While we are tempted to reflect on this and ask the question why, in reality we don't need to: if you want to know why, just visit (but go early). Some clue is given by a conversation we had today with one of the UK's top chefs who said that Sandia Chang was in his view the best FOH he had come across and who he would dearly love working with him, but not (simply) because of her professional capability, but more because the warmth of her personality lifts the whole room. Bubbledogs was always a concept born of love, and this, encapsulated in the best of friendly service (an ethos pushed down from Sandia) is what all staff deliver in a generous measure.
Second, they offer a very comfortable (albeit bustling) environment in which to enjoy your meal. Sitting at the bar, sipping on an Aviation cocktail (I told the barman to surprise me), it's a nice place to be. And worth remembering, with most dogs priced at around £7, a dog, a side of 'tots' and a glass of champagne will be covered by £20. In many places where £20 covers the cost of your meal + drink, rarely do you want to stay and linger. In Bubbledogs, they have the opposite problem, getting people to leave.
Finally, the food. I had genuinely forgotten how enjoyable it is. We have been meaning to return sooner but the queues have always been larger than we cared for. Today I was early, but even I was surprised how short that 'no queue' window is, and this was a Tuesday. But it does mean it's been a while since my last dog and today I opted for the Brekkie (bacon, tomato relish, black pudding and fried egg) and, quite naughtily, a second dog, Philly Cheez (onions, peppers, mushrooms & cheez whiz).
While the food is casual, it's a hot dog afterall, actually, the attention to detail and research to deliver these dogs is quite impressive and comes through visibly with the the seemingly plain fried egg on top of my Brekkie Dog. The yolk doesn't just spill everywhere when you bite into it, nor is it hard, rather, it oozes in a controllable fashion that is more impressive than it sounds, since you neither end up wearing the yolk or wasting it. It's like that every time, it's part of the design because that's how they planned it to be. It's little surprise really, James Knappett is one of the best young chef talents in the country right now and when charged with delivering a breakfast hot dog, he's going to make it pretty close to perfect. Through the chaos of the business at Bubbledogs, there's an underlying precision that most guests wont even consider, but because of it, they will come back, and queue to do so, even if they never ask themselves why.
With my Aviation now an empty glass and the dogs happily dispensed with also, I too felt the urge to stay a little longer, but knew it was time to give up my seat to those who have been patiently waiting. James and Sandia have created something special with Bubbledogs, front (the dogs) and back (fine dining). There may be copies out there but without doubt Bubbledogs is unique and one year on, if anything, it seems more charming than ever.