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11 December 2012

Sticking to the Ribs: Bodean's Review

Before there was Pitt Cue Co, there was Bodean's. I've walked past the Soho branch, on Poland Street, a relatively quiet side street just south of Oxford Street, on many occasions and had heard good things about it, but somehow never managed to stop by. Then, I made it to Pitt Cue Co, where the food was really awesome and decided that as long as I could be bothered with the no-reservations policy, that would be my southern BBQ restaurant of choice in London.

Nachos, buffalo wings and a Raspberry Collins

It's not much fun queuing outside in the cold, though, and as there was a fairly big group of us gathering to celebrate Angelita's 30th birthday, it made more sense to go to Bodean's. Their Tower Hill location was also more convenient for more of our group (especially me!). We had a booking at 6 pm on Sunday and the restaurant was busy, but not full, when we turned up. Due to issues during booking, we were told the first round of drinks was on the house, so most of us picked a cocktail. I went for a Raspberry Collins, which was nice and fruity but not very strong. All of the cocktails are under £7.50, which is pretty reasonable, although some--the Lagerita springs to mind--were less appealing than others.

The Bodean's baby back ribs and pulled pork combo

As I was quite hungry and wasn't sure when I'd be back to Bodean's, I decided to order a baby back ribs and pulled pork combo, which came with fries and slaw. The pulled pork was very good, but not as good as Pitt Cue Co or Hobbs. The ribs were tasty, but as a former vegetarian, I get a bit squeamish when the meat doesn't fall off the bone, and I felt I had to put in considerable effort to eat these. The chips were fine, though uninteresting; had I ordered slightly less meat, I might have complained about their paucity, and I was jealous of our token vegetarian's sweet potato fries.

Bodean's: here be deer

With some spicy buffalo  wings, nachos and dips, a couple of bottles of wine, our main courses and service, the bill worked out at about £24 per head, which is reasonable, given that we did all get a cocktail as well. The service was a little spotty and at times it was unclear if the waiter was trying to be funny or was just confused. Like Pitt Cue Co, the main restaurant of the Tower Hill Bodean's is in the basement, but unlike Pitt Cue Co, it didn't feel like a covert and cool hide-away. The d├ęcor wants to be cool, American gentleman's eatery, with its deer-skull-clad Harvard crimson walls. On the bright side for sports fans, the (American) football was playing. The verdict, then, is to go to Pitt Cue Co if you can be bothered with the queuing and the uncertainty; otherwise, Bodean's makes a more predictable but still quite authentic alternative.

Bodean's. 16 Byward Street, London, EC3R 5BA (Tube: Tower Hill). Website. Twitter.

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