Ignore reports of massive queues down the street waiting to get into latest hot ticket Bubbledogs. Here timing is all. As with all of the latest no booking places, if you really must visit at peak times expect a bit of a wait, but do as we did and arrive at 1.30 on a Saturday lunch time or similar and your pretty much guaranteed no wait at all. Another plus though is that if you are in a party of six you can book a table. Still, having said all of that, this being a slick operation, turnover is pretty darn quick, After all this is not (yet) about multi course extravaganzas. Its hot dogs and bubbles essentially.
Cards on the table here, I am proud to admit to knowing the owners from previous visits to Roganic where Sandia Chang did a splendid job front of house. Her husband and highly respected chef James Knappett was introduced during one of our visits there, and yes they are wonderful people who are destined to make a big impact on the London dining scene. Both have impeccable backgrounds in the industry, and for their young age, worked in some of the worlds top eateries.
The no bookings policy means that you may have to share a table with someone that you don.t know, but thats no real problem. On our visit, fun was very much on the menu and everyone was in high spirits, so you never know, you may just strike up a lifelong friendship. The atmosphere is high tempo, busy, buzzy and its sometimes hard to hear the person next to you speak. Background music is good. I enjoyed a couple of tracks from The Cure.
The interior is small but perfectly formed with every inch of spare space taken up with dining option. Prize seats are at the bar or to the rear, right next to the as not yet open "chefs table", which is behind a black curtain. Bare brick walls, rough hewn floorboards on both floor and wall, low hanging globe lights set the scene. Oh and bar stools designed for those with plenty of meat on their bum.
The specially commissioned artwork is by Jose Reis De Matos who's work features in Stephane Reynaud's excellent books Pork and Sons and Ripailles.
The menus at this stage have far greater coverage given over to the grower champagnes than the food, but lets not forget that this is essentially a champagne bar which serves food. Wine is not my forte, but I guess with Sandia's experience the list covers pretty much everything that she wants. Headings include. "A lick of chalk and Stones". "Flowers and Fields". "Toasty and Nutty delights", etc, etc. The short but sweet food menu is a variation on a theme of hot dogs. Beefy ones, Porky ones or Veggie ones, in total an offering of thirteen, plus three side dishes. Not knowing what size they were, and guessing they would be generous English not humongous American size we ordered a couple of each, four different ones to compare.
Size wise and for us, two each was certainly enough. Splitting each one into two gave us four great tastes to try.
Sloppy Joe, (beef) with Bubbledogs chilli, cheese and chopped onions (£7.50)
Horny Dog, (beef) Bubbledogs corn breading with corny bits (£7)
Jose, (pork) with salsa, avocado, sour cream and pickled jalepenos. (£7.5)
Fourth of July, (pork) bacon wrapped with smoky BBQ sauce and coleslaw. (£7)
We tried the three side dishes too. The Tots (£3.5) Sweet potato fries (£3.5) and the Coleslaw (£2.5)
The standout was the sweet potato fries. Totally gorgeous, highly seasoned, great mouth feel, I should have begged for the recipe, excellent.
We tried a couple of glasses of champagne each which just so happened to go particularly well with the dogs. They do however serve a selection of other drinks and I was recommended to try a craft beer.
I guess some folks can't get to stoked up about hot dogs, but we absolutely loved them. There is something very satisfying in chomping down on a meat filled bun. Our favourite was the Sloppy Joe but the others were not far behind, just as you would expect from an superb craftsman like James Knappet. With thirteen dawgs to choose from there is sufficient excuse to revisit regularly to sample each and every one.
For its casual nature this is a very exciting new opening. Drop in for a glass of champagne. Have a sit at the bar and watch the world go by. Gobble a dawg or two its not going to break the bank. Its fun all the way here, happy smiley people are in abundance.
The hand picked staff are also good fun, and the wonderful Jack Settle is an essential part of the team having followed Sandia from Roganic to eventually head up the Chefs Table duo.
Of great importance to the more commited foodie is the Chefs Table. Thats where the serious action will be. We had a sneak preview of what is on offer an believe me you are in for a treat. Inspired by the Chefs table at New York's Brooklyn Fare, this amazing space seats just nineteen guests. I'm looking forward to parking my bum on one of the leather high level armchairs. Five chefs including James of course will cook for a maximum 29 diners per evening. Service starts at six through to nine. A seven thirty sitting, then one additional one. Can't wait.
So there you have. Loved the place to bits. Its a big recommend from us. Say hello to Sandia and James when you visit. They really are lovely people.