A chef who's better known for serving up Michelin-starred cuisine is opening Britain’s first hot-dog and Champagne bar in central London today.
"Bubbledogs" is the brainchild of James Knappett, former head chef at Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, and his wife, Sandia Chang, a sommelier. Knappett has an impressive CV, spending two years at the world’s best restaurant, Noma, in Copenhagen, as well as Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York.
His new offering brings together the unconventional pairing of sausages in a bun and artisanal Champagnes. Ten different hot dogs will be served, ranging from the BLT (wrapped in bacon and accompanied by truffle mayonnaise and caramelized lettuce) to the José (topped with guacamole, sour cream and jalapenos).
The menu is accompanied by a list of Champagnes from 14 lesser-known producers, including a “so fresh and so clean” blanc de blancs from Guy Charlemagne Brut Nature, made from grapes grown in the grand cru village of Mesnil-sur-Oger.
Another brand to make the list is Francoise Bedel’s non-vintage Champagne, Entre Ciel et Terre. It was named one of France’s best organic wines in the 2013 edition of Michel Bettane and Thierry Dessauve’s guide to French wines. While chardonnay and pinot noir dominate most Champagnes, the Entre Ciel et Terre is made wholly from pinot meunier, as is Christophe Mignon’s Brut Nature.
There will also be sparkling wines from lesser-known regions, including New Mexico. Prices at Bubbledogs will start from around £6 ($9.50) for a glass of Champagne and £32 ($50.50) for a bottle.
While living in New York, Knappett and Chang were inspired by Crif Dogs, a hot-dog bar with a cocktail lounge attached that now has two outlets in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Naturally, the Bubbledogs menu includes a New Yorker: a hot dog served with "grilled sauerkraut or NY street cart onions or both."
Next month, the couple will open a separate "Kitchen Table" section at the restaurant, where Knappett and his team will host more sophisticated meals for up to 19 guests seated around his open kitchen. The chef will talk to diners as he prepares and serves the dishes for a lunchtime tasting menu (£65/$102.65) or dinner (£80/$126.30). Sample dishes include beetroot, fennel and garlic scapes; chicken skin, grilled onion and burrata milk; beef, dead nettle and carrot; and hay, strawberry, malt and sweet cicely. The wine list will consist of 100–150 bins, mainly from small artisanal producers.