Tag Archives: cocktails

Fancy a hot dog ‘n cocktail in Kensington? Try Dirty Bones

Kensington High Street is one of my favourite places in the world, but it’s fair to say there’s a serious dearth of trendy bars. Piano Bar and Sopranos are bags of fun but about as trendy as my grandma’s knitted sweaters, while Roof Gardens is only really worth going to at the height of summer, i.e. twice a year and you sure as hell better know a member if you don’t want to queue for 2 hours.

So you can imagine my joy when leaving my pilates class on Kensington Church Street and spotting a cool new burger joint just a few doors up from My Old Dutch. A hot dog stand during the day, Dirty Bones opens up to become a bar/restaurant in the evenings. My friends and I were given a quick tour, oohing and aahing and vowed to return asap. Fast-forward to Saturday, and my friend Kika and I were all dressed up for our first time at Dirty Bones.

A simple Esprit silk geometric dress from Asos and Steve Madden booties from Shopbop.

Esprit silk geometric print dressSteve Madden Marshha Pointy Toe Booties

Dirty Bones has only just opened so I was expecting a few teething problems, but getting inside was more of a mission than it needed to be. I was expressly told by phone and email that you can only book for parties of 6 or more, but when we turned up at 8:30pm they said this wasn’t true at all and we should have booked in advance. The proposed wait time was an hour but when I casually mentioned I was a blogger they suddenly found space for us 😉

The stairs leading down to the main area is somewhat reminiscent of Tonteria on Sloane Square, you feel like you’re about to enter a den of iniquity.

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The bar has that intimate feel, where you feel like you can chuck off your coat and get down to the serious business of drinking which took us no time at all. I played it safe with a Top Dog (Finlandia vodka, fresh strawberry Chambord and lemon, Jaio prosecco) while Kika opted for the more adventurous 101 Dalmations (Baileys chocolate, Finlandia vodka, Disaronno, cream, chocolate chip ice cream). Mine was refreshing and perfectly balanced, while Kika’s was dangerously moreish after just one sip. The drinks menu has some weird and wonderful creations (Mutt’s Nuts, anyone?), making a welcome change from the usual cocktail list of mojitos, espresso martinis, cosmopolitans blah blah blah.

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We spent most of the evening exchanging gossip, but I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of good looking men. The crowd was a bit cliquey but I’m sure if we’d stuck around in the bar for longer we would have made some new friends 😉 Soon however, our thoughts turned to hot dogs, and it was time to head to the seated area. I ordered a delicious-sounding Classic Yankee (spring onions, sauerkraut, Frenchies mustard & ketchup) while Kika went for the Brit Dog (Treacle bacon, mature beer cheddar, curried gherkins & English mustard).

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But when our plates arrived, my heart sank. The portions were TINY, I mean literally a child’s portion. My 18-month old nephew could have easily polished off my hot dog, it was that small. It tasted pretty yummy but there was not enough dressing and the meat had a weird, plasticky outer texture. Once you bit through that, it was delicious though. I finished my hot dog in about five minutes, and I’m a slow eater! Our triple cooked fries came in the tiniest little pot, the portion should have been at least twice as big. Dessert exceeded my expectations though, I didn’t expect much from a coffee & doughnut but the coffee was actually ice cream & I wolfed the doughnut down in no time.

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Dirty Bones is definitely worth a second visit, perhaps for a date night or with a group of close friends. I’m glad Ken High Street finally has a trendy new hang-out, but it’s missing something and here’s the thing. When you go to Tonteria, you know it’s Mexican before you’ve even made it to the bar. When you go to Byron, you know it’s all about hamburgers and milkshakes. When you go to Nando’s, you know it’s all about chicken. But even though Dirty Bones is all about hot dogs, the food was actually a bit disappointing. I can’t see myself coming back here for hot dogs even though it’s supposedly the unique selling point, making this just another cool bar. That’s perfectly fine and who doesn’t love a decent bar, but I think Dirty Bones would be so much stronger if it also made awesome hot dogs.

Last but not least, the loos. Nothing does my head in more than rubbish toilets at a decent establishment (take note, Ruski’s!). Clean, plenty of loo roll and no annoying lady trying to shove lollipops at you. Oh and the coolest hand dryer I’ve seen outside of Switzerland.

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Service was good but I suspect our friendly waitress Kris needs a bit more practice. Kika ordered her hot dog with no bacon but it came covered in the stuff, she was also told there were no hot drinks but a cursory look at the menu showed there was coffee and our dessert wasn’t added to the bill (okay I’m not complaining about that!).

Bill for two

Top Dog  – £9

101 Dalmations – £9

Classic Yankee – £6.50

Brit Dog – £7.50

Triple Cooked Fries – £3

Coffee & Doughnut – £5

Service (restaurant only): 12.5%

Total: £47.73

Opening hours: Tues – Sat (12 – 3pm) for hot dog stand & 6 – 12:30pm for the restaurant/bar

Verdict: 3.5 / 5 stars. Definitely worth a return visit for drinks.

Would you date someone who has killed another human being?

I’m all for new experiences in this crazy city and, believe me, I’ve had my fair share, but nothing could prepare for me last night’s dating experience. I met a cute guy at an event in the City a few weeks ago to celebrate the Hindu holiday, Diwali. Neither of us celebrate Diwali as we both adhere to the Abrahamic faith, but pretty soon we bonded over Hindu traditional dancing and our complex ancestry (I get asked every day where I’m from and it’s a long story that spans several continents and religious/ethnic conflicts, but this guy’s story was even longer than mine!).

Fast-forward to last night and we meet again for a date in Heron Tower. The cocktails (skinny rose martinis) and conversation are flowing, he’s saying the right things and putting me at ease. I instigated a cheeky conversation about bad stuff we’d got up to in our past, at which point he tells me he’s done “bad things” and I jokingly reply: “C’mon, nothing can be that bad. It’s not like you killed someone!”

Cue the longest, most awkward silence EVER on a first date. It took a few moments of silence before I realised with a sick, heavy feeling that he wasn’t joking. It turns out that before he moved to the City he was a Special Forces sniper in Iraq and one day, under siege, fired a deadly shot at an Iraqi soldier. The fact that he was under siege should make it justifiable, right? All is fair in love and war, no? Except the Iraq war was never properly justified and this guy wasn’t conscripted into the army, rather he made an active choice to sign up and engage in mortal combat.

He said that, in his defence, he was young and pumped full of diazepam (apparently it relaxes snipers’ muscles and breathing to improve firing accuracy). He said he didn’t have any remorse whatsoever, and has completely blocked it out of his mind. Aside from the occasional nightmare, he insisted it hadn’t affected him at all.

The irony is that yesterday was Remembrance Day, a day to remember the soldiers who liberated Europe from the Nazis and to whom we owe our livelihoods. I wouldn’t exist were it not for their heroic actions, and my mother taught me that my most important possession is my British passport so that if I ever face persecution as my ancestors did and have to escape, I can. I vividly remember as a little girl reading Anne Frank’s diary and not being able to finish it. I knew she was going to die, and I remember crying so hard and being so overwhelmed with grief that I couldn’t carry on reading.

So I have the utmost respect for anyone that risks their life to defend their country and its people. I understand that this guy was just doing his job and protecting his fellow soldier, but by the end of the date I also knew I never wanted to see him again. It didn’t matter how charming, sweet and friendly he was or even whether his actions were justified – he had killed a man. I’m sure there are women out there who would be OK with it, but I’ve never met someone who has killed another human being and I never want to again.

Peace out x

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