Monday, 31 March 2014

Run Amuk Hotdogs Unleashed, South Fremantle, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

A free Saturday night with nothing planned called for Adventure Time! Alissa and I decided to make use of my free travel on the buses and head into Fremantle for the first time in what seemed like ages. In spite of living fairly close to the Port City, Alissa and I rarely head into Freo so it was a good opportunity to explore the city and suss out new openings or places we haven't visited before. After checking out the op shops and an having an expensive coffee and cake at The Raw Kitchen earlier in the afternoon, we decided to head down to South Fremantle for dinner at Run Amuk, a popular gourmet hot dog joint and south of the river outpost of the worldwide Dude Food trend. Remember that scene in that Simpsons episode where Leonard Nimoy says 'surprise me' when asked about what he wanted in his hot dog? This a place that does just that. 

The interior design is utterly Dude Food Cool, drawing wildly from extreme nostalgia-inducing iconography, ranging from '90s Transperth bus seats repurposed as diner booths, ...

...a wall of Matchbox cars glued to the wall as a sculptural mural, ...

... tables covered in pages from Where's Wally books and the inventive use of drum stools as table seating. 

Even the table number markers look like they were fished out of the memory of a 90's dude.

We decided to go with a hot dog each, as well as a side of their Fries with Spicy Cajun Aioli. The fries were very similar to the shoestring fries you can get at McDonald's or Hungry Jacks. These were good but I didn't really love them to be honest; they tasted very much like fairly standard, mass produced fries instead of, say, the very artisanal chips served at Typika in Claremont. Thankfully, the spicy cajun aoili helped up the ante, with its creaminess and heat really shining through and working well with the relatively blank canvas of the fries.

Being a chilli fiend but wanting to actually taste the hot dogs instead of setting fire to my tastebuds, I decided that the Rukus sounded like a good place for me to start - premium bratwurst, chilli and lime sambal, crispy prosciutto, spinach, aged cheddar, sour cream and jalapenos. The first thing I noticed was that the hot dog was seriously good quality bratwurst, tasting meaty, having decent fat content without being greasy (an important balancing act for sausages), lacking in obvious fillers and seasoned with just enough herbs and spices to be noticeable. The bun itself was also excellent, being lightly toasted but soft in texture overall. Even at this most basic level, comparing this hot dog to the cheap, low quality sausage and mass produced bun of the usual Bunnings impulse buy was seriously chalk and cheese. The additional unusual components all added to the flavour, with the chilli and lime sambal in particular having a delicious heat and acidic zing to it, and the crispy prosciutto making this the most upmarket bacon dog I've had. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical that these hot dogs would really be worth the hype, but I was very impressed with the thoughtful flavour combination. The only problem I had was the same structural flaw I see in gourmet and outrageously large burgers - they are so large its hard to actually have a good bite of them. I found I had to take two smaller bites to taste everything at once - one of the bottom of the bun to get the sausage and the sambal, and then another bite of the upper section to get everything from the cheese up. Given that so much thought seemed to have gone into the balance of flavours, it was a little disappointing that the balance could not be appreciated as immediately. This slightly lowered my enjoyment of the hot dog, but other than seriously shrinking the size of the hot dog (which would take away from the experience in other ways), I can't think of any particularly useful solution.

Alissa was craving Mexican food, so the Mischief proved the perfect compromise, being an ultra Dude Food combination of premium bratwurst with the Mexican flavours of freshly made guacamole, tomato relish, aged cheddar, baby spinach, tortilla chips, jalapenos and sour cream. The high quality bun and bratwurst combination was the same as the Rukus, as were a lot of the other ingredients. The use of tomato relish, guacamole and tortilla chips made all the difference in conjuring up a completely different Mexican Fusion taste experience that was as delicious as my order. As with my hot dog, the structural problems of being too big for a single mouthful was something Alissa pointed out - in fact, independently of my own thoughts on the matter. Then again, when was the last time you ate a whole hard taco that didn't end in a mess of corn chip shards and a pile of fallen fillings? Never, that's when!

The Verdict: Very Good
Though this would be considered a fairly cheap it, at $30 for the two hot dogs, fries and dipping sauce, this was probably the most expensive hot dog I've ever had. But with the use of quality produce and the carefully considered flavour options it was also one of the best and certainly most innovative; Alissa felt it way better than the hot dogs of Snags and Sons. For a place that is so utterly Dude Foody, it was also impressive to see they were vegan and coeliac friendly, with gluten free rolls and vegan sausage options available. There is that problem of not being able to take a single bite to taste the whole thing, but the positives vastly outweigh the negative. With so many other interesting hot dog options, homemade lemonade and a very American-sounding ice cream dessert to try I can definitely see us coming back for another round. 

Run Amuk Hotdogs Unleashed on Urbanspoon

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