A couple of weeks ago I was invited to head down to the newly opened Dog Bowl for some food and a game of bowling. I hadn't been bowling since I was about 14 so I was pretty flippin' excited to say the least. Unfortunately that excitement waned when, mid-game, it became apparent just how horrific I was at it. It didn't really help that The Soldier turned out to be really rather good. Competitive is my middle name and there may have been a slight huff when I was roundly trounced. Believe me, you don't ever want to play a board game with me. Still, it was fun. Really fun. And I LOVED the shoes. I'd wear those bad boys out, given half a chance.
So, what was the food like? Well, I've actually hesitated to write this post as I really don't like to be critical of places, particularly when I'm not even paying, BUT, it just wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. Certain aspects of the meal were great (the fries, the cocktails, the onion rings) but other things unfortunately overshadowed them. For a start, my food was lukewarm when it arrived, which is always unfortunate. I went for the Wing Burger (£8) and, whilst I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, I wasn't expecting only 2 small boneless chicken wings, a LOT of tomato and a massive (slightly stale) bun. The ratio of chicken to everything else was completely off and I ended up leaving the majority of the bun and the salad. The chicken wings were lovely but, at £8, this did feel massively overpriced. Plus, from the menu description, I'd been kind of hoping for lashings of buffalo sauce and some crumbled blue cheese, but these didn't appear. Instead the blue cheese and hot sauce had seemingly been combined into one sauce, which didn't really taste strongly of either.
The Soldier went for the The DB Burger, as there had been such a good write up of it on Manchester Confidential. The burger looked impressive when it arrived, speared by a steak knife, but unfortunately there was no sign of the "sauce and juices that pour from this delight" and, aside from the pulled pork, it was rather... dry. Again, the sweet potato fries were great though. In fact, I think they might be the best sweet potato fries I've ever had. Crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and very moreish. Again, we did feel that the burger was slightly overpriced. If I'm going to pay £15 for a burger then I want it to be the best burger I've ever eaten and unfortunately this wasn't.
Having read other reviews of Dog Bowl, I do wonder whether we just had the misfortune of ordering badly. But, at the prices being charged, it shouldn't really be possible to order badly.
The interior of Dog Bowl is really nicely done. The decor and lighting are great and the bar area is very smart. The little touches are also really nice, including the salt and pepper shakers in the form of tiny little bowling pins. We would go back to Dog Bowl but I think we'd concentrate on the bowling, cocktails and other areas of the menu, as there are far better (and cheaper) burgers to be had in Manchester.
The DB Burger, sans onion ring topper
The Wing Burger
Disclosure: Soldier boy and I were guests of Dog Bowl, as organised by Manchester Confidential