Number 1 Leonard Place in Victoria Park is not just a house on a street, or a venue in a food precinct. It’s a concept; the breeding ground for creativity and emerging food ventures. I actually really love that this building houses a variety of burgeoning businesses, taking those first few terrifying steps into the culinary world. And as a consumer, I think it’s exciting to see them at the ground level while they test and trial what will eventually determine their make or break moments.
A newcomer to the Leonard Place site is Wonder Dawg & Co, dedicated to all things hot dog. Currently open Saturday to Monday 5.30pm to 9.30pm and Monday lunches 11.30am to 2.30pm, they have a simple but funky menu that offers fusion hot dogs with German bratwurst style sausages, and freshly baked buns.
After a lovely invitation from owner Ika to visit Wonder Dawg & Co, Jeremy and I organised to head down on a Monday night – after all, it’s such a treat not to have to cook on the first day of the working week (in my case, but for my boy it was the night coming off shift).
We sat outside to enjoy the cool air – you could definitely feel that Autumn has arrived. But nonetheless a cold drink was in order when we spied some of their interesting house concoctions.
For his drink my boy chose the PomChee ($3.50) – pomegranate, lychee and soda, whereas I had the BerryChee ($3.50) – strawberry, lychee, mint and soda. Sweet but not overly so, these were bubbly, refreshing and just all round delightful.
To start things off we tried the corn dogs ($3.50 each) which I was pretty excited to munch away on. Corn dogs are very much a nostalgia trigger point from my childhood, a reminder of when I was young and visiting family in Taiwan where my grandparents would take me out for corn dogs from the American style diner.
Wonder Dawg’s version had just the right amount of batter around the sausage, which held a nice meaty well seasoned flavour and good snap to it when biting down. The batter wasn’t as sweet as other corn dogs I’ve tried, though the batter was a little bit more mealy. I actually didn’t mind this though, I thought it demonstrated the use of the polenta in the mixture. With the squeeze of tomato sauce and mustard over the top, it went down a bite size (or three) treat.
The fries ($3.50) with nacho cheese dipping sauce ($1.00) were another strong accompaniment. The fries were steaming hot with a good combination of the softer potato chips and the crispy salty ones (my personal preference).
Choosing which dipping sauce to enjoy was a hard task so we asked Ika for a recommendation who told us she loved the nacho cheese which was housemade. It was a great choice, cheesy but not overpowering – it was a mild flavour which ensured it didn’t become sickening.
When the main affair started (our fusion dogs), we were both really excited by the generous servings and interesting flavour combinations. My boy was drawn in by the two chilli warning of the Korean bi bim dawg ($11.90). It came out to the table spilling out of the bun in a way reminiscent to Run Amuk with a smoked chilli cheese sausage topped with namul (Korean seasoned vegetable), kimchi, sesame seeds and WD gochujang mayo.
It delivered in the spice department, with a nice kick of chilli and though we both worried that the kimchi would overpower the other ingredients, but there was just the right amount. It was punchy and tart, but at all times showed the good quality of the sausage and bun which are the integral parts of any hot dog. Ika told us that they’ve recently changed their buns from a softer version which I think was a smart move – I liked that the ones we tried were soft and fluffy on the inside, and slightly crusty on the outside.
I opted for Wonder Dawg’s most popular premium hot dog, the mexidawg ($11.90) which is a one chilli rating. Inside another fresh bun was a smoked chilli sausage with salsa, guacamole and WD nacho cheese poured generously on top.
It definitely looked the part, with the punchy tomato, corn and coriander salsa spilling out onto the plate. I could taste the chilli in the sausage as I bit down, and enjoyed the flavours. I did feel that the guacamole was lacking though, used more as a spread than a topping. I would have definitely loved more avocado on this as it was lost against the other ingredients and I was actively searching for it since it was in the description.
Well you can imagine we were feeling pretty carb loaded by that time, but somehow we managed to find room to try the red velvet martabak manis ($4.00). They normally only have their martabak on Saturday nights, so it was a real treat that they had some present for us on that evening.
This Indonesian snack is one that is perfect for dessert. It’s basically a thick pancake, with this version filled with oreo and condensed milk to create almost a layered cake. Fluffy, lighter than you would expect and not too sweet (which I did have my concerns as I often find condensed milk too much to handle). I really enjoyed this dessert, and it was the perfect size to share with my boy after eating so much hotdog goodness earlier!
Wonder Dawg & Co is a great new addition to the 1 Leonard Place household, and I think as they continue on their food journey testing their loaded dogs out on the people of Perth they’ll be appreciated for their innovative fusion take on an American classic. Best of all are the prices they charge, which really are much more affordable and aligned to their casual vibe. While we were invited on this occasion, I can see us going back in the future to try some of their other offerings as they continue to improve and grow along the way.
Note: Sadly since writing this post Wonder Dawg & Co have finished trading at Leonard Place in Vic Park! However you can still find them at events and farmer’s markets so check out their instagram and facebook for details.