48 Frith Street, London W1D 4SF  www.top-dog.co

Nik heads to Top Dog and finds that Soho has a ready-made hotspot should burgers be knocked from their fashionable post – and has a ready-made hotspot, should they not!

Surely it’s time for the burger to step out of the limelight? I have nothing against burgers, but a food stuff can’t maintain its grip and growth indefinitely; although, pizza might have something to say about that.

When burgers do shift aside or drop off the radar slightly, something will need to fill the void in the Buzzfeed and Time Out top ten lists. Something meaty. Something bread-y. Something offering a multitude of topping options.

Perhaps hotdogs will step up to the plate. They’re essentially burgers in tube form anyway, so the shock from this change shouldn’t be too hard for people to take.

If that happens, if hotdogs can take top spot, then Top Dog will have a head start. A fine looking brand, a prominent location, the folks of Soho can queue around the block for their new favourite food without hesitation.

Top Dog operates on the quasi-fast food model. You order at a counter, from boys and girls in striped uniforms and paper hats (probably, I didn’t make a note), before finding a seat at a wooden table and waiting for your food to arrive. It’s a speedy process, helped along by a tracker that locates your table for the staff – as long as you don’t move it.

When the food arrives, it’s good. Excellent, in fact. A hefty hotdog and chips for around the £10 mark. Add on a beer and you’re looking at £15 for a well-fed and well-watered meal. That’s for the signature hot dogs, covered in toppings, mind you. The more simple dogs drop down to nearer a fiver.

But then who in their right mind wants one of those?!

The topped dogs have loads on offer, including a kimchi option and one with baked beans – the Sloppy Dog. The chilli covered dog (Chilli n’Cheddar) won my heart – a gentle smoky heat coming through the chilli, which coated the dog and was cooled by the mild cheese and a lattice of sour cream drizzled across the top.

The vegan hotdogs were perhaps pushing the boat a tad too far; but then I’m not really mad keen on tofu, so it was never going to be a winner. I was mad keen on the shake for pudding. A salted caramel shake. The sort of drink that blows your tiny mind with each and every sip, from the first until the straw sucking last. A sweet sugary goodness that leaves you wanting more and more and more (and more).

The shake was also the perfect digestif, settling the mountain of dogs and sides we’d eaten. Hey, these guys know how to treat a hungry reviewer!

With my knowledge of quick lunchtime options in Soho limited, I can see Top Dog becoming an excuse to keep that knowledge scant. I’ll be back, most definitely. Dragging friends to try a dog fix of every kind – although I doubt I’ll be running too far from that Chilli n’Cheddar.

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