What better way to perk yourself up than a mid-week dinner with a bunch of fabulous women (and a couple of plus ones)? The venue was Bodeans in Tower Hill. I initially had this confused with Barbecoa (don’t bother with that one) so was relieved when my mistake was pointed out to me. I happened to arrive early, and at the same time as another member of our party. We quickly established that a booking for our group had not been arranged and that there would be an estimated hour and a half wait for a table. However, we were fortunate that another large group didn’t arrive and we were able to get a table for seven at 7pm as initially planned. The whole thing felt a little familiar; pseudo-stained glass windows, random pigs’ heads amongst the décor. It was all just a little bit Chicago Ribshack (see previous blog post dated 29 feb 2012). This made me a little concerned. Would it live up to the expectations forming in my mind?
The menu has a really great range of options from starters to sandwiches to large meaty meals. This is not a place for vegetarians! We decided to order supreme nachos and a dozen buffalo winsg to share as a starter, and three meat platters to share as our main. The desserts menu wasn’t made available at the time of our initial order.
After my lesson on buffalo wings at Meat Liquor I was eager to see how Bodeans performed. I am glad to say in some respects they were better. They were nowhere near as greasy and far more flavoursome. I also thought the blue cheese sauce they were served with was superior. However, they still lacked the spiciness that I have been led to believe is the trademark of good buffalo wings. Such a shame! The nachos were ok, although they were were made with cheese sauce rather than melted cheese, and this had been sparsely applied. Nothing special though. Having said this it was a large serving which clearly needed to be shared.
In fact large portions were apparent throughout the meal. When the meat platter came out I realised that Bodeans would face a true test. Amongst the large array of meaty offerings on each tray was a portion of babyback ribs. Unfortunately I tried and they failed. There was no sauce and as a result the flesh was too dry. There were some good elements. The Jacob’s Ladder ribs were moist and tender and the pulled pork and “burnt bits” had a descent flavour and were well cooked. But overall it was just a bit subdued. There should have been a punchy MEATiness to the dishes. This isn’t to suggest that the food was bland, maybe just a little underseasoned. For me it was an almost-but-not-quite experience. The meat platters were served with fries and coleslaw, the latter of which I have to say was particularly good. Although it is a little concerning when the strongest compliment to the food at a meaty BBQ restaurant is towards the side salad.
Having said this, I ate my fill and wasn’t tempted by the desserts. However, some of my companions indulged in the chocolate fudge brownie, the banana split and the apple compote. Again, the portions were huge. I had a little taste of the ice-cream on the banana split and was pleased by the strong vanilla taste. However I wasn’t sure about the appearance of the brownie. It was as tall as a slice of cake and while it looked dense, it didn’t appear to have that bordering-on-gooiness that is characteristic of a good brownie. I didn’t feel that I’d missed out on much by refraining from over-indulging.
The meal came to just under £25 each, including drinks (not that we indulged in those particularly), which is fairly good value. I wouldn’t say no to eating there again, but I won’t be rushing back either.