10 Poland Street, London, W1F 8PZ
020 7287 7575
At the end of summer Josh and I will embark on another American Roadtrip but this time, we will leave behind the ochre New England forests and salty Cape Cod beaches for the sticky, soulful South. Already my tummy rumbles at the prospect of beignets and po’boys in New Orleans, pulled pork in Memphis, slow burning tamales in Clarksdale, meat and three in Nashville, crab and shrimp in Charleston and stacks and stacks and stacks of sweet, smoky barbecue.
Today, we were treated to a preview of these waist-expanding delights when we accompanied Josh’s parents to Bodean’s in Soho. Upstairs the floor is laid-out like a diner – all white tiles, stools at the counters and baseball on the telly. Downstairs it’s dimly lit, tartan carpets and green leather straight back booths – to my eternal shame I’m yet to set foot in an Angus Steakhouse – but I imagine the decor is broadly the same; and this is no bad thing.
Our service was quick, friendly and eager to please. We began with cocktails. Josh had the dubious sounding ‘largerita’ – a concoction of beer and tequilla which I promise was better than it sounds – whilst Howard plumped for a trusty mojito and I nursed a short cocktail made with apple juice and Kraken black spiced rum – lipsmacking.
We ordered a plate to share to whet our appetites and quickly tucked into sticky chicken wings, pork fajitas, crab cakes and ribs, which we drizzled with blue cheese sauce. Very nice all of it. But then the main act arrived on the stage and was simply “ribs ribs, RIBS!” I was given a platter larger than my face, piled high with babyback ribs, slaw, pulled pork and spicy, crisp fries. Leonie had ribs, Howard had ribs, Josh had burnt ends – spicy, sweet, chunky beef – pulled pork and cheesey, chilli fries. I am exhausted just typing it. Napkins were deployed, bottles of smoked hickory BBQ and hot chipotle sauces flowed and we ate, pulling meat of bone with our fingers and teeth. Indeed ‘need no teef to eat my beef’ is the slogan of Bodean’s owner and the soft pork fell away from the bone with ease. The table weighed heavy with our plates and also held bowls of lemony-fresh wipes and tooth picks – essential tools of the trade when you’re elbow deep in ribs!
We ate and ate and ate. The fries were really very good, the coleslaw better than expected, but my goodness it was the pork that sung the loudest. Soft and juicy, plump and sweet. Just delicous and lots of fun. When we could eat no more we checked with the waitress that we could carry out our leftovers, we could!, and as I type this, I can’t stop thinking of the doggy-bag of meat in my kitchen, waiting for me to attack later on tonight as soon as my stomach does the gentlest of murmurs.
Whilst Bodean’s may not be the perfect place for a first date – I am not sure if chewing on ribs has ever attracted a sweetheart? – it is a great meaty treat. Vegetarians beware, ditto weightwatchers, barbecue lovers wear loose pants. Bodean’s will leave you smiling ear to ear and begging for more.