The Christmas Markets start this week, and although they are always too busy, and rather expensive, nobody could deny that their big sausages are one of the highlights.
Chomping down on one of those girthy bad boys while getting that spicy mustard all over your cold nose is one of the best things you can do over the festive period, made all the better because they are cooked to perfection over that big open fire thing.
So anyone who’s looking to flog hot dogs or bratwurst this Winter have a lot to live up to. Not only do they need to be filling, but they also need to be good enough to keep people coming back. Up step Dog Bowl – no pressure guys!
To be fair to Dog Bowl, adding Hot Dogs to the menu makes perfect sense. Nobody in their right mind would want to stand with a roast dinner while bowling, so handheld, easy to eat food is a must – something that will provide you some much needed energy and taste between countless gutter balls.
Dog Bowl are offering seven dogs on the menu, all adorned with a varying amount of weird and wonderful toppings and flavours. Starting from the classic ‘Street Vendor’, which is also available on their lunch menu, you’ll also find the ‘Texas Pit’ coated in BBQ Pulled Pork, the ‘Snoop Dogg’ with Mac & Cheese and even an Elvis classic – peanut butter and caramelised banana.
We settled for the Street Vendor, the Snoop Dogg and Philly Cheese (Rump steak, roasted mixed pepper, white onion melted Jack cheese) and when they came out, I was immediately impressed with the size of these beauties. The sausages themselves were brilliant – meaty, spicy and with that characteristic crunch that you expect when you bite into a sausage that you know actually contains more meat than rusk.
In terms of toppings, I must admit to thoroughly enjoying the Philly Cheese the best. I wouldn’t want this to distract from the Mac and Cheese, which, although it didn’t look the best – managed to be much cheesier (and tastier) than I expected. Mac & Cheese can sometimes be accused of being a bit bland (by me anyway), but the addition of the salty, smoky bacon and the spring onion – made it all the better.
The Philly Cheese dog was excellent, insofar that it came burdened with what probably amounted to a whole steak on top – and lashings of cheese and soft onions. The steak was melt in the mouth, and worked really well with the dog, the sweet brioche bun and the cheese. There’s obviously a reason why those Philadelphia lot love the butty so much.
The Street Vendor, although deemed classic, and without any flashy toppings – again was excellent – with the addition of those crunchy onion bits a work of genius. I sometimes think that people can go a bit too far with onions on a hot dog, but the crispy ones were perfect and provided a satisfying crunch with every mouthful.
We weren’t bowling when we went to try the hot dogs, but plenty of other people were – and I couldn’t imagine a more suitable addition to their menu for anyone looking to knock some pins down with a massive heavy ball.
Looking back I should have got the peanut butter and banana dog, and regret it to this day. I respect Elvis for his music skills, and his dancing ability – but nobody could beat him when it came to food. Next time for sure.
Dog Bowl, Whitworth St W, Manchester M1 5WW
0161 228 2888