MY love affair with hot dogs started when I was an exchange student in Denmark, Europe.
The streets were littered with small huts, where vendors sold a mind-boggling range of hotdogs like ristet (ketchup, mustard, remoulade, onions and pickled cucumbers) and fransk (hollowed baguette filled with mayo-based French dressing).
Since Denmark it’s been a bit of a sausage anti-climax, but my love affair was rekindled when I visited Wassup Dog in East Perth this week.
The cafe specialises in gourmet hotdogs, but also does breakfast dishes, some mains and a roaring trade in takeaway coffees.
The cafe had a lively, feel-good buzz with staff greeting customers by their first names and a steady stream of workers getting coffees to go.
The decor was colourful and funky, and a 1980s mix was blaring out the speakers with Toto, Simple Minds and Tina Turner in full flight. All that was missing was the big talking robot from Rocky IV.
After some deliberation I went for the Best hot dog ($10) which included lettuce, cheddar, aioli and onion.
Wassup make their own sausages on-site and what a difference it makes; there wasn’t a hint of gristle in my silky smooth banger, which had that fine texture you get from a quality butcher.
Everything was perfectly balanced in the hot dog, with the capsicum and corn sauté adding a lovely sweet refrain.
The post-modern temptation is to pile hot dogs with lots of frippery; turning the meal into a soggy, clumsy mess.
This dog was an exercise in tasteful restraint, and was nestled in a super fresh, lightly-toasted bun.
The hand-cut chips ($5 small) were another masterclass – they were perfectly cooked and sprinkled with coarse sea salt.
The moreish frites were reminiscent of something you would get in a good quality restaurant, and the accompanying Dijon-style mustard tasted homemade and had a lovely sweet tang.
The owner/chef of Wassup is French and is renowned for his sauces; many of which he makes in the cafe.
The chef asked if I wanted to try their chilli sauce (no charge), which had a strong punch of garlic and wasn’t too fiery for lunch. It tasted delicious, especially when added to the hand-cut chips.
Throughout the meal the service was super friendly and polite, with the man behind the till even calling me “Sir” (must be my salt and pepper hair).
To round things off I enjoyed a regular latte (4.50) which was smooth and inoffensive.
The owner of Wassup started out selling hotdogs from a stall in Kings Square in Fremantle, much like those Danish vendors all those years ago.
Since then he’s built up a reputation for superior hot dogs made from local fresh produce, with the sausages and many of the condiments made on-site.
He clearly deserves all the plaudits, and I’ll be back soon to try some of the brekkie dishes.
Wassup Dog Cafe
113 Royal Street, Perth
by STEPHEN POLLOCK