The chef and Sandia Chang, former assistant manager and wine buyer at Roganic, have slated July as the opening date for the Charlotte Street restaurant which will combine two very different dining concepts each championed by one of the pair.
Since struggling to push Champagne from independent producers onto restaurant wine lists, Chang had wanted to promote the product in a more accessible way while Knappett had been keen to launch a restaurant showcasing skills he had picked up working in Noma and Per Se.
The ideas will now come together under one roof as the couple have found backers who have also been won over by the plans. The former estate agent office site has been gutted and refurbished in a design led by the couple.
Speaking to BigHospitality, Knappett said he had worked well with his wife in three restaurants and was not concerned about the risk of launching not one but two unique restaurant experiences in one business during a difficult economic climate.
"I could easily open up another restaurant the same as everyone else but we both love a challenge and if we make it work, which we believe we can, we have created something new and who knows where it can go? If we deliver everyone will come for good food," he said.
Knappett added he believed Londoners continue to enjoy trying innovative restaurants. "People are keen to know what is new and what is going on."
Salty and fun
The 30-cover Bubbledogs will serve a menu of ten hot dogs and American themed sides, sparkling wine and Grower Champagne. Chang, inspired by importers like Terry Theise, said lesser-known Champagne producers and independent growers were under-represented in the UK and combining their products with an accessible food element would help show the wine was not pretentious.
"In Spain they drink Cava with Serrano ham and in Italy they drink Lambrusco with Salami. It is really all based around that - all you really need is something salty like Caviar. Something salty, something that goes with Champagne and something fun because Champagne is supposed to be fun" she said.
Chang added that the concept would show Grower Champagne was not as expensive as people expected. Meals will start at £6 while glasses of Champagne will start at the same price.
The menu features hot dogs including a BLT dog served with truffle mayo and caramelized lettuce and a Mexican-style dog with salsa and jalapenos.
Out of view in the venue will be a 19-cover more private dining area named Kitchen Table where Knappett and his chef team will talk through the dishes with the diners as they prepare, cook and serve them. The plan is to cook for three lots of around 5-10 diners at a time staggered throughout the service.
"My biggest inspiration has come from René Redzepi at Noma and Thomas Keller. For how they create their food and how they work with their teams and just their whole philosophies and respect for the industry," said Knappett, who was also part of the team that brought Keller's French Laundry to Harrods last year.
The Kitchen Table menu showcases contemporary European cooking and Knappett said the food choice for any chef or restaurateur was both a combination of what they had learnt and trying to put a new spin on things.
"We haven't all trained for this long and then try and forget everything you have learnt and try and invent something new - it would be a disaster - everything evolves," he said.
Lunchtime menus of two to three dishes at the Kitchen Table will start at £25 while the evening menu will start from £50.