It’s not often I find myself in Kensington, to be honest. Usually when I am there, it’s because I’m at the Olympia for work, but recently, Conor and I were in the area – and we were HUUUNGRY. A quick search on our phones, and we discovered Bill Wyman’s Sticky Fingers restaurant was nearby, and with the promise of burgers and beer ahead, we went to give it a try.
Yep. I said Bill Wyman, as in THE Bill Wyman of Rolling Stones fame. He opened his Sticky Fingers restaurant in 1989, offering loaded American-style favourites in a heavily music-inspired setting. And anywhere that combines music and food – two of my favourite things – will always pull up my interest.
The vibe here? Kind of laid-back Hard Rock Cafe, but with less of the the cheesy chain feel. It’s got a laid back diner attitude, with a more upmarket, grown-up twist – from the wooden panelling to the beautiful guitars and interesting music memorabilia that adorns the walls. It actually reminded me a little of Hard Rock’s Back Room Bar, which is another of London’s hidden gems to go if you’re into your music history. Through the speakers at Sticky Fingers, you’ll hear rock and roll classics – we tried our hardest not to sing along…
The Piggy Back Burger is, quite frankly, an absolute dream. I felt the bare bones of the patty itself to be a little on the dry side with the Sticky’s Old Timer burger I ordered (basically, misread the menu and thought it came with cheese. Whoops), but there’s none of that at all with the Sticky Fingers Piggy Back. Oozy cheese and messy pulled pork spilling out around the sides of the patty, with a tangy BBQ sauce adding to this beautiful messy burger experience.
My biggest regret in life was not ordering a whole one to myself, quite frankly – this actually makes it into my top five London burgers. An impressive claim for sure. Okay, £14.95 seems a little pricey for a burger at first look compared to my normal choices – but it comes with crunchy French fries and a homemade-tasting slaw. And y’know. You’re in Kensington, so cheap independent restaurants might be slightly harder to uncover.
Instead of chips, the ‘hey guys, I’m being HEALTHY’ part of me decided to ask for a side salad with my burger. And it was a really enjoyable one – leaves, cucumber and sweetcorn in a creamy ranch dressing. I’m a bit of a sucker for an American salad, which I know with all the dressing isn’t actually a particularly healthy option at all, but hey. Girl’s gotta get her greens – especially when they taste this decent.
Once we’d tucked into our burgers and approved highly of the Piggy Back, we thought while we were there, we might as well give in to the restaurant name and get some sticky fingers with some Sticky’s Chicken Wings (£6.95 for six). Self-restraint meant we ordered a portion of six to share, and from the choice of BBQ or Buffalo, we went for the hot stuff.
Turns out the Buffalo wings were the perfect level of hot for my tastes. I’m quite good with spicy, and these left just enough of a tingle on the lips without the face-melting heat of, say, the time I ordered ‘hot’ at a Nashville chicken joint. Lots of meat on the bones and as sticky and messy as we were promised, these are definitely a great little find.
I’m definitely glad we stumbled across Sticky Fingers – the decor and vibe gives you a rock’n’roll feel with an adult, upmarket twist. Bridging the gap between dive bar diner and fancy restaurant perfectly, the food is delicious and wonderfully messy. This one comes highly recommended.
Bill Wyman’s Sticky Fingers
1A Phillimore Gardens London W8 7QB