The cartoony name may sound lightweight, but this champagne bar with a hot-dog fetish is far more than just another flash fast-food joint à la Burger & Lobster or Chicken Shop. Sandia Chang, sommelier, and chef James Knappett are a wife-and-husband team to watch: talented, well-respected grafters, with stints at Per Se, Noma and Roganic in their recent pasts.
Bubbledogs’ look is winningly on-trend, transporting Fitzrovia diners to the Lower East Side, with its discreet entrance, copper-clad bar, log-cabin panelling and exposed brick. The menu is short and sweet, offering a dozen dogs and three sides. We say come often, the better to work your way through the toppings: the most-ordered are the New Yorker, with grilled onions or sauerkraut, and the Fourth of July, with bacon and BBQ sauce. We made short work of a Small Eye, with pickled cauliflower, sriracha mayonnaise and coriander leaf, and a Horny Dog, eg: a super-duper corn dog. Oh, and a couple of glasses of Laherte Frères blanc de blancs, a deliciously dry 100 per cent chardonnay fizz.
Sandia’s list of some three dozen grower champagnes (six by the glass) is rewarding in its own right, and the fizz duly stands up to the greasy, salty goodness of the dogs – even the kimchee in the K-Dawg. There’s a fierce, fun cocktail list, too, featuring Chappett’s Gin (their very own), and the Bill Murray, made with Mexican sotol, Campari and Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit.
It can be a push to get a table, but try rolling up early, at lunch or dinner, and you ought to triumph. And book now for James Knappett’s Kitchen Table, an elongated bar occupying the rear half of the premises, where he will be cooking highly seasonal, daily changing contemporary European tasting menus, from 2 October.
How to match champagne with food
- Drier styles of champagne, or non-dosage (no added sugar) champagne in particular, tend to make extremely good food wines. The higher acidity and ‘brightness’ of the wine can cut through fats and big flavours. My favorite is a non-dosage champagne to go with our Breakie hot dog.
- Champagnes with lower pressure or finer mousse often go well with spicier food. The bubbles are not as aggressive, so as not to overload the already tingling tongue.
- Vintage champagnes, or champagnes with a touch of oxidative or sherry notes, play well with very savoury food such as our Buffalo Dogs: here, the nuttiness of the wine pairs nicely with the pungent blue cheese.