It seems to be the fashion within restaurateurs’ ventures that novelties and making the menu simple with only a few options will suffice. Yeah, but only if the food is any good. There’s a reason novelties are what they are. Think Burger & Lobster, Dirty Burger etc, I’m not stating these are below average but I’m highlighting my point, because it’s a good point to make.
Last year was oldie world guinea fowl, ox cheek, pig trotter style food, before that the sushi phenomenon, earlier this year ‘small plates’ which made for awkward ‘no you have the last meatball’ and ‘let’s cut this croquette in half’ and having to compromise on what you really wanted because you had to accommodate all tastes for those present. In fact ‘small plates’ are only good if you are frequenting the place with someone who likes exactly the same food as you…but then you really might be fighting over that last meatball. And now, it seems to be ‘bad food done well’.
I digress. We arrived at bubbledogs on a rainy afternoon just before 5:30pm when it opens. If you’re there later than 5:15 you’ll be at the back of the line. We arrived just before that, so were first in the queue. Ironic that in England it’s fashionable to begin eating at around 5:45…seems a bit ridic if you ask me, earlybird special style, but I think the unfortunate point is, if you don’t get in in the first sitting you probably won’t eat until past 10pm, if at all.
The stupid non-reservations thing aside, we sat at a bar style sharing table on stools, the menu (1 per table) is already there. We didn’t opt for the bubbles this time but there was a lot to choose from. If you haven’t worked it out the novelty is Champagne and hot dogs.
We ordered a ’4th of July’ and a ‘Sloppy Joe’ with a side of sweet potato fries. The former was really delicious, frankfurter sausage, wrapped in bacon with smoky/spicy bbq sauce and coleslaw on top in a standard hot dog bun. The sauce was good, very tasty, as was the slaw. All in all a yummy hot dog. However…slightly beyond the pale of extortion at £7.50.
The ‘Sloppy Joe’ was a frankfurter sausage topped with a meat ragu and sprinkled with cheese in a hot dog bun. This was not great, the meat ragu tasted a bit cheap and flavourless and it just wasn’t appetising in the slightest.
The fries were brilliant, deelish in fact. Not crispy but nicely cut and salted just right.
The decor is nice, the lamps all look like bubbles and the lighting is dim and cosy (it did make photo taking pretty hard though). Waiters are dressed über smart which I suppose is the point. You expect Cordon Bleu and you are being served Le Hot Dog. Downstairs in and around the bathroom area the wallpaper was very innovative; menus from the biggest and most famous restaurants around adorned the walls including The Fat Duck and The Wolesely. It looked pretty cool.
Overall I think it was ok, but it’s a place that can really only be a one off, because you need to get your timing right and paying £7.50 for what is effectively New York dollar street meat, can’t be a taken seriously, unless you like folding up money and popping it in the bin. It’s a bit of fun, and that’s all really.
70 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 4QG
020 7637 7770