Fad or Future

Could hot dogs be made into foodie fare?

Katsu sando king Tou by Tata Eatery has released a gourmet version of this fastfood staple, but will consumers accept an upmarket version of this fairground favourite?

25 September 2019
fast foodmeatplant-basedrestaurants
image credit: Tou Instagram

First nuggets got a posh makeover courtesy of Burger & Lobster, and now another fast food favourite has been given the gourmet treatment.

One of London’s katsu sando pioneers, Tou by Tata Eatery, has brought a new dog to town.

Similar to their katsu sando, the Tou dog is made using Iberian pork neck, known as cabezada, that’s served in a thick brioche bun with butter, barbecue sauce, mayo and mustard. It’s then topped with raw onions, shredded cabbage and a good dusting of curry powder. One of these bad boys will set punters back £9.

It’s on the menu at Arcade Food Theatre, which features operators like Italian restaurant Lina Stores, Japanese-Peruvian fusion brand Chotto Matte, steak specialists Flat Iron and an incubation-focused mezzanine space where Tou sits.

Let’s be frank

Others have tried to turn the hot dog into more of a foodie feast. Last year, Harvey Nichols’ restaurant 109 Bar + Kitchen launched a menu that looked to transform the American favourite.

On the menu were options like The Under Dog, a beef sausage topped with shredded beef short rib, white cheese, romaine lettuce, tomato and smoked paprika aioli, while plant-based lovers could get their hands on the Veggie Dog with spinach, avocado, crispy onions and artichoke mayo.

Meat-free producers are also dipping their toes into the hot dog space. Back in May, Moving Mountains launched its version of a hot dog into Unity Dine. Priced at £12, it’s made with sunflower seeds for nutrition, onion for the right texture, while coconut oil is used to replicate the juiciness imbued by fat content. Carrot and paprika lend it the traditional colour.

Of course, the place that has found the most success is Bubbledogs from chef patron James Knappett, which combines hot dogs and champagne in its Fitrovia bar, plus a selection of hand-selected cheeses and caviar. It’s a random collection of food and drink that has worked for the concept.

There are seven dogs on the Bubbledogs menu with some high-end ingredients: the French Connection made with shaved foie gras, sherry vinegar jelly, Maldon sea salt and Telicherry black pepper; the BLT with maple and black pepper glazed bacon chips, gem lettuce and truffle mayo; and the Eastern Odyssey, consisting of spicy garlic mayo, pickled vegetables, peanut powder and coriander.

It also takes inspiration from classic sandwiches like the Reuben with a dog of sauerkraut, Russian dressing and melted Comté cheese.

So is Sparkie hot for these new dogs?


Sparkie says:

Hot dogs have never really been the most glamorous of foods, but attempts at making them something more might work, that’s for sure.

The thing with sausages is that it is one of those foods that almost every country in the world developed to be uniquely their own. In this time of authenticity, everyone is familiar with a sausage and it could well be the perfect medium to bring new cuisines to the table, but that’ll be less about the toppings and more about the sausage itself.

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