Facebook recently reminded me it’s been two years since my friend Harry and I went to Bodean’s and ordered five sides. Five. Between two, in addition to a huge plate of BBQ meat each which, yes, already came with sides. I recently showed my mate Tom (of Foulder Online) the wondrous ways of the world of Bodean’s for the first time, and it struck me I’ve never actually written about my love for the place other than random comments or tweets screaming ‘BODEAN’S I LOVE BODEAN’S’ into the void. I assume everyone knows about Bodean’s because they’ve been around for years now and have quite a few outposts, but then I think, ‘God, what if you don’t? What if you don’t know and you’re missing this amazing meat mecca in your life?’ So here we are.
I’m going to start with the drinks first, because without fail the first thing I do when I reach any Bodean’s is order a margarita straight up, with salt. Let me tell you, they know this cocktail. I’d like to tell you they know all their cocktails, but I couldn’t, because I only ever have the margs. I’m not steering off piste when my favourite cocktail is that good. For those who don’t want to plough their way through the long cocktail list they also serve a wealth of American beers and ales, as well as a decent offering of reds and white wines.
And then, of course, there’s the meat – the star of this all American show. Look around and you’ll see huge racks of ribs smothered in their house smokey BBQ sauce, towering burgers, foot long hot dogs. The smell as you walk past other diners to your table is genuinely saliva inducing. My go-to is forever the pulled pork with burnt ends combo (£13.95): tender meat that falls apart at the softest of nudges from your fork, full of flavour and never, ever dry. It’s a tough pick from an extensive menu, but I can personally highly recommend any platter of meat they offer, and if you’re into hot dogs, Tom assures me the chilli cheese dog (£8.25) is more than up to scratch.
But back to these five sides. If you want to truly experience a Bodean’s feast to its greatest potential, order extra sides. That time Harry and I went a tad overboard (no regrets), we ordered sweet potato fries, macaroni cheese, cornbread (oh God I love cornbread), BBQ beans with extra pulled pork (I know) and onion rings, because of course. All were excellent, but the onion rings and cornbread are a must. Needless to say that what with all that and several margaritas, I’ve never made it to dessert, though the menu is made up of American classics such as pecan pie and New York style cheesecake. You don’t go to Bodean’s for the sweets though, you go for the meat. And then you keep going back.
Locations in Soho, Tower Hill, Balham, Old Street, Fulham, Clapham and Covent Garden. For addresses and specific opening times for each restaurant visit the website.
Mains: range from £6.25 to £22.95
Sides: Between £2.50 and £5.95
Desserts: £3.95 – £5.95Drinks: beers from £4, wines from £4.75 and cocktails start at £6.25