I took my boyfriend to Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs back in April for his birthday dinner to offer him a dining experience that was a little different. Having toyed around with the idea of pursuing culinary school in my early teens, and watched numerous episodes of Hell's Kitchen, I have always wanted to sit at the chef's table at a restaurant to be able to see where all the magic and drama happens. Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs is the perfect remedy if you're looking for some great food, with a little special twist to it. The restaurant being located behind black curtains inside the Bubbledog restaurant just adds to the surprise element of the whole experience.
Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs is a michelin star restaurant tucked behind a hotdog and champagne restaurant, both owned by James Knappett. Kitchen table only seats 19 guests, so reservation is definitely recommended. The restaurant receive their ingredients and build their menus depending on the freshest ingredients, which means that the menu changes daily.
There are 14 courses on the menu, with a supplement of three courses. The "hero" of each dish, is presented on a chalk board in the restaurant, and the dish is introduced in detail by the chef as it is served.
The first course started out with a bang. The crab with basil and herb infused oil was light and offered just enough flavour to get my palate going. It was a great start of the meal and definitely one of my favourite dishes of the evening.
The second course was dehydrated and fried potato with salmon, cream cheese and brown sugar syrup. The combination could sound heavy but the potato was light and crispy. My boyfriend liked this dish the best, and we agreed we could go home with a bagfuls of these and be happy. I particularly enjoyed the combination of the sweet and savoury flavours.
The third dish is crispy chicken skin with bacon jam; one of Kitchen Table's signature dishes. Knappett explained that the dish was formulated by the chefs when they used to make lunch out of the leftover bits no one wanted. I fell in love with this dish, and was salivating and definitely hungry for more after my first bite. I would have ordered a second portion if I could.
The Nettle course was definitely one of my least favourite of the evening. The flavours just didn't impress me as much, but it's hard to beat the first three courses where everything was perfect.
The scallop with ponzu course was light and refreshing, and I appreciated the delicate plating of the dish. It was a surprising dish to me, as it embodied asian flavours which was certainly different than the courses above. I feel like i'm repeating myself, but I also really enjoyed this!
I particularly enjoyed being able to watch the chefs torch the salmon skin right in front of me while preparing this dish, but I think I would have enjoyed the dish more if the skin was more crispy.
I believe the mullet course was definitely one of the favourites by all the dining guests that evening. I heard my neighbouring dining guests complimenting the dish left and right. The black garlic puree flavour really stood out and complimented the fish well. I'm not a big fan of hollandaise, and still I could not fault the dish.
I love lobster, so I was really looking forward to tasting this dish. With that said, although the crustacean flavours really stood out, and made definitely lobster the star of the dish, I found the course really difficult to eat as the lobster meat was holding onto the shell for dear life.
The next course featured duck, and the chefs separated the course in two parts. I have never had duck heart before, so being able to eat the whole thing must mean it was pretty damn tasty.
The duck parfait was still the preferred dish of the two as nothing could beat some creamy parfait smeared on some buttery crunchy toast. In fact, my boyfriend didn't finish his portion, but I happily gobbled that up as well.
The chef introduced that the beef served in this course was from the dexter cow; the smallest cow in the UK. I can honestly say that I've never tasted a dish with such a strong beef flavour. It was a bit too powerful for my liking.
The barrata dish was my least favourite of the evening. Although I'm usually a fan of barrata, and cheeses in general, the dish was pair with an ingredient that must have altered the flavour of the cheese. I hate to say it but it tasted like smelly feet. Needless to say, I did not finish this dish.
The lemon sorbet and granita definitely packed a punch, but was a bit too sour for my liking. It was however, still a good palate cleanser to lead into the rest of the desserts of the evening.
The sloe panna cotta was probably the best panna cotta I've ever had. The texture was absolutely textbook perfect, and was creamy and smooth in all the right ways. If i'm honest though, I definitely didn't know what sloe was before that evening...
Although rhubarb is the supposed star of this dish, the true hero was the black pepper marshmallow for me. Paired with the milk ice-cream, the flavours brought back good memories and reminded me of having a smore when I was young.
At this point of the meal, I was beginning to unbutton my jeans as I was so full... I had a few bites of the apple course before I gave up and moved on. The apple was very tart, especially pair with the granita, but the custard toned the flavours down a bit. Still, the dish was not convincing enough for me to finish it.
Being a big fan of hazelnut, I really wanted to like this dish. The chocolate dome was filled with hazelnut cream which all sat on top of a butter biscuit. Unfortunately I didn't think the hazelnut flavour stood out that much, and would qualify this more as a chocolate dish. I still finished the whole thing, but it was a touch too sweet for my liking.
I had a small bite of this and had to give up. Not only was I too full, but the dish was so sweet it almost gave me a headache. It could be that I don't have the biggest sweet tooth, but it was even too sweet for my boyfriend who is a sugar fiend.
The food at Kitchen Table truly surprised me and surpassed my expectations. Although there were some up and downs, the highlights of the meal were definitely some of the best food I've had in London. Although Kitchen Table only has one Michelin star, I have to say the food was definitely on par with the food I had at The Fat Duck, if even better?!
The only thing I was disappointed about was perhaps the lack of interaction with the chef. Although they welcome questions at any time, the atmosphere of the kitchen was less dramatic and interactive than I would have imagined. With that said, Chef Knappett had a chat with the dining guests about the sustainability of the food and went into more details about where they source their food at the end of the meal.
It was an overall lovely dining experience, and I would definitely go back.