Poshed-up US-style fast food has never been more popular in London. From retro-styled diners to swanky restaurants, everywhere you look it seems someone's slapping a length of meat into an elongated bun. And while some are no better than your average cinema snack, there are hot dogs of true majesty to be found in London, if you know where to look. Try these American restaurants, German sausage houses or fusion food mash-ups for starters.
The best hot dogs in London
The ‘cool’ dog, from a street food cart – and complete with cult following. Great bun-to-sausage ratio. The squidgy bun is dwarfed by a whopping NY style sausage: a pork dog with a springy middle and delicately smokey casing. You can currently find Big Apple's cart by Euston station.
This ‘dive and dog bar’ – hot dogs, that is – is housed in a highly styled retro cool Kensington basement. The hostess table is a vintage pinball machine, the lighting is flatteringly set to drinking-den low, and the music is at ‘party loud’. Expect impeccable hot dogs in pillowy buns and all manner of other pimped dude-food.
Okay, not a ‘destination dog’, but still the best cinema sanger in town. The finger bun has a non-speaking part: the star is the sausage. Dense yet bouncy, it's beautifully seasoned, with just the right level of spice kick. Served with sauerkraut and sweet mustard.
Venue says: “Born out of a love of our traditional German dish, Herman ze German is the perfect pit stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner!”
The second Herman branch in Soho is still a fast-food joint, but is a more inviting space, with extra seating. Wherever you choose to eat them though, the sausages are sehr gut. Imported from the Schwarzwald (Black Forest), they use high-quality pork; have juicy, springy middles; and a proper ‘knack’ when you bite. What’s more, they’re served, traditional-style, in ‘proper bread’ – here using chewy baguettes.
Get even more meat in your life
Bar Boulud is located in the basement of the majestic Mandarin Oriental and attracts a diverse mix of families, hotel guests, business people and romancing couples. Overseen by renowned chef Daniel Boulud, the restaurant has an eye-catching view of the open-plan kitchen where chefs work in zen-like calm. Charcuterie from Gilles Verot is a big draw, as are the elegant French brasserie options and finger-licking American staples. We’ve had burgers here and loved every bite – perhaps a beef patty topped with pulled pork and green chilli mayonnaise or a French-US collaboration of beefy burger piled high with pork confit and morbier cheese. On our latest visit, we enjoyed such culinary gems as a robust french onion soup, resplendent with caramelised onions and topped with molten gruyère. A veritable mountain of steamed plump mussels cloaked in garlicky red chilli tomato sauce was another winner – every last saucy drop mopped up with chargrilled bread. The only downer was a lacklustre chocolate sponge layered with chilled coffee buttercream, although its accompanying scoop of coffee ice-cream saved the day. A class performance topped off by seamless service. The cheapest way in here is the 'Bouchon Menu' served daily from noon–7pm: 2 courses for £19 or 3 courses for £21 including coffee.
Venue says: “We have just launched our new menu at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, based around dishes from Provence.”