‘Dickies Dog House’ lives inside the Hole in the Wall public house up on North Sherwood Street. If you get off the Tram by the corner house at the Royal Centre, skirt alongside the cornerhouse, keep walking straight on past the Orange Tree pub, it is a couple of minutes up the hill. Easy to find really. I have been pretty keen to head up here and try it out after I saw a write up in the Nottingham Post EG Food and Drink section. I am really missing my encased meat product or to make them sound tastier ‘hot dogs’ since leaving Chicago in December and was kind of getting a little too hopeful that this place would be able to satisfy my desires. I was also hopeful as that EG article was written by Erik Petersen who I believe is from the states so should be able to talk with some authority about this subject. I did kind of gloss over the bit of the article that said “It was more a British-style sausage than a strictly American hot dog” I guess that was probably over excitement or sheer desperation on my behalf. Never mind, that bit was true and casting all hopes of a Coney Island Dog or Chicago Dog to one side I did end up eating some really delicious sausages.
So what happened and what did we get? Perhaps I should tell you what we wanted and thought it would be as well, but then again that may make it all sound a little bit negative, but again though I don’t want to be all pandering and give you false hope. Perhaps we should just make a pact at this point to accept that if you have never been to the states and have no idea what a hot dog over there is really like you will not have the same thoughts that I was having.
So we went in at lunchtime and it was pretty much empty a table of about 5-6 waiting for food, a couple at the bar and us. We were to be told it would be 20 minutes, which was fine I was hoping that would mean that my hot dog was going to be cooked properly. I had a pint in front of me, I had a dodgy head full of cold and I really needed that hot dog so we were quite chilled out about it.
So while we had been waiting we had got quite excited with what we might get. I was going to have the Chorizo sausage with the Mac and Cheese topping, the sausage described on the menu as being ‘home made, smoked, with paprika, garlic, cumin, oregano and ground pepper’ the topping described as ‘mac and cheese, parsley and breadcrumbs’ Now before I continue you have to know that I TOTALLY love Mac and Cheese, and I love a Chorizo sausage. Sadly they had no Mac and Cheese left.
My companion on this lunchtime was my Mum (who had visited me in the States many times over the last 6 years and has eaten hot dogs all over the country from East to West Coast and Mid West) she was also quite excited about coming here was planning on getting the ‘Bratwurst – a traditional bratwurst sausage and prepared as the Swinehound, wrapped in bacon with cheese and crispy fried onions’ a really staple tradition in some of the Germanic neighbourhoods in Chicago like Lincoln Square where I had been living (sorry that is just me daydreaming again) <Sharp jolt>, Sadly though they had no Bratwurst left either.
So basically we had to re-think what we wanted, and we had been given that generous 20 minutes to think about it as well.
So in the end we ordered two sausages that we planned to cut in half and share. The first one to arrive was the Garlic Sausage which came with a cheese topping of cheddar and crumbled stilton. The garlic sausage was excellent, the bread was soft, the topping was a little lack lustre and was a little limited.
The second choice was a Chorizo sausage, we had this prepared as the Swinehound, “wrapped in bacon with cheese and crispy fried onions” again the sausage itself was excellent, but it was not bacon wrapped as expected, instead we got a small pile of English bacon piled in the middle of the bun, the onions were just soft fried ones, not crispy, and the cheese sauce? well that was more of a cheese smear located somewhere under the sausage in that small gap close to the bun.
I am really not sure if we got these quite as they were supposed to be cooked, all I will say is that the saving grace is those excellent sausages which come from JT Beedhams. It might be just a little bit unfair to say that these sausages are the star of the show and despite the attempts of the dog house to cover them up in some dodgy toppings they were still worth eating. My in- or unconsidered thoughts here are, ditch the themed toppings, just serve these sausages with some simple sides, maybe just some fried onions on top and you will have a winning formula.
I don’t think that this place matches in any way the successful contribution of Annies Burger Shack in bringing genuine US food to Nottingham, she is way out in front on that and if anyone wants to catch up they are going to really need to Bring it. Having said that if you want to get a tasty sausage in a Rock Pub then this may well be for you.
I know that now we have been introduced to those JT Beedhams sausages, and it is in the front of my mind to head over to 556 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG5 2FS to get some of those directly next time
Dickies Dog House is at 63 North Sherwood Street, the nearest tram stops are the ones at the Royal Centre and possibly you can walk across from the one at Nottingham Trent University. They have a facebook page which you can use to follow them at as well.
PS If you want to compare what I dream of then check out Frank and Dawgs in Chicago where they make their own sausages and man they are awesome!