Bubbledogs, Charlotte St, The Emperors New Clothes and then some

Hans Christian Andersen penned his childrens classic “the Emperors new clothes” in 1837. Little did he know it would echo almost 2 centuries later and speak very personally to a 39 year old Londoner perched on an uncomfortable stool and a tiny shared table eating hot dogs and drinking champagne. Much like the tale I can imagine baby G had he come with us asking me “ Daddy why have you dropped well over a hundred quid to sit somewhere which has less room that the central line at rush hour?” He might have followed it upon my response “oh so it’s the latest cool joint favoured by the twiterati that makes it all OK daddy”. However that is a fairy tale and the harsh reality was my lovely wife had spent just over an hour in moderate discomfort at the buzzy but fairly forgettable Bubbledogs. To be fair had our previous couple of hours shopping gone better it might have been a more pleasant experience.

The afternoon had started well we popped up to the West End to find baby G a proper big boy bed. Feather & Black had a nice one and even advised us to hold off ordering it until their July sale so we go the maximum discount. Feeling chuffed at our coming bargain we visited the Drafthouse on Charlotte St for a drink. We really liked it in here, a sympathetic refurb of an old pub, friendly staff and a cracking collection of beers. The food they were serving also looked very nice. Perhaps we should have stayed there and not embarked on our incredibly bad shopping trip where I learnt that DKNY and Nicole Farhi don’t fit me anymore and HMV resolutely refuse to stock A Room with a view. So that un-fun jaunt out of the way we headed back to Charlotte St to try our luck at Bubbledogs.

There was no queue for tables but the tiny room was packed. As I mentioned it is small, there is a bar at the front with seating and the narrow room stretches out from there with pretty much every last bit of space used for seating. At the back is the a leather curtain that separates the room off into the Kitchen table where I think you get more room. My understanding is that Bubbledogs with it’s high turnover supports the Kitchen Table which is a bit more experimental. Not a bad business model and certainly a lot more equitable than some places who survive on the free labour of keen intern chefs! So no tables or perches for two left but we were able to share a table. However to call it a table for 4 was wishful thinking, a very narrow counter top jutting out from the wall. Fortunately the couple sat there were budding restaurateurs and very friendly and we ended up having a nice chat with them.

So onto the food and drink, we ordered the Philly Dog which was good, nice and cheesy, the Caeser dog which my lovely wife didn’t care for and Jose which for a hot dog with chillies lacked oomph. The sides of tots and sweet potato fries were good though. However these were far from being the best hot dogs ever, we were paying £7-£8 for £5 hot dogs. Now according to the hype the champagne is the real star here and they do indeed have a great selection but it’s hardly cheap. The very friendly waiter directed us to a £68 bottle of Egly Ouriet which was lovely but for that sort of money I want to take my time over it and relax back in a comfy chair. No room on the table for your ice bucket so each time we needed a refill it involved being jostled by the waiters. The staff were very charming and indeed knew their stuff but really you needed more space this wasn’t a comfortable experience. So after our nice bottle of champagne we left and yet more people surged in, I don’t feel I ate here I just ticked it off a list of places to go. I think I'm going to heed Hans Christian's Andersen's lesson from now on and stick to grown up restaurants!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Overall rating
Food 5 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 5

Byron, City, cramped & unisex toilets

Byron, Soho, by far their best branch