Bubbledogs&

Bubbledogs& has been one of the most anticipated London restaurant openings this year. Husband and wife team Sandia Chang (front of house) and James Knappett (head chef) have opened this rather unique restaurant on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia that specialises in grower champagnes and gourmet hot dogs (we’ll come back to that combination later). The pair have worked in some of the best restaurants in the world – so know a thing or two about food and drink.

The & of Bubbledogs& isn’t a typo, it refers to what lies behind a thick black curtain at the back of the restaurant – The Kitchen Table (opening in October). Seating just nineteen people it’s an intimate but beautiful space where diners will watch the food prepared and cooked before their very eyes (there’ll be no hot dogs here only fine dining tasting menus). It will aim to be the perfect interactive dining experience and it looks stunning too.

We arrived at 5:45 (on their third ever day of service) and a table for two wasn’t available until 7:30. Upon our return, we overheard the waitress say they weren’t taking anymore bookings for that evening – it was that busy! However, they are taking reservations for parties of 6+ so find yourself some friends and go as a group – it’s your best bet.

Grower champagnes are the sort that (if you’re the everyman like me) you will have never heard of and are made by farmers who tend to their own vines. As always, when my gentleman companion and I are confronted with a champagne list, we went for the cheapest (aren’t we awful!). My Benoit Lahaye Rose (£11.50 a glass) and my gentleman companion’s Gaston Chiquet (£6.50 a glass) were both light, crisp and full of bubbles (funny that).

The decor was the usual – exposed brick, wood panel walls and low hanging lights (a little like Burger and Lobster) and the atmosphere was extremely loud and buzzy. The toilet walls were quite a highlight – covered from floor to ceiling in restaurant menus that James had collected over the years.

Now let’s get down to business – the hot dogs. You choose between a pork, beef or veggie sausage and then you choose a flavour. All hot dogs are served in a plastic basket. I ordered a Breakie with fried egg, tomato relish and black pudding bits (£7.50). It was delicious – the rich crumbly black pudding, the gooey yolk and the greasy sausage was a fry up in a hot dog bun. Yum.

My gentleman companion ordered the BLT – bacon wrapped with caramelised lettuce and truffle mayo (£8). We weren’t aware of the presence of bacon here but apparently the sausage IS tightly wrapped with it (we couldn’t tell). That aside, the earthy truffle mayo generously squirted over the sausage with the refreshing lettuce was a great combination.

We also ordered a side of tots (£3.50) which were reminiscent of the hash browns you get with a Burger King breakfast and were served in a cardboard box. Dipped in a side of ‘cheese whiz’ (£1) they tasted great. The cheese whiz was a liquid version of those square fake cheese slices that you put on burgers and was totally moreish.

The side of sweet potato fries (£3.50) was our favourite. Also served in a cardboard box, these were so good we ended up ordering another portion. Sweet and perfectly salty with a crunchy outside – I could have munched on these all night.

At this point we decided to order one more hot dog – partly because they tasted so good and partly because we were still hungry. The buffalo dog – deep fried hot dog with spicy buffalo sauce, blue cheese, pickled celery and celery seeds (£7.50) was intriguing. The strong blue cheese with the spicy sausage was an unusual but enjoyable pairing.

Sipping refreshing, bubbly and slightly bitter champagne whilst eating the greasy and slightly spicy hot dogs was a combination that we both enjoyed – however unlikely it may sound. The concept worked – champagne and hot dogs compliment each other rather well.

We had a really enjoyable evening at Bubbledogs&. The staff were all extremely friendly and very well informed on their chosen subjects. If you go you’re likely to order more than one hot dog as they’re not huge. We paid £59.85 for two glasses of good champagne, three gourmet hot dogs, two sweet potato fries, tots, a cheese whiz and a pot of truffle mayo. Good value? It’s not cheap for fast food, but it’s definitely worth it.

8/10

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