Bubbledogs = Champagne + gourmet hotdogs. Despite the strangeness of the combination, Bubbledogs manages to make it work, at least as far as the food is concerned. I highly recommend the Buffalo Dog (get extra buffalo hot sauce) and the New Yorker as far as dogs go. Bubbles are expensive with the cheapest bottle running around £40 – if only it was BYO!
When I first heard of this, I, along with many others I imagine, had a bit of a “wtf?” moment. I like champagne, particularly grower champagnes, and I like a good hotdog but together it just seems a bit contrived. Just as I wouldn’t swill a bottle of Michel Loiriot from a paper cup (even at the small champagne shop in France that introduced me to it, they served it only in glass flutes), I would plonk myself down in Eleven Madison Park and ask them for something off the cart on the street corner (that being said, if Chef Humm wants to put that on the tasting menu, I’m all for it giving it a go).
First off, should I book?
Well it really depends on how many of you there are. The reservation policy is a bit unfortunate in that they only take bookings for groups of 6 or more – those that dine in a more cosy group have to wait in line. If you can book, definitely do so. If not, get there as close to opening time as you can!
On the particular day we had chosen to give Bubbledogs a go, we arrived around 12.30 and were told there would be an hour wait as they had a reservation for 22 people coming in. I’m not too fussed they take reservations for groups of 6 or more but this is taking the cake just a little when the entire restaurant would only be able to hit 30 covers at a push. At that point, shouldn’t you require they book out the whole place instead?
Meet up at the place itself as you’ll need to physically hold your space in line. Although they write down your name, they don’t take down a phone number or anything else which would enable them to call you. I don’t quite understand the rationale as Burger & Lobster manages to pull such things off with ease – and it lets you wait for your table in a comfortable pub/bar nearby.
The hostess will encourage you to pop down the street to Tesco and purchase some drinks to have while you wait but can’t serve you from the bar which is literally just a few feet away. On the plus side, although technically you can’t BYO, if you happen to be mid drink when you table is called they will let you bring them inside.
Okay we made it to a table, what to eat?
Honestly, pretty much every dog is good so go with what you like. For me, it was the Buffalo and the K-Dawg (topped with kimchi) that called out. I opted for one beef and one pork sausage but I would be hard pressed to tell you which one was which. Both were meaty and tasty but the toppings mostly overwhelmed the flavours. That being said, a hot dog to me should be something with a meaty base but really defined by the way its grilled and the choice of toppings – so no complaints at all on that front. The brioche rolls are also perfect and do a fair job of bearing up under the weight of the sauces.
You’re likely to hit a common problem when dining here, however: should I get one dog or two? You’ll see they float by to other tables, and it is the rare person who decides one solitary dog will be sufficient for a lunch (unless of course you plan on filling up that space with bubbles). However, be warned, two dogs will be enough to send you into a food coma. The perfect balance would be 3 dogs between two, but that’s supposing a level of self control I’ve never even thought about claiming.
Thinking of all those dogs making you thirsty?
Well, you’ve probably worked out that something bubbly is the way to go here. They’ve got an extensive list of grower champagnes and the staff are more than happy to offer recommendations. I appreciate that they at least seem knowledgeable about the various grapes and styles but at £40+ a bottle this isn’t the place for a truly boozy meal. Still, I guess that’s not unreasonable for champagne at a restaurant. They do have some beers on offer for £5-6/pint, and technically that has bubbles in it too, right?
Worth the money?
I’ve struggled with this but I think overall it would have to be a yes. The dogs are delicious and not badly priced at £7-8. I’d probably pass on the champagne – while tasty I’d much rather buy a bottle for £20-30 at Champagne + Fromage and have a picnic on Trafalgar Square again to get my bubbles fix. Plus, hot dogs are meant to go with staples such as whiskey or beer in my book. No matter how you dress it up, it’s a messy food and I want my drink to match.
Find BubbleDogs here
70 Charlotte St
London, W1T 4QG
020 7637 7770