Posted by: mikeydude | January 9, 2010

Bodean’s Tower Hill Restaurant Review (5.5/10)

BBQ Ribs in icey London

It’s the winter deep freeze in London and our trip here was a rather anxious one as some of the trains were cancelled. We managed to track down this American style ribhouse that was extremely conveniently located yards from the excellent Apex Hotel where we stayed at Tower Hill. Turns out Bodean’s is a small chain that has made a lasting impression on various UK food bloggers. The interesting thing was that I only recently tried a renowned BBQ house in NY called Daisy May’s which turned out disappointing. Expectations were low on this occasion and I ended up enjoying the meal a whole lot more!

I thought the place looked a bit deserted when I first walked in. It really reminded me of Daisy May’s in New York in both the menu items and the ambience. However I was soon corrected as there are stairs down loading to an almost packed dining room with plush black leather seats! The waiters are all pleasant and keen to help. Here’s what we ordered;

Baby Back Ribs & Burnt Ends Combo served with Coleslaw and Fries

The portions of meat were not absolutely massive as I thought they would be, but an adequate amount to fill us up and leave room for dessert!

The pork ribs were a little on the bland side, but rescued by the various choices of sauces available. I also think they were a little overdone. The burnt ends were delicious chunks of tenderised beef brisket that were flashed in the BBQ for a charcoal finish. This was delicious and the BBQ sauce that was served with it augmented the flavours well. The chips were nice and crispy. The coleslaw was very good actually; much better than that junk they serve you at KFC sometimes. The vegetables actually tasted crunchy and recently made!

My biggest criticism of this dish was that it was only warm when it arrived on our table. Ok partially my fault as there was a little bit of an ordering hash up as I ordered upstairs and the food actually went up there before being brought down by the waiters, but it really did compromise the eating experience. I also wonder whether the ribs in particular dried out whilst it was stuck up there. I wonder how long they were up there for!

BBQ Beef Ribs served with Chips & Coleslaw

Pahhh… only now do I truly cherish those excellent Oklahama Beef Ribs I had in Daisy May’s New York which suffered the full heat of my criticism (review here). Those ribs was so deliciously tender and flavoursome with the perfect amount of fat for succulence.

The beef ribs at Bodeans were a bit bland and relatively chewy. Again I wonder if they were spoilt by ‘over-resting’. Meat was also rather scanty compared to the large (almost rib-eye) chunk of beef that was served in New York.

Macadamia with Chocolate Cheesecake

I found this a little odd-tasting. I don’t think the Macadamia nut combines well with cheese and rich chocolate in this context due to its already creamy fragrant flavour. I also prefer my cheesecakes wonderfully smooth and light as opposed to this that contained large chunks of nuts in it. We finished it nonetheless, but it was far from excellent.

Eli’s Original Cheesecake

This was much better, but being such a dessert amateur I was still unable to differentiate it from the Waitrose version, except for price! The cheesy layer was mild and creamy which combined excellently with the biscuit base. However even I confidently say that it couldn’t compare with Porterhouse New York cheesecake which had such a perfectly thin and light biscuit base.

Overall portion sizes of the desserts were somewhat small for an American diner and at those prices so slight disappointment there.

So the total cost came to approximately £35 including service and 1 bottled beer. A bit pricey for a rib house i think that served far from perfect dishes. Don’t get me wrong I still had a great meal and I think this was solely due to my expectations. However reviewing the restaurant I need to put on my critique hat and hence all the negative comments. I would probably return, but just for the takeaway £10 deal.


Bodean’s Tower Hill
16 Byward Street

Tel: 020 7488 3883

Opening Hours:

Tower Hill Dining Room
Mon. to Fri.: Noon to 3pm / 5pm to 10pm
Saturday: 5pm to 10pm
Sunday: Closed

Tower Hill Deli & Takeaway
Mon. to Fri.: Noon to 3pm / 5pm to 10pm
Saturday: Noon to 10pm
Sunday: Noon to 5pm


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