Having heard so many meat-free bloggers I know rate the place, I really wanted to love Not Dogs Bullring.
Offering vegan and vegetarian friendly hot dogs, burgers and rice pots, Not Dogs Bullring is a seemingly always busy little spot on the concourse linking the Bull Ring and Grand Central. Having wanted to try the hotdogs for a while (after seeing so many lovely images on Instagram) I arrived with optimism and a rumbling belly. Unfortunately I left with the latter too.
It’s bright and bold with plenty of tables and high chairs. The walls are adorned with the fast food available and photos of smiling staff. Open for lunch and early dinner, it seems really popular with students. The set up is akin to the likes of Five Guys: make your order at the counter and wait for your food to be handed over.
The food is fairly cheap considering the price tag vegan grub often has attached to it; I bought three items and only just hit £10. First up a Kickin Katie Nacho Dog (£4.75) arrived looking not remotely like the one staring out at me from the wall opposite.
The dog itself, whilst having a decent meat-like texture for something that’s never seen an animal, looked almost anaemic and uninviting. Thankfully it was covered in guacamole which gave it some life visually, but that then proved to be a bland disappointment.
The crushed nachos couldn’t possibly have equated to more than one triangle crisp, and the sparse grated cheese felt stale; perhaps it had been left out for too long. The bun was fluffy and held up well, but overall I found the dog as a whole quite underwhelming. Not awful, just dull enough that I didn’t even finish half of it.
The Waffle Fries (£2.75) are nice enough, although it’s hard be that critical about freezer-to-fryer potato products, as long as they’re both crispy and freshly cooked – which these were. The second side of Not Dogs Nuggets (£2.75) was surprisingly good – for chicken nuggets without the chicken. Firm texture, nice batter and a decent portion for less than three quid. Would I make a special return visit to get them? Doubtful.
The guy on front of house was polite enough but didn’t seem to have much enthusiasm for the food, based on overheard conversations with other customers. Also, I later found out that there’s a Two for Tuesdays offer on after 4pm every week but I wasn’t told or offered the second dog. Maybe you have to ask for it, maybe they could smell the chicken sandwich is had at lunchtime on me, I don’t know. But if your staff don’t know an offer is on I’m not sure how your customers are meant to.
I left feeling a bit disappointed, if I’m honest, not to mention hungry. The hot dog itself wasn’t worth the hype, although the sides are fine snacks for people on the go. Respect to those that like the food and I absolutely think plant-diet folk should have more places to enjoy, but I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to make a return visit. For now the guys at Fressh have got my vegan vote.
Are you a Not Dog fan? Should I give it a second chance? Let me know in the comments.
Not Dogs, LinkStreet, Upper West Mall, Bullring, Birmingham, B5 4BS
Disclosure: I paid in full. Photos, opinions and meh feelings are all mine.