It's been a good 10 years since I lived in East Dulwich. Back in those dark days, it was still relatively affordable, with none of the high street chains cluttering Lordship Lane that you see now, and still grotty enough to keep out the families. Times they are definitely a changing. The regeneration over the last ten years has seen an influx of investment and East Dulwich is packed to the brim with cafes, boutiques and child friendly bars. On most days, you can't walk down the high street without unknowingly walking into the back of a pram.
North Cross Road was always a bit of a wasteland for me, bar a few highlights. Thai Corner cafe was a popular tiny Thai restaurant where we would treat ourselves when we were feeling rich in those cash strapped post-university days. Some of the shops sold a few interesting trinkets, and on Saturdays, there was a little market with a few stalls, mainly peddling second hand furniture. Not much to get you too excited.
Roll on this Saturday which is almost 10 years to the day that I have returned to North Cross road market (give or take) and what a transformation. The man with his second hand furniture and slightly creepy dolls is still there, but he has now been joined by a myriad of other stalls selling food and crafts. Smells of roasting pork, pulled Vietnamese pork, ready to be made into banh mi, and coffee from the mobile coffee van filter down the street. As tempting as they were, I ignore them all, I was here for one thing, a hot dog from the Dogfather.
Tipped off about the hot dog stall a couple of months ago, I thought nothing of it (see previous preconceptions of North Cross Rd Market). Cue not that long ago and Helen (aka Foodstories) took one for the team and verified it was worth trip, so yesterday, I took the plunge.
The Dogfather stand is basically one man and his dog (real). Here he peddles a variety of four speciality dogs (alongside more standard options), ranging from the slightly odd sounding Slum dog (a curry and hotdog in a bun) to the Mexican Elvis (which is covered in home made chilli and very messy). I opted for a Snoop Dog, which is a 100% kosher all beef dog, grilled onions, strips of bacon, corn mayo and BBQ sauce, sat on a few slices of cheese.
Chatting to Cooper as he prepared his dogs on his griddle, he expressed his passion for diner food. Having previously worked for a diner, he professed that the dogs were just one part of his repertoire and he yearned to have the opportunity to open up his own diner. Personally, I really enjoyed mine, and with a few tweaks, you would have a kick ass dog. North Cross rd market has come a long way in 10 years. I'll be back, and next time, I am bringing my appetite.
North Cross road Market - Open 6 days a week, but Saturday is where it's at. Northcross Road market is located off of Lordship Lane and Crystal Palace Road in East Duwich, SE22 9EV.
You can reach the Dogfather on twitter @dogfatherdiner