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8 April 2013

From the Sublime to the Hot Dog

Since Bubbledogs opened last year, it has been on my list of restaurants to check out. When my brother went last year, though, he had to queue for hours in the cold before they got in, so I decided to wait for warmer climes and for the hype to die down a little. But it was number one on Dr E's list of London restaurants to visit, and she had the advantage of not being at work on Friday and so was able to nab us a place near the front of the queue: by the time I arrived, just before six, they others were already at our table. It also helped that Friday afternoon was quite sunny, of course.

The Bubbledogs queue at 5.45.

Conceptually, Bubbledogs is simple: you pick a hot dog from the list of 13, and you pick a glass or a bottle of Champagne to accompany it. The hot dogs aren't especially filling, so most people order two, apparently, but although my friends managed a second, I was full after my first dog. I picked the Fourth of July, which involves a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with smokey BBQ sauce and coleslaw. You can choose a pork, beef or veggie hot dog, but I went for the pork option. The hot dog itself was nice enough (it is just a hot dog, after all), although I couldn't really taste the BBQ sauce and there was a lot of coleslaw. I like coleslaw, but I also like to be able to taste what I'm eating. Most of the others ordered the same and then went for the Buffalo Dog: a deep-fried hot dog with spicy buffalo sauce, blue cheese, pickled celery and celery seeds. The general consensus was that the Fourth of July was better. If I go back, I'll probably try out the José, with salsa, avo, sour cream and jalapeño peppers. The sides were very good: both the sweet potato fries and the tater tots were tasty (unsurprisingly, we didn't order in more coleslaw).

Bubbles: check. Dogs: check.

As for the bubbles, the Champagne menu is organised thematically, which is quite fun. Dr E was in charge of bubbly, and I believe we had a bottle of the Bérêche et Fils from the "fresh fruit bowl" list and a bottle from the "flowers and fields" list. They were both very good, although I'm hardly a connoisseur. I think both bottles were in the £40–50 range.

Inside Bubbledogs.

Of course the cool part is the quirky juxtaposition of the posh bubbly and its culinary opposite, the lowly hot dog. Dante would definitely have approved of this seamless mixing of highbrow and lowbrow. Still, Bubbledogs isn't cheap and it's not necessarily the kind of place you would go back to often. Our tab came in at nearly £200 for four people, including two bottles, seven hot dogs and two sides. For the same amount, you could get a really great meal with a cocktail or carafe of Prosecco at many other London restaurants. It was a fun experience and perhaps I would have been more excited by the food if I had had to queue for it. But if you've got money to burn, though, and want a very of-the-moment London dining experience, do check it out!

Bubbledogs. 70 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 4QG (Tube: Goodge Street). Website. Twitter.

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