“I don’t like Hot Dogs DC!” Admittedly love champagne but don’t read everything into its name!
An unassuming front on Charlotte Street, even if I was tempted in by the ‘Bubbles’ part I would have walked back out! Full of ‘In’ voters, it comes across as very trendy, noisy and too busy for me personally. As the other diners continued to pour mustard onto their American sausages we stood out as the smartly dressed folk. I escaped the pandemonium and headed downstairs for the bathrooms…… Unisex cubicles. Another sign of the trendiness? Or just that I’m getting grumpy and snobby with old age. Tried one door… Locked. The second ……. Locked. The third….. straight into an unlocked cubicle with a lady having a pee. Not cool. Ran off into another cubicle. After My pee then I happened to wash hands at the same sink at the same time as the lady….. She was giggling!….. I was as red as the ketchup upstairs! Help!
To my relief once back upstairs we were swiftly led through some back curtains to the ‘Kitchen Table’. Ahhh! I forgot about that part of the name! A different clientele and atmosphere completely, about 20 covers set on a ‘Squared C’ shaped table around the kitchen and preparation area.
What a contrast…. Long sausages with sauce everywhere at the front but the meticulous concentration into the preparation of the dishes at the back. Very professional. If it were uncouth American muscle cars out front then this was the pinnacle of German engineering. I’m being a little unfair here as my Death Row meal would be 20 Big Macs….. (Until this meal anyway) …… I just don’t like hot dogs if you hadn’t of already guessed.
So we’ve had several amazing nights on BTNDC and the taster menus often do well. Opting for the 3 additional dishes, we were about to embark on 17 courses. But what made this Kitchen Table stand out was the staff. Charismatic, friendly, professional yet funny, passionate and knowledgeable whilst describing every dish…. They were great. All of them. Some even had tattoos dedicated to food, the forearm of one female chef with the various cuts of a pig! Initially, sorry I didn’t get your name, the Sommelier / Maitre D’ was very impressive and witty. Later on, when he had more time and less work, James Knappett, the part owner / head chef, was as personable as they come. A real top guy whom we all wish the best of luck to….. If he had the night off then would we have scored it so highly? I think it’ll still be top but he made it stand out for me.
Initially we went with cocktails which weren’t too bad but you don’t come here just for them! The wine list later on was excellent however with every aspect covered.
How do I write about 17 courses! I’d run out of superlatives….. Go for yourselves and use your own!!! Actually go and listen to the chef’s descriptions…… I simply can’t do them equal justice. I would say though that nearly, if not all, the ingredients were British and the menus are designed at midnight, every night, to make the most of the seasonal produce. Currently we were stepping into Gooseberry season and so they made sure that part of the themes invoked the lovely tartness of this fruit.
Scallops. Raw. Actually not amazing but all eaten.
Potato. Deep fried potato juice made into crackers….. Served with smoked salmon. Very tasty and clever.
Chicken. Crispy chicken skins with bacon, rosemary and mascarpone. Obscenely good! Amazing.
Parkerhouse. Local Turbot dip which had been whipped over oak fires, served with warm bread rolls and a burnt leek powder. Brilliant! More bread please! Loved the burnt leek.
Mullet. Thinly sliced, line Cornish caught, served with 6 hour dehydrated tomatoes, which every 20 minutes during this had a special sugar syrup added, also with delicate flowers and a new chef’s special family olive oil. Do I have to add an adjective? The description says it all!
Asparagus. White, Wye Valley served with the Fois Gras of the sea – monkfish liver – apparently that was awesome, no sorry…. Mesmerizing! For me however the perfectly cooked asparagus with the champagne and shallot sauce, and a sprinkle of curried shrimp powder, was equally tasty.
Plaice. Jumbo ones! The top garlic flowers had a delicious if not overpowering flavour. Not bad but not the best tonight.
Lobster. With brain oil and crushed shell sauce, girolle mushrooms with lobster brain. Some people’s best ever shellfish dish. Amazing apparently. I thought decent but avoided the brain. ‘The Concentration of flavour was’…. Several were lost for words. That good.
Poor James Knappett at this point found out that he was in for a long night as I picked his brains and questioned if using brain was purely for effect? Apparently not and although I was disowned by my mates here for asking I still can’t get it into my head.
Duck. Where do I start? Wow. Best dish so far. Perfectly cooked cabbage and amazingly cooked duck with a sublime taste.
Lamb. The dish was preceded by blending the mint in front of us to create the aroma. Again I passed on the sweetbread but again apparently I missed out. The actual lamb heart was gorgeous. Added to the fragrant mint and veg, it was outstanding. Again James got quizzed about the use of ‘heart’. Again I got shot down!
Devon Blue. Frozen cheese shavings over a rhubarb compote, with sour dough & cranberry marmalade. Delectable.
Beetroot. With woodruff herb creating the frosty shaving. Sour cream ice cream. Very good. Not to mention my first time having ‘woodruff’.
Added course! Pea. A meringue with Elderflower sorbet. Damn good.
Gooseberry. Served on a freezing cold dish. 1st of the season so very under ripe…… My favourite fruit! Yogurt parfait with almonds. Stunning. This perfectly paired almond parfait combo, with the gooseberry juice was the best.
Strawberry. Liquorice based dish including liquorice sugar tweal. Very good.
Caramel. Ice cream within a hard shell, with a cookie base. Bourbon infused. Very yummy!
Vanilla. Fudge with a hint of salt. Lovely. Very good.
Raspberry. Sprinkles of tarragon, on a meringue and cracker. The excellence continued.
18 courses down and we were happy bunnies. A ‘whisky’ course for a couple of us ensured the friendly banter between us and James with his team continued.
The final course…..
Birthday Cake! Ah! Their cooking is most certainly better than their singing but thanks everyone! The layered crepe ‘cake’ was perfect.
Honestly the best night we’ve had as a five on BTNDC…… Please go. I may even try the BubbleDogs!
Thanks James, his team and my mates for the perfect start to my birthday.