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Restaurant Review: Dog Haus, Brighton

Dog Haus
10 Grand Parade, Brighton
Cuisine: British
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Norman Miller: As anyone who's been to either Denmark or Germany knows, a good sausage is a thing to savour, and Dog Haus sources its star turns from Germany.
 
“A loaded hot-dog dine-in by the sea” is how Dog Haus describes itself, and it's a nice contrast to the increasingly intense focus on burgers or BBQ when it comes to posher fast food offerings.
 
Dog Haus is a big space a stone's throw from Brighton's Palace Pier, with high ceilings and stretching back to a private area available to hire for parties in search of doggy seclusion. The feel is that of a DJ bar more than a diner, which makes sense as the host building – Patterns – is a DJ bar, with a club downstairs. Think drinking and dancing night out with food thrown in rather than a place you'd just come for dinner.  
 
But that's not any kind of put down. As anyone who's been to either Denmark or Germany knows, a good sausage is a thing to savour, and Dog Haus sources its star turns from Germany. The menu is short but snappily diverse - only six doggy mains but plenty of flavour contrasts. The sausages themselves are pleasingly firm and meaty rather than the flaccid things out of a can,  and Dog Haus earns brownie points for things like making its own ketchup in-house.  
 
Having only opened in late January, it's still early days but the Dog Haus's Sophie Duke tells me  early favourites among punters are the Acid Haus (classic pork dog paired with BBQ bourbon pulled pork) and Hot Mess (a beef chilli frank topped with medium heat beef chilli, jalapenos and sour cream) – both of which deliver the punchy flavours you'd expect. The meltingly soft pulled pork is particularly impressive, and complements the firm texture of the dog.  
 
For anyone after something a little more different, the Hound Dog beckons as an Elvis-inspired slice of crazy American flavour combos pairing a hot dog with creamy peanut butter and blueberry jam! “We spoke about trying some weird combos when we were doing tastings, and this was the best,“ swears Sophie in response to my slightly raised brow. “We're a quirky venue so it fits. And it really does work well. It's lush!”
 
Veggies aren't ignored, courtesy of The Hand Of Dog – a meat-free option pairing a vegan dog with pickled aubergines, green peppers, crispy smoked tofu and tangy chimichurri, with smoky metsovone cheese on the side.
 
Completing the doggy sextet is the Booze Hound (Brighton beer battered dog served with mushy peas and pickled red onion) plus Happy Days – a simple classic pork frank slathered in caramelised onions, which if I hadn't been on tasting duties would have been my option. I like things simple.
 
Credit too for the drinks. The two ales I tried on tap were good (King Beer Unity IPA and Southpaw Amber Ale), complemented by various bottled beers and half a dozen well-chosen wine options. There's also around a dozen cocktails on offer, very keenly priced from £6-8.
 
The lack of weekday lunch opening (Dog Haus opens at 4pm in the week) points to its target market - groups of locals looking for a post-work wind-down with no-fuss food, while the Saturday midday-very late brings in shoppers after a refuel and then the music-and-clubbing crowd. There's table football to add to the fun, plus what claims to be the world's first “robotic animation photobooth” which for £2 will shoot four little videos of you and your mates to upload to social media.
 
While some burger places claim a gourmet mantle, Dog Haus is having none of that. It knows what it wants to do and does it well.      
 
Norman dined as a guest of Dog Haus
 
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6 March 2016
By: Norman Miller
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