I was skeptical at first. The hot dogs I’d eaten previously in the United Kingdom uniformly failed to impress. This wasn’t terribly surprising, of course: I’d never have pegged the country as a dog destination. So, when a friend suggested a spot in London, I took the recommendation while eating my (rather low) expectations.
I’m drawn to hot dogs. I’ve eaten them around the world, and I’m always on the lookout for something unique – which often matters more to me than the actual quality of the dog. The United States is obviously the top spot for hot dogs, though I have had good luck in Iceland, Sweden, South Korea and Canada. There’s no regional bias to cloud my judgment, and I walked to London’s Portobello Market with an open mind.
Despite my initial doubts about the recommendation I’d received, I was heartened by the name: Banger Bros. A hot doggery should carry a slightly pornographic appellation, lest it be accused of taking itself too seriously. Once inside, I surveyed the rather extensive menu (which includes burgers and even some baked goods) before placing the order on which I’d decided well before entering: two plain dogs that I’d enhance on my own with ketchup and mustard.
%Gallery-115889%The staff was good for a laugh, balking at my attempts to take pictures though giving fellow blogger Laurie DePrete a pass. I forgot about the folks behind the counter completely, though, when my dogs arrived.
They were big. Very effing big. Intimidating.
The fare, it seems, is susceptible to the same humor that could be applied to the establishment’s name, especially when you try to wrap your mouth around one. These hot dogs are big and thick, requiring an act of will for each bite. They are coked well, snapping when you bite into them, though the burst of flavor that comes with a dog from Crif Dog, Gray’s Papaya or even Popo’s is missing. Still, the hard work of Banger Bros. surpasses that of the other dog establishments I’ve visited in the United Kingdom.
Banger Bros. is a local chain, though the food and style are not reminiscent of the fast food joints in the United State If you’re curious, be patient: I hear that there are plans to bring the dog shop to tour side of the Atlantic.
[photos by Laurie DePrete]