Just Opened: Top Dog
Where is it: Frith Street in the heart of Soho
Opened: June 2015
The concept: West Coast-style hotdogs by way of the West End; the Top Dog team claim to offer an “all meat and no mystery”approach to classic American fast food.
What makes it different? So, a hotdog laden with melted cheese and a bottle of craft beer might not be the most nutritious (or low-calorie count) meal we’ve had this week, but if you’re going to do hotdogs, do them here.
Each of the seven hotdogs on the menu are made with 100% natural ingredients (mostly meat / no nasties and all grass-fed / free-range) so you can feel less guilty about satisfying that hotdog craving.
Who’s behind it? Top Dog is the latest venture of London power-couple Matt Hermer (founder of Boujis nightclub and British neighbourhood restaurant Bumpkin) and his wife, Marissa (star of TV show, and our guilty pleasure, Ladies of London) – whose American roots and self-confessed hotdog withdrawal symptoms were the reason behind the new opening.
Who goes? Americans living in London wanting a slice of home or those simply wanting a fast and wholesome supper before heading out for the night in the West End.
We tried: The classic Soho Beef Dog with Onions, Chives & House Sauce as well as the spicier, Asian-inspired Kimchi Dogtopped with a mix of kimchi, radish, spicy mayo and coriander. Side-wise, the Chilli with Steak Chunks was undeniably indulgent but worth it, and the Sweet Potato Fries were delicious.
Our top dog tip: If you don’t want to tuck into a whole hotdog go for the Lettuce Dog – a beef dog, tomatoes, onion, cheddar combo wrapped in romaine lettuce instead of a classic bun.
What to drink: There’s the usual soft drinks on the menu but if you’re after something a little harder, go for the Pistonhead Larger or the Jack Daniels Float.
The best thing about it was: Top Dog is no-frills and all fun – and it’s not pretending to be otherwise. If you’re after white tablecloths and a lengthy wine list, it’s not for you. If you’re looking for comfort food, served fast, it hits the spot and you’d be hard-pushed to find better hotdogs in the capital.
Anything else? Make sure you head down to the basement before you leave for a selfie on the ‘50s Norton motorbike.
The small print: While we don’t doubt Top Dog serves up the best hotdogs this side of the Atlantic, their drinks offering could be better. After all, there is something to be said for the irony in sipping champagne as you tuck into a hotdog – which this eatery’s biggest competitor has already tapped into.