Bubbledogs, 70 Charlotte Street, London W1

 

Here's the latest from the random restaurant concepts generator. Champagne and hot dogs. Simple, and, on the face of it, brilliant. Who doesn't like champagne – or hot dogs? OK, so you may not necessarily think of eating them together, but some clever people have gone to the trouble of launching a whole restaurant based on the combination, so it's got to work, right?

The name – Bubbledogs – is undeniably catchy. And judging by the buzz, these are the hottest dogs in town. A small queue was forming when we pitched up for lunch, in an increasingly foodie part of London's Fitzrovia still preening from the recent arrival of critics' darling Dabbous. I didn't love Dabbous, but it's impossible to get a table there until some time in the next century. Bubbledogs, by contrast, doesn't take bookings at all, as is the modern way – at least not for parties under six.

Which is why we found ourselves with our backs to a rather fab room, perching awkwardly at a tiny shelf overlooking the kitchen staircase – not a table as such, more a pelmet, about wide enough to hold a menu and a couple of glasses. Behind us, it was all post-industrial coolness – bare bricks and rough planking and reclaimed fittings. In front of us, there was a wall of framed dog cartoons and some waiters running up and down.

We immediately realised we'd made a category error. Bubbledogs isn't a restaurant, and it certainly isn't the place to come for a lingering lunch and a proper chat. It's a wine bar – or, more specifically, a champagne bar – with some rather nice hot dogs attached. The focal point of the intimate room is a splendid copper-topped bar, just visible through a wall of men in suits. Beers and cocktails are served, but the deal here is the 30-odd champagnes on offer, all from independent grower-producers, and good value compared to the grande marques.

I'd invited the writer/performer Emma Kennedy, in part to toast her unexpected – and at that stage top-secret – place on the medals podium of this year's Celebrity Masterchef. If ever there was an occasion for a glass of champagne, this was it. "I couldn't help overhearing that you're celebrating," murmured a voice at my shoulder. We froze. "It's her birthday…" I gasped. Any attempt to drag out of Emma whether she'd actually won gold was soon abandoned, in the face of a blast of waiterly attention so relentless it was like being caught in a leaf blower.

A menu consisting entirely of hot dogs doesn't require a great deal of deliberation. There are 13 varieties on offer, gussied up with on-trend toppings, and all available in pork, beef or veggie editions. Among the more appealing are the Buffalo (deep-fried and served with buffalo sauce), the New Yorker (sauerkraut and onions), and the K-Dawg, (red bean paste and kimchi). Others, such as the Trishna, provoke an involuntary shudder. Whoever looked at a hot dog and thought, "What this needs is some mango chutney"?

Our order arrived at fast-food speed, and in fast-food containers: a red plastic basket for the dogs, and cardboard trays for the sides – an affectation dubbed "chicken-in-the-basket chic", by my other guest, Emma Freud. Cutlery is plastic and so bendy it obliges you to use your fingers. Not easy in the case of the Sloppy Joe, freighted with a mess o'chilli, cheese and onions. We were thankful that the Masterchef cameras weren't on hand to capture the not-entirely-ladylike scenes that followed.

The sausages have an authentic burst and bite to them. But we found the fixings were too insistent to partner well with champagne. A side helping of tater tots – crunchy, hash-brownish potato barrels – proved a better match, but perhaps that's just because of the historic association of champagne and slightly underwhelming finger food.

We finally scored a table just as we'd finished eating – ie, about 30 minutes after arriving – and were obliged to order a second glass of champagne just to prolong things. Bubbledogs doesn't yet offer desserts or coffee. That will come next week, when phase two of the project is due to open, the 19-seat Chef's Table serving a multi-course tasting menu, from chef/patron James Knappett, who has cooked at some of the world's best restaurants, including Noma and Per Se. When that happens, this hybrid concept will be even more peculiar, truly a Frankenstein – or Frankfurter-stein – of a restaurant.

Still, the early adopters from the nearby ad agencies seem to have fallen hard for Bubbledogs. We spotted a suity man phone-snapping the label of his champagne bottle. Banker? Blogger? Or some new species, unique to Bubbledogs – blonker? If the sight of an empty champagne box being used to hold squeezy bottles of ketchup and mayo doesn't cause a storm-the-barricades red mist to descend, you may well like the place. I came away seething, with a garlicky aftertaste and a hefty dry-cleaning bill. And I still don't know who won Celebrity Masterchef.

Bubbledogs, 70 Charlotte Street, London W1 (020-7637 7770)

Hot dogs from £6-£8, champagne from £6 a glass to £99 a bottle

Food ***

Ambiance ***

Service ***

Tipping policy: 'Service charge is 12.5 per cent discretionary. All tips and service charge go to the staff'

Side orders: Hot to trot

Primo’s

Gourmet hotdog specialist in Leeds; the Classic Chicago is an all-beef frankfurter with onions, pickles, tomato, celery salt, yellow mustard and a dill pickle (£3.95). The Corn Exchange, Leeds (0113 345 8901)

Dirty Dogs

Popular pop-up serving delicious American-style dogs in the Manchester area – you can currently track them down at the Port Street Beer House. 39-41 Port Street, Manchester (0161 237 9949)

Delaunay

The wieners available at this all-day café in the grand European style include a beef frankfurter (£9.50), a bockwurst (£9.50) and a Nürnberger (£10.75). 55 Aldwych, London WC2 (020-7499 8558)

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker