Bubbledogs enjoyed one of the hottest restaurant openings of recent times. It’s spent the last few months floating around the top of the ‘talk of the town’ ratings and has generated a phenomenal buzz. When I turned up on a Tuesday evening, the substantial (90 minute) queue was testament to their success – but is there any fire beneath all the smoke?
Bubbledogs is on Charlotte Street, near Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street. The restaurant is small, seating around 40 people. The decor is fun with sausage dog cartoons and a ‘warehouse crossed with a ski chalet’ feel.
Their concept is very simple – gourmet hot dogs and unusual, small producer, champagne. Hot dogs are available in a range of styles, and in beef or pork. There are only three sides and no desserts. Five or six champagnes are available by the glass and many more by the bottle.
I sampled the Buffalo Dog and the Fourth of July. The bun is wonderfully soft and the sausage nicely spiced if rather thin – I’d have preferred a bit more meat! The toppings were generous and really tasty, the flavour combinations working well with some great textural contrast. I particularly liked the blue cheese – it’s great with the sausage and something I fully intend to borrow. The sweet potato fries were delicious with a really nice crunch. I wasn’t impressed with the Potato Tots – they were just a bit bland.
The champagne was the real star. I sampled four glasses, all delicious and very different. They ranged from light and fruity to rich and mineraly. In terms of how they work with the hot dogs, I liked it from a ‘child’s fizzy drink’ perspective, it felt like a grown up take on lemonade at a barbecue. Given the level of spice in the food I’m not sure it gives the subtle flavours of the fizz a chance to shine, but it’s a really fun match nonetheless.
The service was faultless. The hostess on the door was great while we were queueing. Later on, inside, she recognised us as people who’d been waiting a while and took the time to talk to us.
I had a really great time – I’m not sure how long the concept will last, but I like restaurants that focus on one thing and do it well. They’ll face some real challenge when Five Guys finally open in London, but for now they’re pretty unique. I’d like to see more sides, more dips and bigger sausages. They are also very very busy – more locations would help ease the pressure and make getting a table easier. But if you can get there at at time when there isn’t a queue? It’s the perfect ‘fast food’.