peaking at a low 3.5/10. It was genuinely hot, though far from crazy.

Unlike the supposedly hotter “blazin’ BBQ”, which came in at a mere 2.5/10 and lost some of the sweetness and all of the tomato undertone from the no chilli version. The two elements that made their barbecue sauce so great.

We didn’t get chance to try their “calypso fire” but their “habanero heat” was very much the mango madness without the mango, allowing the sheer heat and acidity of the red habanero to come through and take it to the higher end of a 3.5/10.

But that wasn’t where it stopped. Oh no.

 

blue eyes chicken wings

The last of their sauces, seen here on the last of our wings, was something else. A super hot carolina reaper sauce for the brave, the likes of which you wouldn’t expect to find in such a seemingly mainstream restaurant.

It started out much like the habanero heat, simply swapping a touch of the acidity for the slightest smidgen of that signature sour from the reaper, but, while it initially peaked at a similar level, the world record chilli started to creep in shortly after.

This “tearjerker” sauce of theirs may have only really tasted like habanero but, by the time it was done, I knew I’d had a superhot.

It reached a whopping

5.5/10

Heat

that was certainly nothing to be scoffed at, even if I am actually quite comfortable with that slightly-above-ghost level.

For a reaper sauce, of course, that’s still very much on the mild side but hey, it’s still stronger than what Encona are selling and it’s very much in keeping with what I feel is the main idea behind this establishment.

Nearly everything at Sticky Sisters is great food in equally great quality but it’s all rather basic. It’s introductory stuff, with all the potentially offensive flavours kept a little tame so that newcomers don’t have to feel too afraid when trying something outside of their comfort zone.

Like I did with the cassava and blue cheese.

This is a perfect place to go to try out sauces and see what types you like or to grab a quick bite with friends who may not share your tastes.

The only thing to bear in mind there is that, while all the sauces and many of the food items are vegetarian, they do not look to cater to vegans all that well. What with how nearly every one uses egg or cream in its base.

But, assuming you’re not going with vegan friends, this is definitely one of the best fast food joints I’ve come across. It gets my thumbs up!

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