Huge credit must go to the marketing team behind Bodean’s BBQ for being as upfront as possible about the meat-laden nature of their restaurants. You can’t be anymore forthright than having a pink pig as your corporate logo with the red letters BBQ in the middle. It takes a Braveheart on the restaurant scene these days not to sell themselves on quinoa salads and matcha noodles. However, the promise of the 3B’s: bourbon, beer and BBQ are enough to entice most self-respecting food and drink lover.
On a sweltering warm day that we visited, it was comforting to find Bodean’s BBQ Covent Garden gently air-conditioned. I was expecting a raucous environment, with the abundance of TV screens showing sports, but surprisingly people were very much into their cuisine instead. The black leather booth seating were comfortable with added privacy and they had quirky touches like a giant mural of, I suspect John Wayne in the background.
Most people do like to order starters when they dine out, however this is one of those rare restaurants where you have to plan your ordering with military precision. Whilst the thunder thighs, BBQ spare ribs and Buffalo chicken wings all look highly tempting, would they affect your appetite for the main course, especially if you went for their signature, boss hog platter?
The platter had everything a meat lover could dream of: spare and baby back ribs, burnt ends,a Jacobs ladder beef rib, pulled pork, chicken thighs and smoked sausage. The meats all have different cooking times and requirements, but they were universally tender and slow cooked with maximum attention.
Sausages are often an afterthought, but you can really taste the smokiness here from their oak-burning smoke pits. It is incredibly easy to oversmoke the chicken, but the version here is extremely moist and the meat from all their ribs readily falls off the bones. Burnt Ends, their house special which originated from the barbecue-loving town of Kansas City, has real meaty flavours to the beef brisket and they politely ask you whether you want the platter to come dry or wet. Even when you say wet, they never smother the meat with an abundance of BBQ sauce, unlike other venues who are probably using inferior quality meats.
It was a surprise that we even looked at the dessert menu, considering the waitress kindly offered to us a takeaway box for the remaining meat we couldn’t finish from the platter. However, a scope of blood orange sorbet was the ideal way to end such a wonderful showcase of barbecued meats.
Bourbon-based cocktails aren’t always easy to find in the London cocktail scene, but the choices are plentiful at Bodeans. We opted for a chocolate based bourbon cocktail and a refreshing Hawaiian punch.
Andre Blais, who previously owned Belgo and now Bodeans is a restaurateur still with the midas touch, when it comes to delivering food and drinks that Londoners crave for.