I felt pretty smug when walking past the long queue of people and straight into Bubbledogs on Tuesday night. I could feel their eyes burning holes in my back, but I didn’t care – I was in, warm and about to enjoy a glass of Champagne.
You may wonder how I did this. Well, the answer is simple – I booked. Oh yes, if you’re with a group of six or more, you can reserve a table at this hyped Champagne and hotdog bar. There is still some waiting involved (I booked over two months ago), but feeling like a celebrity going into an overcrowded club makes it all worthwhile.
Inside, Bubbledogs is rustically stylish, with bare brick walls, wooden tables, pictures of cartoon dogs and clever finishing touches, such as the empty Champagne boxes used as vessels for cutlery and sauces. A bar occupies one wall of the narrow room and downstairs there are unisex loos wallpapered with restaurant menus.
We were seated quickly and handed our menus by our cheery waiter. A £32 bottle of Prosecco came soon after, followed by a friendly warning that we’d need to be off our table by 8.30pm – just an hour and a half after we’d arrived. Feeling slightly disgruntled, but appreciating this was ‘fast food’, we placed our hot dog order.
I was in the company of Bistro Becs, who was equally keen to try as much as possible. So, we shared all three sides – tots, sweet potato fries and coleslaw – along with a Sloppy Joe and The Viking Dog (Tuesday’s special).
It was hard to pick from fourteen different hotdogs, but the choice of whether to have a pork, beef or veggie sausage was easy – pork all round. The Sloppy Joe topping was Bubbledogs chilli, cheese and onion, whereas The Viking came covered in cucumber relish, Swedish mustard, ketchup and onion.
It’s a shame The Viking has to leave as his crisp onions and sweet combination of sauces made him the victor in my eyes. As for the dogs, I’m afraid they weren’t that hot. In fact, they reminded me of jarred frankfurters – soft, spongy and lacking in any real flavour.
The perfectly cooked, non-greasy sweet potato fries stood out for me, especially when teamed with truffle mayo – delicious. The tots added nothing more than an extra pound around my waist and the coleslaw just tasted like…coleslaw.
Price-wise, the only thing driving up our bill was the Prosecco. The dogs were no more than £7.50 each and all three sides added up to just £9.50.
I love the concept, but I fear Bubbledogs may be more style than substance. That isn’t to say I wouldn’t go back if the queues disappeared, but if I did, I would focus on the experience, rather than the food itself. For that, I give Bubbledogs a LLE Rating of 6/10.
Bubbledogs, 70 Charlotte St London W1T 4QG
* Hot dog pics courtesy of Paul Winch-Furness Photography, interior pics courtesy of moi