Most foodies harbour an Inner Fat Kid who will always choose a big fat juicy cheeseburger over a plate of steak and foie gras. On occasion, this IFK will do anything to satiate a cheeseburger craving – from cancelling much-awaited reservations at fancy shmancy places to queuing up to 40 minutes at a fast food chain. Because sometimes, nothing can ever satisfy you like a cheeseburger.
Last week, my IFK pulled my ass to Red Dog Saloon in Soho. Twice.
The place looks like what I’d imagine modern-day saloons look like in the wild wild west: dimly lit with wood-panelled walls adorned with heads of whatever unfortunate hunted beast. But we weren’t there for the decor, really. We were there for something quick and comforting.
The original buffalo wings (£4.95) with bleu cheese sauce called to me when I saw the menu. The marinade was actually rather nice and almost reminiscent of the ones I grew up loving. The wings were a bit dry, though and the bleu cheese had a tinge of sweetness I didn’t like.
So let’s just go straight to the burger, shall we?
The Texan (£12.45) made me hoo-hah-ing like a Southern belle shouldn’t. My 6-oz beef patty was topped with American cheese, confit tomatoes, onions, pickles, barbecue sauce and a good piece of 12-hour hickory smoked brisket. This was one of the most satisfying things I’ve eaten in a while despite the slight sweetness of the sauce. The brisket was tender and the burger itself was a good bite. Delicious, delicious, delicious.
I had some fries (£2.95) with my burger boy it made Wednesday feel like a fry-day. They were perfectly sized and perfectly fried yet surprisingly not greasy at all.
The homemade sauces were slightly on the sweet side but I still liked them enough. Kansas City is a barbecue sauce, North Carolina is a sweet vinaigrette, Sweet ‘n Spicy is a honey mustard concoction.
I went back with my friends N and F two days later.
The ribs and brisket (£18.50) meal combo comes with two sides (we had fried okra and slaw) and it’s a meat feast bargain. The brisket, as mentioned, is tender and flavoursome whilst the ribs actually fall-off-the-bone.
I went for The Pit Master (£12.45) sandwich as it sounded promising with brisket, 16-hour smoked pork butt, jalapeños and Mexican cheese. Though the meat was delicious and tender, I missed the bite and chew you get from an actual burger. Not a bad sandwich, though. If you wanted a bit of a kick, this is the one to go for.
I didn’t really like the coleslaw that much and ironically, I didn’t take a photo of the better side dishes. The fried okra and the onion rings were decent enough if you wanted to peck on something else other than the fries. But trust me, the fries were a real standout.
I couldn’t say no to dessert but after a rather meat-heavy feast I wanted something slightly lighter than the rich pies on offer. I opted for the banana pudding (£6.50) but didn’t realise desserts came in gargantuan portions. Essentially, it’s a big bowl of crushed oreos, bananas, banana custard topped with whipped cream. Nothing special but hits the spot. Definitely a devilishly good banana dream come true.
A little shout out to these lads, who were so unceremoniously loud. They were boisterously throwing in the ‘F’ word like it was going out of trend… until they tried the Hot Wings Challenge (made with Naga viper chilli). The super spicy wings shut them up and made them sweat, which I found hilarious.
Overall, I think Red Dog Saloon is a good enough pit-stop for southern-style barbies and burgers. Is it the best burger in the city? No, but it’s competitive. You’re sure to expect a good filling and you’ll definitely satisfy your meatsweat cravings. Go and get smoky – your Inner Fat Kid will have a ball in this joint.
Red Dog Saloon Soho
20 Berwick St, London W1F
Ave spend pp: £25