Two's company. A few words on food, drink and little adventures! @atablefortwoLDN
In your hand you’ve got a tool of over communication. You have the means to reach hundreds of people in seconds. Technology is wonderful, but then it’s always baffling when a restaurant is given an email address that they don’t bother using. Moreover, it’s frustrating when it’s paired with bungling online booking system. However unreachable Bodean’s Tower Hill proved to be, we managed to grab a sought after mid-week table. Inside was a flurry of staff and suits, we went downstairs. Cramp and stifling, but the clientele seemed content so we decided to stick it out. Laminated menus and kitchen roll on the table, were we really in zone 1? It reeked of a poor attempt at ‘rough and ready’. The only place it was comparable to was a branch of Hooters (but less fun).
Fearing some sort of heat related combustion we attempted to order drinks. ‘Two regular sangiovese, please”, the waitress then replied “what size is that, small?”, adding more specifics we said “no, it’s 175ml”. A further look of confusion ensued, we had to point to it on the menu. Soon enough these came, in grease dulled glasses. On taste it would appear that these were suffering the fate of a disorganised chain restaurant bar and had gone to the side of oxidised. The menu was eye catching, all those mouth watering nouns made noteworthy by American popular culture.
Burnt Ends caught the eye as these stand alone in the American Midwest, where whole restaurants are devoted to them. Ribs also a pedigree within the BBQ world were chosen. Visions of sweet sticky mounds of chard but glistening meat filled our imaginations. On arrival the American Dream had lost some weight and vigour. The burnt ends looked like pedigree chum in ketchup, served with fries, coleslaw and some nondescript sauce in a pot. A disheartening sigh was audible from us both. Cheap coleslaw should be banned from all restaurants that don’t have seats bolted to the floor. It doesn’t please the eye or palette. Cabbage, carrots and mayonnaise just get it right. The burnt ends themselves didn’t actually have ‘burnt ends’ or ‘bark’ as it’s known. There was no charing to the meat and frankly tasted like poorly cooked stewing steak instead of succulent brisket. The babyback ribs again suffered the same treatment although incredibly dry. There’s a reason why these restaurants are popular and it’s the fact that you can’t just do barbecue at home all the time. However, you’d probably be able to match Bodean’s product in the freezer section of Iceland.
The service was lifeless, they seemed to have copied the model from large high street chain restaurants. Drinks in a certain amount of time, mains in another. One check-back during mains, finishing with ‘would you like anything else, any deserts, tea or coffee’. You could have written it all out and timed it prior to your visit. Don’t get us wrong, efficiency and form is something to admire. But paired with no personality and a certain degree of coldness you might as well get your dinner from a vending machine.
The bill came, not a weighty sum but anymore and you’d have been insulted. Two cards hit the bill plate signifying the unwritten law of ‘we’re splitting it’, just to be safe we reiterated this point verbally. The sum was an odd number, instead of any mathematical diligence they decided to round the bill up for us. We’ve all worked in various forms of customer service and it’s safe to say that this is an absolute no. Hopefully next time we’ll be able to ask if we can round it down, although I can’t imagine that these payment terms would be too favourable for the establishment.
So why are Bodean’s full? The answer is they have cold beers, sports and meat. This appeals to those in need of a poor-man’s Bullingdon Club, it provides a place where you can act without restraint or conscious. If this appeals to your nature then by all means go, although you’d probably have a better time/food at Weatherspoons.
16 Byward St,