29 March 2014

Coffee Dog Day Afternoon

As part of the continued regeneration of King's Cross, the former eyesore in front of the station has been converted into a pleasant square on which a couple of circular kiosks have opened up recently. One of these is Coffee Dogs, which launched this week. I looked them up last year, tempted by their Shake Shack style and Shake Shack menu, including hot dogs, burgers, coffee and frozen custard "new to the UK from Coney Island, USA." Now, Shake Shack may beg to differ about the "new to the UK" claim, but I liked the idea of having such an eatery so close to my office.

I spotted on Twitter that Coffee Dogs was offering 10% off everything during their soft launch, so we went down at lunchtime yesterday to give them a try. There was a bit of a queue — in fact, some of my co-workers were just in front of us in line and not being all that patient given that this was Coffee Dogs' second day of business — and the ordering process wasn't too efficient. I was sympathetic, however: King's Cross is very busy at lunchtimes, and it just takes a few shifts to get everything running smoothly. This is why restaurants do soft launches.

We ordered a couple of British bull dog hot dogs (Cumberland pork sausage with fried onions and mustard), and some garlic fries, a vanilla milkshake and a dessert to share. Our food arrived pretty promptly and we made a beeline for a bench in the station square. The hot dog was really good — sometimes hot dogs can have a very synthetic texture, but these were  really meaty and sausagey. The bun was a little bland, but no one really orders a hot dog for the bun, and the poppy seeds were a nice touch. The fries had a nice garlicky flavour but, in an ideal world, would have been slightly crispier. The milkshake was a little more disappointing: the texture was right but the flavour was a bit weak.

I had wanted to get a frozen custard — the King's Cross, with chocolate and vanilla frozen custard, Oreos, cookie dough, pecan nuts and toffee sauce sounded amazing — but I was worried it have melted by the time I was ready for pudding and I couldn't face queuing twice. However, the doughnuts (courtesy of Dum Dums) had already caught my eye and I decided it was high time that I finally tried a cronut. The oh-so-stripy zebra cronut was very tasty: the dark and white chocolate topping making a nice sweet contrast with the croissanty layers. Next time, I'm definitely trying the white chocolate and pistachio doughnut.

I didn't need any coffee today and a soft launch probably isn't the best time for a coffee snob to test out a macchiato, but Coffee Dogs' "art of good coffee" infographic bodes well.

Our little fast-food feast set us back about £14 (including the 10% discount). Not super-cheap, but not too expensive either. I am interested in finding out how good the burgers are because I'm not really a huge hot-dog fan and I'm always looking for new burger options in King's Cross. Hopefully, with a few more days' practice the kinks in the service will be ironed out and my minor quibbles with the fries and shakes will be fixed. The soft-launch period runs until Sunday 30 March.

Coffee Dogs. King's Cross Station Square, London, N1C 4AP (Tube: King's Cross). Website. Twitter.

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