Restaurants, North American Aldgate
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Michelle Grant

With the recent proliferation of new pits on the block, it’s easy to forget that Bodean’s was once the capital’s first and only destination for authentic US barbecue. Our visit to the Tower Hill branch proved this small chain is still serious about the smoke. We recommend bypassing the more pedestrian burgers, hotdogs and steaks and heading straight for the barbecued food, a sharing platter being the most efficient way to savour the array of smoked meats offered.

The beauty of US barbecue is the regional subtleties that vary state to state, so as well as a plate piled high with pulled pork and baby back ribs, we also enjoyed ‘burnt ends’, or beef brisket, a tradition of Kansas City cooking. A standout helping of Jacob Ladder ribs saw the caramelised outer bark yielding to meltingly tender beef beneath. Furnished in the same playful decor as other outlets, this basement branch is a mix of hog-shaped door knobs, antler candelabras and luxe black leather banquettes.

The ground-floor bar features an extensive list of Stateside beer and cocktails, with an emphasis on bourbon and American whiskies.


Venue name: Bodean's
Address: 16 Byward Street
Opening hours: Meals served noon-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Tower Hill tube
Price: Main courses £6.75-£19.95
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Average User Rating

2.6 / 5

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I've heard so many good things about this restaurant before I went here, especially as I had been told that their pulled pork was some of the best around. So I had high expectations being taken there for my birthday dinner. The good thing is that you can build your own platter of an array of different meats, the bad thing... where do I start?! There was barely enough to feed 2 people and we ordered 5 different types of meat, as well as 3 sides. The pulled pork wasn't anything to shout about, but to be fair I probably didn't get enough of a chance to taste it properly as they gave us a child size portion. As well as giving kiddie sized amounts of fries, which is the one thing that really shouldn't be skipped on as most places would use it to fill out a meal.

Not to mention the terrible service. It felt like we had been forgotten about, which is terrible considering we were willing to spend quite a lot as it was a special occasion. And not only that, we ordered mac and cheese which didn't turn up with the meal, so I promptly enquired and was told it would be an extra few minutes, clearly as the order wasn't even placed to begin with. The only real redeeming feature was said mac and cheese, which most places tend to get wrong by not adding enough cheese, and a nice change to see cornbread on the menu, which did taste rather good and was definitely needed to fill the gap the meat should have.

I don't know if any of the other restaurants would have been any better but this one is definitely worth avoiding. Mediocre meat, poor service and over priced. If you want meat for your money pop over to Grillstock in Walthamstow, twice the meal fir half the price.

Went there twice, both times the ribs arrived luke warm? Asked for them to me heated up, yet came the back same. I think they pre-cook the ribs and only add hot BBQ sauce over them. The rest of the food was below to average. It's not hard to do this right guys. Felt like it caters to tourist non return customers, which is exactly who I am- a non return customer.


Ended up here one Saturday evening having not been for probably 10 years or so! I've been to a few BBQ places recently and in my head wasn't expecting Bodeans to be as good. I was wrong. We had some lovely big wings to start - could have been a bit crispier but were still good with yummy sauce. I went for the pulled pork with creamed corn, coleslaw and a side of sweet potato fries. The pork was the best I've had in a while - nice and moist with a great sauce. The fries were good but creamed corn made my night. Creamy and corny and delicious! A friend had the chicken and ribs and was very much defeated, another had a burger which was very good.

Cocktails were also great. We all came away feeling very satisfied and not bankrupt!


I recently went to Bodean's slightly hungover on a Sunday. Rather than your typical Sunday roast, my friends and I felt like a good old American meat feast. 

However, Bodean's left me a bit disappointed. Not that it was bad, but very average. Meat was a bit dry and could have been seasoned better. The fries weren't great quality and cold when we got them. 

I don't think I'll be back to be honest, there are much better places for amazing meat right round the corner...

me and my boyfriend ALWAYS come here its excellent service and beautiful food love it definately recommened it we have been over 10 times now.

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Have yet to eat there, but first observation is that the online table reservation system does not seem to work.