When the head chef is not fully stretched in the Michelin starred restaurant, he opens his own venue. But not just any: at Bubbledogs on Charlotte Street in Camden, former Ledbury and Noma chef James Knappett and his wife Sandia Chang serve gourmet hot dogs with champagne and cocktails. The two thereby follow the London-wide gourmet fast food trend: being served quickly, having a proper meal, and off you go. You cannot make any reservations at Bubbledogs, instead you can choose from ten different hot dogs, for example the BLT Dog covered in bacon, the truffle mayo hot dog served with caramelised salad, or the Jose Dog with salsa, pepperoni, guacamole and sour cream. But that's not it. From October on the chef himself will cook at the so-called kitchen table. Up to 19 guests will be able to observe the chef's preparations of selected menus around the stove. This - on the other hand - you can only experience with a reservation!
Then, in pre-Jamie Oliver times, in the fish-and-chips era when England was still a culinary nobody, the following slogan applied quite fittingly: Who wants to eat well in England eats Indian food. But that's not true any longer: Even the Indians orient themselves along England's new cooking wave, and they have to work hard for not being crushed by the Empire's chefs. People have started to eat English again, and they still do it at pubs. But even pubs, as we can see with the Harwood Arms, have undergone a facelift. Instead of the former dark and decent atmosphere you enjoy your meals in a bright and friendly, albeit still rustic ambience. And you are served all kinds of venison. From pigeons to deer the English shoot everything that is not quick enough to fly or run away only to serve it thereafter as excellent venison on your plate. There, it tickles your palate in liaison with carrots, beans and mint, only to be followed by a butter milk pudding and chef de cuisine's Mike Robinson's recommendation. The latter, by the way, is also the head of a cooking school.
The former showroom for luxury limousines runs smoothly again today. In 2003 the Wolseley opened its doors to illustrious guests with a blend of high ceilings and expensive food. If you are keen on silver tableware and arrogant waitresses, they send you to Vienna - or to the Wolseley, where the goulash comes from Hungary, the salad from Nice and the guests from Planet Young and Beautiful. If you are lucky, you are rubbing shoulders with some London celeb. If you are not so lucky, you might be underdressed and they seat you at a corner table close to the toilet. As compensation the menu is overpriced. Even when called Arnold Bennet, an omelette should not cost 10 pounds. Salad for 16 pounds is not made of gold (but fitting the price for gold) and Beluga Caviar for 125 pounds is still only made from fish eggs. If you, however, don't mind the exaggerated prices, you should come here for the ambience's sake in any case. The chandeliers, the black pillars and golden ornaments perfectly match breakfast with croissant and coffee à la Mozart. If you miss what is typically English, you should stay until 5 o'clock tea is served.