Despite being slightly behind the times on the posh hot dog trend, Dirty Bones does it right. It has everything that Bubbledogs does not. Plenty of bar space, restaurant space, unpretentious staff and quality hot dogs.
The venture is headed-up by chef Ross Clarke, previously at The Fat Duck’s Experimental Kitchen, and serves up both hot dogs and on-the-bone food including fried chicken and rib-eye steaks. Innovative cocktails will set your wallet back a bit but ‘Mutt’s Nuts’ – ingredients including but not limited to Woodford Reserve and cinnamon and vanilla infused maple syrup — are worth the added expense.
The hot dogs are good (and for £8 they damn well should be). The bit where it gets tricky is the hot dog meat choice: you can pick beef, pork or veggie (that’s not the confusing bit). But, the hot dogs that come with meat toppings is where things get gnarly. For example, The Mexican, which contains pulled pork, salsa, lime sour cream and guacamole begs you to choose pork for the dog so as to not cross meat flavors. However, the burger dog, which is essentially an aged Bavette and beef mince hamburger in a hot dog shape, does not allow you to pick the hot dog base meat as it is already in fact, a beef burger. So in conclusion, it is not overly clear when you are required to decide on the base meat or whether it has already been chosen for you.
Anyway, once you overcome that minor obstacle, everything is pleasant.
Other variations on the classic hot dog include: the Brit, served with bacon, cheddar and English mustard; the Asian, served with kimchi relish, crispy seaweed and wasabi mayo; the classic Yankee, served with American mustard, ketchup and spring onions.
The sides are a steal at £2-4 a dish. So, I took it upon myself to order 5 of them: garlic buns, triple cooked fries, mac & cheese, grilled & smoked pickles, and bourbon beans. Highlights included the garlic buns which more resembled charred pieces of garlic baguette as opposed to buns but this did not detract from the overall taste which was excellent. Grilled and smoked pickles were served in a steaming jar and added that nice sour kick to a hot dog meal that is always welcome.
Last up was a cute twist on ‘milk and cookies’ (£5): a chewy chocolate cookie and milk gelato served in a small glass, with a teeny-tiny straw. It doesn’t matter that you couldn’t actually suck the ice cream through the straw, it’s the thought that counts.
Dirty Bones certainly win points for its attention to detail on the décor – for starters, the hostess table is a pinball machine (haven’t seen one of those in a while), there are old school Nintendos tacked to the walls, wooden shelves lined with miniature old glass (whiskey?) bottles, recorders, and other nifty little trinkets for curious diners to check out.
Note: yet another no reservations policy restaurant; however, there was no wait at all at 7pm on a Thursday night (don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing).
20 Kensington Church Street
London W8 4EP
Tel: 020 7920 6434