Salt Dog Slim’s
Seel Street, Liverpool
Review by Lawrence Saunders
Having never stepped foot in popular nightspot Salt Dog Slim’s the launch of its new American-inspired hotdog and cocktail menu presented me with as good an excuse as any to finally check it out.
After arriving at the Seel Street venue for our early evening date, my dining partner and I were shown to a cosy window booth and given the chance to study a menu which surely featured some of Liverpool’s most imaginatively titled items.
Before we ordered, our waitress placed a handful of multi-coloured markers on our table and in keeping with the dive bar vibe encouraged us to make our mark on the graffiti-ridden wall behind us.
As I wracked my brain for something remotely witty to write our waitress was back to take our orders.
She suggested kicking things off with a pair of cocktails and was particularly complementary about the Castro vs Vader (£7.50) – Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum, blue liquer, lime, sugar and coke.
I was sold and pleased to find my choice resembled the irresponsible older brother of the mixed slush drink you once might have sampled at the Hollywood Bowl. The taste wasn’t far off either, which was good news.
My partner went for a slightly classier option with the White Cove Daiquiri (£7.50) – rum, pomegranate syrup, egg white, lime and velvet falernum. As we’d just returned from a week in Italy, the summery beverage conjured up welcome recent memories of lazy afternoons spent on the beach.
Hot dog time and considering I’m a sucker for the American classic and it’s what Slim’s has become famous for, I was eager to get my hands on one.
Being partial to a gimmicky name my eyes were immediately drawn to Le Big Mac (£6.50) which came with white onion, lettuce, cheese slices, cheese sauce, Big Mac sauce, chopped pickle and meat crumb.
Presentation-wise the frank certainly looked the part but unfortunately the taste just wasn’t there.
It was a similar story with my partner’s oriental-inspired Lo Pan (£7), topped with Sui Mai, Char Sui sauce, chilli and spring onion. The Sui Mai were great but again the sausage itself had more in common with the children’s party tinned variety than it really should have.
Moving on and fans of the 2004 comedy ‘Anchorman’ would have appreciated my date’s next cocktail choice. Served in an authentic school milk carton, Milk Was a Bad Choice (£8.50) – vodka, amaretto, Patron XO Café, milk and cream – was a real treat.
After some extra assistance getting the carton open from the bar staff, my partner realised, unlike Ron Burgundy, she had in fact made the right choice and happily slurped away.
Save the best till last they say, and that was certainly the case here at Slim’s with my second cocktail, Hobo Punch (£7.50) – gin, Buckfast Tonic Wine and tropical flavours.
Served in a 50cl whisky bottle covered with a brown paper bag, this Um Bongo moonshine-like drink was a revelation and one I’ll definitely be heading back to try again.
The cocktails really were the stars of the show at Slim’s. When it came to the hot dogs I’m afraid it was more bar snack than ballpark favourite.
Don’t get me wrong; I would happily wolf down several of these wieners on a night out but as an early evening main course it didn’t get past first base.