There were doubters among us, but they were charmed, as was I, by the sweet service and the niche appeal of the place. Hot dogs and champagne, hardly a match made in heaven but husband and wife team Sandia Chang, managing the restaurant, and James Knappett, heading up the kitchen, have really hit upon a good thing here.
The dogs, a choice of 13 toppings available, are satisfying and interesting. Cries of "this is the best hotdog I've ever had" could be heard from many a gushing diner. I have to say, for me, I expected to be more wowed by the actual sausage, but as I said, I had sunk a few g&ts. I'll need to go back sober to try more. They are 100% British pork or beef plus there's a veggie option,
I knew before arriving that I had to have the sloppy joe (£7.50) and the New Yorker (£6.50). Our dogs came in 2 batches about 10 minutes apart, and the table was completely covered each time. It was a wonderful sight.
The New Yorker, served with sauerkraut or NY street cart onions or both, was simple and impressive. The sauerkraut is tangy and crunchy and the NY style onions have that buttery softness. The bun is perfect.
The sloppy joe, my favourite on the night (although the k-dawg was also a big hit) comes topped with a helping of chilli, diced onions and cheese. I love that the cheese is not melted.
We ordered a bottle of the Francoise Bedel, Pinot Meunier. I'd never heard of it before, much like most of the champagnes on the menu. They are grower champagnes, with a 'terroir' leaning, infact there was not one I was familiar with, which is exciting. They range from £6-£11.50 a glass and bottles start at £32. Ours was a £56 offering from the 'a lick of chalk and stones' section of the menu, as in it was dry.
I LOVED the tots too. Little crispy potato croquette type things, think hash browns minus the onion. Sides also include coleslaw and sweet potato fries for £3.50 or less. As they become more established, I'll be interested to see how the menu develops with new dog options and perhaps daily specials.
The overwhelming feeling one is left with upon leaving, is that the idea, whilst gimmicky is quite brilliant, and it's being eaten up, there were reports of horrendous queues throughout the first weekend. We had no trouble walking in and sitting straight down though. Unfortunately for us, the late sitting meant we couldn't order more, as plenty of us would have gone in for a 3rd dog. Or dessert, but there are none currently, coming soon we were told. I loved the service, I loved the environment, I loved the champagne and who doesn't love a good hotdog? I can't wait to get behind that curtain come mid October, the & in the name referring to the chefs table which seats less than 20 people offering a daily changing menu, served up by the main man himself, James Knappett, booking now.
70 Charlotte St