To celebrate the return of a good friend from a year in New York we went to none other than Bodean's, the all-American 'BBQ smoke house' that popped up in Soho just over a year ago. It's part of a mini-chain with a few other restaurants in London's 'aspirational' neighbourhoods (y'know...Clapham, Fulham, etc.) and was set-up to bring 'the taste, the style, the soul of the beloved Kansas City barbecue to London town'. Or so the story goes.
You enter into a the diner/deli upstairs, which is for more informal (m)eating - TV screens around the room show football games, people eat off trays with their eyes glued to the screens. With a purposefully dull yellow light and the sound of match commentators, it did actually feel like a scene out of some American movie. So early points for authenticity! We got a table in the downstairs restaurant, which is arranged as intimate booths and has a similar all-American vibe to upstairs.
We started with a nacho platter - which had that liquid nacho cheese on it, along with salsa and (squeezy) sour cream, jalapenos and guacamole.
I think generally I prefer real cheese and real sour cream, but maybe this is more authentic of the American experience? I don't know.
For my main course I had Burnt Ends, which are the succulent, charred end pieces of joints of meat (usually brisket) which have been cooked over a smoke pit. They were very juicy, smoky and tender from the cooking process. Served with fries and coleslaw it was a tasty, greasy and satisfying treat. We also enjoyed copious amounts of Bodean's own BBQ sauce, which was very tasty.
For Soho and considering the 'experience' atmosphere of Bodean's, it was a good value meal. The service. The service was good too - even though few of the staff were American, they embraced an all-American attitude to service, which helped complete the experience, although one of the waiter's was a little over attentive and kept popping up to see if we were still enjoying our meal (we were)! I don't have any other smoke pit experiences to compare this to, but I would definitely recommend Bodean's as a good starting point for London-based smoke-seekers.