Singing ‘Going Underground’ by The Jam, we head down the stairs to a dimly lit Dogs ’n’ Dough. Given that the directions on the website are headed ‘struggling to find us’, it seems people have difficulty locating this fair sized restaurant situated below ground level, but it’s pretty easy to spot even if you’re not looking for it, what with its neon sign sticking out as you head up cross street towards the Town Hall, coupled with the waft of fresh pizza dough that catches you just as you meet the entrance to Bow Lane, it’s so obviously temptingly there that it’s difficult to imagine why I haven’t been in before.
Yes, somehow, despite Dogs ’n’ Dough having been around for three years, and despite urges from my friends to try it, this is my first trip.
It’s quiet when we arrive but it’s a Sunday and they have just opened their doors for the day. Once the kitchen warms up plenty of other hungry (and possibly hungover) people join us and the place starts to liven up.
The lights are low, the music is loud, and the premise is simple: gourmet hot dogs and New York style pizzas in an eatery-by-day bar-by-night setting with an 80’s inspired drinks menu. Being born in the 80’s and having just come back from New York, I’m feeling that nostalgic pull and everything here appeals to me.
The menu is split in two with Dogs on one side and Dough on the other. First up, The Dogs: there’s a good selection of hot dogs on offer with toppings as unusual as blueberry bbq to fried chicken. Then its on to The Dough: Pizzas, New York style. Here there’s all the classics you’d expect to find along with some more outrageous toppings like mac n cheese and rum glazed chicken.
We decide to try one of each. From the Dogs menu, we select Enter the Dragon (£7.50): a large meaty frankfurter topped with salt and pepper chicken, crunchy char sui crackers, a good handful of fresh spring onion, deftly squirted with Sriracha in a soft brioche hot dog bun. It’s really good and I eat all of it, cramming the last mouthful in even though I’m full.
For the dough, we opt for The Gladiator (£8.50): a calzone style New York pizza completely stuffed with a full dog, slices of pepperoni, chipotle, pizza sauce and plenty of mozzarella. It’s full and meaty and sweat inducing, but all in a good way, of course.
We share the Kiev Fries (£4.25) too, which taste exactly like you want them to, crispy and garlic laden, and are so moreish we can’t stop eating them and ask our server to leave them on the table even though we both think we’re done.
To drink we opt for retro sodas: a cherry Dr Pepper hits the spot, and brings me back to life. Later on, we have a cocktail, too. After all, it’d be rude not to try at least one cocktail, since Dogs ’n’ Dough houses 17 below, their very own 80’s themed cocktail bar. Karate Kid, was one of my favourites, so we try the Kung Fu Fizz (£8) which is a refreshing, sweet and sour, muddle of mandarine, lychee, lemon, and Prosecco.
A bit like the calzone, we’re completely stuffed by the end of the meal and there’s no room for dessert. Not when dessert consists of an entire pizza smeared with Nutella and topped with sauces and sweets. No, not this time. In fact, we conclude, dessert pizza requires an entirely separate trip, post-beers another Sunday afternoon, and we make a date there and then.
And, that’s it. I’m glad I came. And, I’ll definitely come back again because where else in Manchester is going to satiate my craving for the 80’s, hot dogs and dessert pizza all at once?
For bookings and more info, visit: dognsdough.com