Bubbledogs, 70 Charlotte Street, London
Bubbledogs does champagne and hot dogs and has become one of London’s must-eat-at dining joints since it opened in August. It has a no-bookings policy (except for groups of six or more, apparently…) and has had tonnes of press – so as to be expected, its queues are loooong.
My friend Rebecca suggested Bubbledogs as the venue for a mini reunion between me, her, and our friend Jo (I had seen Jo earlier in the year, and Jo is Rebecca’s Best Woman at her wedding so they see each other all the time, but I hadn’t seen Rebecca, or Rebecca with Jo, in yonks, so it was a kind of reunion). Anyway, armed with the knowledge that the queues get hairy, we arranged to meet outside Bubbledogs at the respectable hour of 6 pm.
I got to the restaurant a little later than planned – but only like 7 minutes later than planned – and found J and R waiting at the head of what was already becoming quite the queue. “They wouldn’t let us go in until you arrived,” R and J said a little glumly. A bit odd, we agreed. Nevertheless, we bustled in excitedly where we were shown to a poky (intimate?) table at the back of the buzzing dining room – which is cool in an exposed brickwork, wooden benches, low lighting, London-meets-New York kind of way.
While squeezing into our seats our waitress told us, “You have to share your table, I’m afraid. With two journalists.” She didn’t say this in a huffy way, just in a way that implied we shouldn’t mind being crammed onto a tiny table with these two other people because they were journalists. Which naffed us off a bit (particularly as we’re all journalists).
Nevertheless, we got into the spirit of things, snatched the menu up and began dribbling at at the tasty selection of dogs on offer (we also swiftly put in an order for a bottle of Prosecco). The menu features 100% British pork, beef or veggie dogs with a variety of toppings, all priced between £6 and £8.
Jo’s beef ‘Sloppy Joe’ (ho ho) came smothered in beef chilli, onions, and cheese and was by all accounts very tasty. As was Rebecca’s Fourth Of July pork dog which came wrapped in bacon with smokey BBQ sauce and coleslaw. I had the Naked veggie dog – a tasty banger that reminded me much of meat (actually…), and came dressed in cheese and onions. Each dog comes nestled in an old-school fluffy white bun, served in a kitsch, red plastic tray, that reminded me of the ‘jelly bag’ I owned when I was nine.
We also ordered all three of the three side dishes on offer, which came in kitsch paper trays: we had sweet potato fries (“Mmmmmmm!” according to J and R), coleslaw and tots. The tots are utterly scrumptious deep-fried potato croquets: salty, super-crispy on the outside and super-fluffy on the inside. It was feel-good, new-school, old-school, fast food or something – and we enjoyed it. We enjoyed it, so we ordered all of the above again.We even forgot about the journalists with their long lenses snapping away at their food next to us, for a while.
Just as we were finishing our last mouthfuls of our second lot of dogs, pondering whether to order another bottle of Prosecco, a different waitress plonked our bill on the table. “Did you ask for it?” we all enquired of each other while simultaneously shaking our heads. “This table is reserved from 7.30,” said our waitress. Ah right. If it was booked it must have been booked by six people then. Perhaps six journalists. Even better.
So we packed up, paid up – the bill worked out at about £35 each which for a hot dog ain’t cheap – and we made our way out, past a slightly huffy girl reigning in a nightclub-style queue that stretched for half a mile down the road. This is a hot dog joint?
My friends and I continued our mini reunion in the Charlotte Street Hotel bar up the road – just as expensive but, we noted, we were made to feel quite welcome.
Bubbledogs: tasty enough, but I’d say its bite doesn’t quite live up to its bark.