Sunday 26 August 2012

Red Dog Saloon: The Bad, The Bad and The Ugly.

Red Dog Saloon is perched on the corner of Hoxton Square, but its faded faux western facade, and brightly lit interior feels out of place amongst the low lit counter culture bars that surround it.
I was out for a couple of drinks on a Monday night and happened to be around the corner from Red Dog Saloon. I'd heard some mixed reviews of the burgers so it was a great opportunity to give it a Burger Me! once over.


Bacon cheeseburger £8.50
Blue cheese and bacon cheeseburger £8.50
Fries £2.75
Onion rings £2.75


All the burgers came lid-on, plated with garnishes of coleslaw, a thick finger of pickle, beef tomato, and a leaf of romaine lettuce. This is a burger where ALL the salad is out of the burger, which seems to me a bit of a cop out, or maybe a way to make the plate the burger is served on look less empty.


The bacon cheeseburger was topped with a miserly attempt at a topping. This consisted several pieces of dry and curly streaky bacon plonked on top. The American cheese wasn't much better being barely melted onto the meat. 


A 6oz chuck patty apparently cooked medium rare is the core of this burger. It wasn't. In fact it's barely pink in the middle. It is seasoned, but the ground beef feels overworked and slightly sludgy.


Godawful. What could have been a dense squidgy bun on first glance turns out to be a dry, untoasted gag-fest. What moisture might have been left feels like it's been leached out by a combination of heat lamp and old age. The only redeeming factor was my pint of Camden Meantime IPA.


Fries were fine, actually not bad at all, but the onion rings were massively disappointing. The breadcrumb exterior is dry, like the bun, and almost cold with a slimy, half cooked thick ring of onion inside. Unappetising. Coupled with a thousand-island style sauce that had been out so long it had formed a firm skin. Almost unpalatable.

Overall rating: 4/10

This burger scores a dismal 4/10 - the sludgy meat, the offensively dry, untoasted bun and unsauced toppings being bad enough crimes in themselves - coupled with a complete lack of interest in making a half decent attempt at palatable food. I visited on a Monday night, around 8.30pm, and the place was packed, so I doubt this review will do much to deter the hordes. 

The most interesting thing about Red Dog Saloon is I've had fans of the blog beg me to add this joint to my list, and others tell me to avoid it like the plague. I've also had their chef in charge of their Twitter account respond to my disappointed comments from the evening letting me know 'something must have gone wrong'. It may well have done, but when a place divides opinion like this (50% of the time it works every time...) there's a consistency issue that needs sorting.


  1. Did you try the devastator? It's a bit obscene. But its the only reason I ever went there. Worth a try and from what I remember pretty tasty.

  2. David Paton27 August, 2012

    I can see why you didn't enjoy your burger. Over cooked and I agree with you on the salad being on the plate and not in the burger. But the time I tried it, it was really good. Burger wasn't over cooked like yours. And the smoky BBQ sauce with the pulled pork was amazing.

  3. That looks completely disgusting. The bun looks awful (how hard is it to toast a bun?), the cheese isn't even melted, the bacon serving is so stingy they shouldn't have bothered, and the meat looks awful. This is a burger ruined by either incompetence or contempt for the customer, or both (sadly, this combination is not uncommon when it comes to burgers in the UK, I've found).

  4. I've been there twice, but to be honest I've been to many places since, and now understand how poor this place is compared to Byron, Honest etc. I went to Tommi's in Marlebone the other day, really good quality meat and bun! But anyway, back to Red Dog, I found everything so salty the dehydration following was horrendous! Why an earth anyone would go there when Byron is opposite is beyond me.

  5. Nick Andrews29 August, 2012

    Didn't try it - it did look pretty special when I saw it coming out for others - perhaps the toppings for that were a little less mean!

  6. Nick Andrews29 August, 2012

    I always go for the Bacon Cheeseburger as standard, as I think it's a great bellwether for how the rest of the burgers are constructed. I'm also a big fan of pulled pork, so maybe next time...

  7. Nick Andrews29 August, 2012

    So much wrong, so many other great, consistently cooked burgers to try and eat...!

  8. This review is ridiculous. Particularly your comment, 'apparently cooked medium rare is the core of this burger. It wasn't. In fact it's barely pink in the middle.' I've never had a better burger than the Punisher. For a burger critic, how could you order a burger without the pulled pork? Are you mad? Salad in or out the burger...who cares, I'm the for the meat which is full of flavour and tastes very high in quality! All I can say to anyone reading is try the food for yourself and leave a review here after.

  9. Nick Andrews04 September, 2012

    Thanks for the feedback Nick. I think 'ridiculous' is a bit harsh. Disappointing perhaps...I was certainly disappointed. I've eaten a shit load of burgers, and in my experience, how a restaurant serves its bacon cheeseburger tells me nearly all I need to know about it.

    Like I said at the end of the review, this place polarises opinion, and you are very welcome to yours, but for my dollar it needs to be a shit load better.
    Keep up the useful and constructive criticism...

  10. If you're going to slate something, at least be consistent! In one breath he's saying the meat was "over-worked and sludgy" and in his overall score states that the meat was "dry". How can something be dry and sludgy at the same time!!

    1. Thanks for pointing that out Jonathan, that's lazy subbing. I'll have some strong words with my editor.

  11. This is total garbage! Red Dog Saloon has some of the best burgers I've ever had.

    You obviously didn't go to the correct place.

  12. These are two of the burgers I had there. They were awsome burgers.

  13. I've had the Devastator 3 times now...

    The first and 2nd times were amongst the best burgers I've ever had. The 3rd was cold and unpleasant. Similarly the ribs vary between juicy and delicious and dry nasty...

    I think it's not so much that the place polarises opinion but that the food is simply that variable.


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