[dropcap size=big]L[/dropcap]ast year, the world’s most expensive hotdog cost US$2,300 and was created by New York’s swanky penthouse restaurant and roof bar, 230 Fifth.
It was made with 60-day, dry-aged Wagu beef in a brioche bun spread with white truffle butter, and topped with sauerkraut braised in Cristal champagne, Vidallia onions sautéed in Dom Pérignon and 100-year-old balsamic vinegar, then caviar, gold leaf saffron-infused W ketchup and Moutarde de Charroux from France.
The trend for gourmet dogs has also caught on in London – but at far more affordable prices. Here we list eight of the best, in order of poshness… (eight being the most posh).
1. Herman Ze German
With sausages imported from a butcher called Fritz in Germany’s Black Forest, these fellows come in three types – chilli beef, bock wurst and brack wurst. The Ze Wilde Bock comes in a roll and is slathered with pommes, curry sauce, crispy onions and mayo (£5.75). Located in Soho, Charing Cross and on classy Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia (the newest branch, opened October 2014).
2. Jamie Oliver’s Diner
Britain’s most loveable celebrity chef brought this American-style burger joint to London’s Piccadilly Circus about a year ago. The Diner Dog is made with free-range pork and comes in a soft brioche bun with house rainbow slaw (£7.50). “Pimp your ride” for £1 per topping with smoked streaky bacon, chipotle relish, a fried egg, sticky balsamic onions, pulled pork, Westcombe Cheddar, blue, feta or gruyere cheese, tzatziki, roast garlic mayo, japalpenos or houmous.
3. The Diner
Another Stars and Stripes hangout, this trendy chow-house has eight locations in London including Covent Garden, Islington, Soho, Shoreditch and Spitalfields. It scores points for offering seven different types of dogs (corn, Yankee pig, veggie, Coney Island and so on, £4.50-£7.50), as well as about 20 toppings – think Russian dressing, fresh salsa, chilli, mushrooms, guacamole and roast tomatoes.
4. Ed’s Easy Diner, Selfridges
With eight outposts in the capital, this the go-to place for retro American fast food just like out of Happy Days. It’s not typically posh, but the fact that there is now an Ed’s Shakes ‘n’ Dogs on the fourth floor of Selfridges (Oxford Street) means it has officially gone blue blood. The frankfurters come in two sizes and in five outfits. Of course, there are the classics, wearing mustard and ketchup or onions, but true upper-class shoppers would go for the De-Lux BBQ Pulled Pork (£7.25).
5. Dirty Bones, Kensington
A kind of hipster speakeasy for cocktails and food with canine names. At Dirty Bones, you can drink a Deputy Dog (El Jimador tequila, Solerno blood orange, fresh mint and lime, £8), while getting your teeth stuck into one of five different dogs. First choose from pork, beef, or veggie, then decide how adventurous you want to be – the Brit Dog is piled with treacle bacon, mature beer Cheddar, curried gherkins and English mustard (£7.50), while the Mexican is adorned with pulled pork, cactus salsa, lime sour cream and guacamole (£8). The Asian, however, ranks highest in the gourmet stakes, with kimchee purée, wasabi mayo, crispy seaweed and sesame seeds (£8).
6. Bubbledogs, Fitzrovia
Also positioned on elegant Charlotte Street, Bubbledogs specialises in a minimalist menu of fine hotdogs paired with champagne from boutique vineyards. Made from 100 per cent British beef and pork, foodies go crazy for the array of options chalked up on the board (something the queues outside attest to).
Our favourites are the Trishna (mango chutney, fresh coriander and mint, £6.50), the BLT (crispy bacon, lettuce and truffled mayo, £8), the Philly Cheez (sautéed onions, mushrooms, peppers, cheese sauce, £7.50), and the Reuben (grilled sauerkraut, Russian dressing, melted Swiss cheese, £7). One is never enough.
7. The Delaunay, Midtown
Who’d have thought that this grand, European Café-Restaurant on Aldwych would serve the humble hotdog? The fact that it lists seven Wurstchen alongside Jersey rock oysters, steak tartare and Ligurian fish stew shows just how upmarket the wiener in a bun is going. Order a traditional New York hotdog with French fries (£6.50) or be suave with a Thuringer (caraway spiced pork, £12) or Kaisekrainer sausage (pork and garlic stuffed with Emmental, £13.50).
8. Hélèn Darroze, Connaught, Mayfair
Pop by for a traditional American-style Saturday brunch (three courses £55) at this Michelin-starred restaurant in the five-star Connaught hotel, and you might be lucky to find the chef is serving her famous Connaught hotdog – smoked Morteau sausage nestled in potato foccaccia with caramelised pink onions. We’re not sure on the etiquette of eating it with your hands though.