My husband and I have heaps of things in common: our love of heavy metal, our obsession with cats, our passion for travelling… and food. We are both massive foodies with a specific love of anything spicy. Whenever either of us has done something that we feel is worth commending, we use this as an excuse to go out for dinner. As a result, we have been to a large percentage of the restaurants in our home town of Brighton and know most places pretty well.
One of our favourite places to eat is The Joker. This charming pub is situated by Preston Circus and was formerly known as Circus Circus. The Joker have a fabulous selection of beers on tap. They also make really good cocktails. The interior is really stylish. The one sole reason that we go, however, is their chicken wings.
The wings at The Joker aren’t just any regular old wings. I have to say that they are probably the best that I’ve ever tasted… and I have eaten a lot of wings. Even if you aren’t normally a fan of wings, I would put good money on you still enjoying their food. The good folks at Orange Buffalo run the kitchen at The Joker and the stars of the show are their delicious sauces. They have something for every palette and every tolerance of spiciness is considered.
Having eaten here countless times, I have had the pleasure of trying all of the different wings that they offer. My personal favourites are:
BBQ – who doesn’t like BBQ sauce? Even if you think you don’t like it, you will after trying these. The sumptuous lashings of thick, flavoursome sauce will leave you wanting to devour several more baskets. They are also entirely spice-free so if you are a wuss when it comes to spice, these you’ll be fine with these.
Vincent – the mango in the sauce gives off a beautiful sweet taste but with a very strong kick of spice. I’m personally not usually a fan of raw heat without a lot of taste to it, which is why I absolutely adore Vincent wings – they are full of just as much flavour as they are full of heat (and they’re pretty damn spicy!).
Mr and Mrs Helfy order a basket of Viper: aka The One Where They Try to be Clever
Every Wednesday at The Joker is Wing Wednesday: order 2 baskets of wings, get a 3rd basket free. When my husband and I went recently, we ordered our usual – one basket of BBQ and one basket of Vincent, with a side of curly fries.
We also ordered some fantastic cocktails.
[Above is a Salted Caramel White Russian]
As mentioned, on a Wednesday you get a third basket free. What did we decide to choose for our third basket? The Viper. We actually thought that this might be a good idea. Previously, we had only ever eaten a maximum of one Viper wing in a sitting (they do this really cool dish called Snake in a Basket where you get a normal portion of your wings of choice, but hidden somewhere in there is one sneaky Viper wing). This time, we decided to go for a full basket because WE ARE IDIOTS.
When we ordered, they asked us, “Are you sure? Do you know how spicy these are?!” We casually brushed it off and laughed. Of course we do. We are invincible! When the food was brought out (extremely quickly, might I add – the service is pretty good here, although on the odd occasion it can be a tad slow on a busy Wednesday), we were asked yet again, “Are you definitely sure?!” We laughed. Duh, of course we are sure!
We decided to start off with the least spicy wings first so that we could taste whatever came after them (a very standard and definitely recommended approach when eating spicy food). The BBQ and Vincent were cooked to perfection as always. The curly fries were deliciously crisp and a welcome addition from the mound of meat we were consuming. What is particularly nice is that each dish comes with a delightful blue cheese sauce. The wings also come with some celery to dip in to the sauce which is a nice touch.
Having quickly devoured most of the BBQ and all of the Vincent, it was time to move on to their evil cousin Viper. I had decided that, given how ludicrously spicy that bad boy is, I would need as much help as I could with cooling down after eating them. For this reason, I decided to keep a couple of BBQ wings to the side and also lots of fries, sauce and celery.
As I bit in to the Viper, the spice instantly hit my lips, which immediately went numb. As I swallowed the meat, my entire mouth felt like it was on fire. As the meat went down, I could feel the spice searing the whole way down my throat. Despite this, nothing compares to the afterburn. For a several solid minutes, I felt like my insides were on fire and my arms and legs felt wobbly. Then, the adrenaline kicks in and you feel like you are on top of the world!
Once I had recovered from that one wing (about 15 minutes later), I decided that I would tackle the next three in record speed. I grabbed the bull by the horns (or the chicken by his wings?) and ripped the meat off all three with no pauses for breath in between. I figured that since my body went numb after one wing, doing three in one go would be better than having to go through the aftermath separately each time.
Want to know how it went? This is what we looked like after our attempt.
Despite the horrific aftermath immediately after eating the wings, nothing compares to what happens the day after. I won’t go in to too much detail because it’s not pleasant, but OH. MY. GOD. (did you read that in Chandler’s voice?) I was crippled in intense pain for most of the next morning and had to stay in the house for the rest of the day.
Was it worth it?
Oh hell yes.
Would I do it again?
I probably shouldn’t, but I just can’t help myself. Even though the Viper wings are hotter than the devil’s bum, they still somehow manage to make them taste delicious.
So that’s my review of The Joker.
Have you visited their fine establishment? Or perhaps you’re a spice fiend with a funny story? Let me know!