Red Dog Saloon was rodeo-inspired. Skulls and framed cowboy things on the wall which seemed tacky chained restaurant decoration rather than kept it up with the rodeo spirit. That the Red Dog menu claimed to be original American barbecue was promising. A lot of burger variations. Beef ground fresh everyday according to the menu. Ribs were not on that evening but I was informed of 7-hour smoked chicken rubbed with special BBQ sauce. That would do.
Many of our dishes to share.. Buffalo Wings (£4.50), Loaded Potato Skins (£3.95), The Punisher Burger (£9) and Smoked Chicken (£12). The wings, labelled “Spicy”, were indeed lethally spicy. Four meaty pieces. One of us could stomach them; the other couldn’t (so I ended up eating four wings!). A lot of Tabasco in the coating. Came with creamy blue cheese sauce that was utterly salty and did not act to cool the wings. Together the heat could burn one’s lips and the saltiness could fail one’s kidney. While the kitchen did not fail to deliver “Spicy”, I felt the Front of House should voice concerns over how “spicy” these wings are. The Skins were in fact mini jacket potatoes. Not much “skins” going on but a lot of cubed bacons and cheddar cheese. Served with sour cream and chives. The most decent of our meal. The Punisher – a burger of 5oz beef patty, American cheese, pulled pork, honey glazed bacon, BBQ sauce – came with fries and slices of pickled gherkin. While the patty was not at all bad quality, it was bland. Everything in the bun was overwhelmed by uber honey. I’d say, sweetness only usually goes with pork – not beef. Generous helping of chips but the impact did not extend beyond the portion size. The chicken special was by no means special. Massive (as they served half a chicken per portion) but it did not fare better than a Nandos chicken. Moist meat but disgustingly rubbery skin. I couldn’t tell if it was smoked as there was no smoky smell oozing. The coating was a cross between sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. Sadly it only covered the skin which I discarded for the sake of my culinary sanity.
And I also had corn on the cob. Tasted as if it’s been tragically boiled and grilled to buggery. To my marvel, it did not arrive hot and the butter (which I had to ask for) did not melt..
Red Dog Saloon felt half-hearted and was not memorable. There were some glimmers of hope in ingredients (good chickens that died in vain to begin with). The menu showed promises that were yet to be seen delivered. The only good thing so far was the generous portion size and the relatively budget pricing. But, come on, I’d rather pay to chew on my Prada bag than feast on those chicken skins. Given their soft opening, I hope the restaurant will tweak their recipes to better the experience. As I said, there were promises!!! But, at present, it was TGI Friday-meet-whatever-Jamie-Oliver-wants-to-get-rid-of-in-the-US and fell short of delivering a meal as decent as Nandos.
NOTE: I checked Red Dog Saloon out during its soft opening, therefore the issues raised here might no longer be an issue and in fairness I highly encourage comparing my experience to some subsequent reviews here.
My head rating says, “5 out of 10″.
My heart rating says, “5 out of 10″.
RED DOG SALOON
37 Hoxton Square
Tel. 020 7739 8318