If you are a fan of barbecued meat and have lived in London for any period of time, it’s a certified fact that you will have been to Bodean’s and left there, full-bellied, sticky-fingered and singing its praises to every carnivore you cross in the street.
Smokehouses, burger-joints and BBQ-stops are all the rage amongst the discerning culinary community at the moment, as American-influenced grub is being taken up by foodie entrepreneurs and delivering us from the purgatory of Ronald McDonald. Yet Bodean’s stands strong as chain of four restaurants across the capital, retaining an independent restaurant’s quality and comparing to any of those that have the trendies queuing round the block.
The primary problem when attending a Bodean’s is akin to that of a manager of a Sheikh-owned football team; that of overwhelming choice. Smokey, meaty treats are dangled in front of you, and to say no to one feels tantamount to a rejection of the dish you’re leaving behind. Because, and this is the hard part, the dish left behind deserves your attention, your attention to its mastication, no less. Take the starters- the chicken wings (Diablo sauce- hot, but tangy enough for those not so fond of chilli). They are a requisite for any order, the first name on the team-sheet, as it were. But getting them means you might have to leave the Spare Ribs behind, and Lord knows you will live to regret that decision.
Similarly, plump for a Soho Special burger for a main, or a Jacob’s Ladder of ribs…make no bones about it; you’ll walk out of that restaurant not only pleased as Punch, but pleased with yourself for making the executive decision that tonight would be a ‘Bodean’s night’, but that means you’ll have left behind a whole swathe of smoked treats sweating slowly on a spit somewhere in that kitchen.
That is why you have to dive headfirst into the 2 people sharing platters. You can do the whole Boss Hog platter if both of you are large/have been on a treadmill for the last 3 weeks. Get the Bodean’s Platter though, and for the un-princely sum of £26.95 you will get (deep breath): Spare Ribs, Baby Back Ribs, Burnt Ends, Pulled Pork, Chicken Thighs, not to mention fries and other bits. It is here you will find your meaty salvation. You can thank me on your way out.