Monthly Archives: August 2011
Restaurant: Red Dog Saloon
Address: 37 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NN
Contact: 020 3551 8014 * Red Dog Saloon
Opening times: 7 Days: 12pm – 12am (nice & easy)
Tubes: Old Street
The Red Dog Saloon had a pretty torrid time of it when it first opened back in June. Jay Rayner gave it a proper ribbing, TimeOut savaged it and it fared little better at the hands of London Eating. All and sundry bulked at the limited availability of key menu items, a perceived lack of authenticity and then the kitchen’s smokers went and caught on fire….oh dear God the irony! The one glimmering point of light at the end of what appeared to be a very long, very dark tunnel, was the concession that this was early days for The Red Dog and that signs of promise were visible. The problem with “promise” is that it is entirely speculative and with so much competition and choice in London the chances of giving a restaurant another go after suffering a bad experience are slim. I went early doors and wasn’t particularly impressed: small menu, no-one really seemed to know what they were doing, etc. etc. Luckily for me I live REALLY close (that and the fact that my girlfriend is on holiday and so I have nothing to do….), so I went back. And I’m really glad I did. It looks like the operation is starting to fire up and it appears that we have Buffalo Wings to thank. I ordered 8 wings for £8.50 but had I known how good they were would gladly have paid more. These were the best Buffalo Wings I’ve ever had. In fact these were one of the nicest chicken-related things I’ve ever had – I shit you not: Sweet, salty, tangy, hot, tender, satisfyingly messy – just totally, incredibly delicious. I also ordered a very good BBQ Burger piled high with onion rings, really crisp bacon and a slathering of tangy sauce. Fries are good and the mostly American beer selection is great too. Service is very sweet – which is not an adjective I thought I would use given the restaurant’s location – and the aesthetic is appealing. The menu has got longer, become more interesting and now represents a coherent operation which seems to have found a direction. The bill came to a fraction over 30 quid, which for 2 beers, a burger, fries, service and those wings, is OK. I should point out that I was totally stuffed.
Conclusion: Everybody that wrote The Red Dog Saloon off should go back. Go back and have the wings. Have a beer too. It will change your life.
Price: £30 odd per head – the going rate for commensurate places. The beer prices put the bill up but since it seems that nowadays we should regard Craft Beer as we would a glass of wine that seems fair.