"It's been a while since I have been so excited about visiting a restaurant"
Bubbledogs officially opened last week, offering the unique combination of Champagne and hot dogs. The restaurant is the brain child of husband and wife team, James Knappett (head chef) and Sandia Chang (Restaurant Manager). This is a novel (and some would say risky) venture for the couple, who have previously been part of successful (and some would say more traditional) restaurants including The Ledbury, The Berkeley and Roganic.
Bubbledogs is a welcomed addition to Charlotte Street which is a hub of top end restaurants including ROKA, Gaucho and two star Michelin restaurant Pied a Tierre. Bubbledogs stands out from the rest, confidently serving a bizarre combination of food and drink that don’t usually sit prettily next to each other on your table.
But as a lover of bizarre combinations I have been eagerly awaiting Bubbledogs opening, enjoying the build up the days before I went. Surprisingly the queue was less of an ordeal than I anticipated. Arriving at 6pm I put our names down and was offered a slot at 7:15pm.
The restaurant is small and looks to house no more than 50 covers at a time. On arrival you are given an allotted time slot of about 2hrs which is plenty of time to soak up the bubbles and the restaurant buzz. The interior has been well designed to create that chic atmosphere. (see below)
There are so many talking points. Be it the champagne, quirky names for all 10 hot dogs, the wall paper in the toilets or the fact that Snoop Doggy Dog is playing in the background. It is great social venue and is more of a bar than restaurant. Everyone is sat on high top stools and there is a great atmosphere. The service is also excellent – you are made to feel like a VIP, and we were on first name terms with the maitre d’ within the first 5 minutes (his name is Jack – look out for him when you go)
For me the highlight of the night was the Champagne with the hotdogs actually playing a smaller part in my night. Jack took us through an education on Grower Champagnes helping us select our bottle from a small champagne house who specialise in natural/organic champagne and only pick their grapes in certain lunar cycles.
So, to the hotdogs. We scoffed 4, and i think I could have squeezed in a couple more. The hotdogs come with a number of toppings, our favourites being the “Jose” (Avocado, salsa and jalepenos) and the “Sloppy Joe” (Chilli and cheese). If you are feeling brave try the “horny dog”... i’ll leave the contents a surprise for when you visit.
Jack recommended what type of hotdog for each topping (pork or beef), which did give me the feeling that we were taking part in some sort of new taste sensation. However, if you strip away the grower champagne, the chic interior design and the hype around Bubbledogs, when it comes down to it you really are just eating a sausage in a bun... Of course, this could be the actual appeal of gastronomy to come, tapping into what we really want to eat instead of what we think we ought to. Are we actually just gourmet junk food fans? Do we prefer a bit of rough in the diamond of fine dining?
" So go for the experience, the chance to drink champagne, the conversations with Jack and an excuse to go somewhere a bit different. And of course, to sample gourmet junk! "