Bubbledogs teams hot dogs with bubbly, tapping straight into the vein of the current trend for poshed-up junk food. And boy, have they gone to town, cladding the space in rustic reclaimed woods, exposing bricks, wallpapering the ceiling. They then installed stunning lighting, hired an attractive and amiable workforce, and sourced a laudable collection of lesser-known champagnes. There’s only one problem: they forgot to make the ‘gourmet’ hot dogs any good.
Choose your ‘dog’ – there’s pork, beef or veggie – then pick one of a dozen styles, from ‘naked’ (just a dog in a bun) to the more adventurous ‘Trishna’ (topped with mango chutney, mint and coriander). But the two we sampled were underwhelming.
Our Korean-inspired ‘K-Dawg’ came lined with a fiery but flavourless gochujang (red bean paste), a few pieces of baby gem lettuce and a scattering of kimchi (the Korean condiment of pickled cabbage). But this kimchi wasn’t particularly well fermented, and lacked depth. Our ‘Sloppy Joe’ fared no better, being topped with a too-sweet house chilli and a sprinkling of grated (but not melted) cheese. But most disappointing were the main ingredients. The soft finger buns were fine, but our pork hot dogs were soft and fatty – similar in style to the kind you get in mass catering outlets when all eyes are on the profit margin. Not what you’d expect for more than £7 each.
By comparison, the side dishes were excellent. Our ‘tots’ were short, crunchy cylinders of starchy potato (somewhere between miniature potato croquettes and hash browns) while a small dish of fresh coleslaw was crisp, light and sweet – a refreshing and much-needed foil to all that had gone before.
Kitchen Table (a tiny Modern European restaurant on the same site) is, in contrast, a vast step up.