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Facebook recently reminded me it’s been two years since my friend Harry and I went to Bodean’s and ordered five sides. Five. Between two, in addition to a huge plate of BBQ meat each which, yes, already came with sides. I recently showed my mate Tom (of Foulder Online) the wondrous ways of the world of Bodean’s for the first time, and it struck me I’ve never actually written about my love for the place other than random comments or tweets screaming ‘BODEAN’S I LOVE BODEAN’S’ into the void. I assume everyone knows about Bodean’s because they’ve been around for years now and have quite a few outposts, but then I think, ‘God, what if you don’t? What if you don’t know and you’re missing this amazing meat mecca in your life?’ So here we are.

I’m going to start with the drinks first, because without fail the first thing I do when I reach any Bodean’s is order a margarita straight up, with salt. Let me tell you, they know this cocktail. I’d like to tell you they know all their cocktails, but I couldn’t, because I only ever have the margs. I’m not steering off piste when my favourite cocktail is that good. For those who don’t want to plough their way through the long cocktail list they also serve a wealth of American beers and ales, as well as a decent offering of reds and white wines.

And then, of course, there’s the meat – the star of this all American show. Look around and you’ll see huge racks of ribs smothered in their house smokey BBQ sauce, towering burgers, foot long hot dogs. The smell as you walk past other diners to your table is genuinely saliva inducing. My go-to is forever the pulled pork with burnt ends combo (£13.95): tender meat that falls apart at the softest of nudges from your fork, full of flavour and never, ever dry. It’s a tough pick from an extensive menu, but I can personally highly recommend any platter of meat they offer, and if you’re into hot dogs, Tom assures me the chilli cheese dog (£8.25) is more than up to scratch.

But back to these five sides. If you want to truly experience a Bodean’s feast to its greatest potential, order extra sides. That time Harry and I went a tad overboard (no regrets), we ordered sweet potato fries, macaroni cheese, cornbread (oh God I love cornbread), BBQ beans with extra pulled pork (I know) and onion rings, because of course. All were excellent, but the onion rings and cornbread are a must. Needless to say that what with all that and several margaritas, I’ve never made it to dessert, though the menu is made up of American classics such as pecan pie and New York style cheesecake. You don’t go to Bodean’s for the sweets though, you go for the meat. And then you keep going back.


Locations in Soho, Tower Hill, Balham, Old Street, Fulham, Clapham and Covent Garden. For addresses and specific opening times for each restaurant visit the website.

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Europe Florence Food From Travels Italy

Il Santino

Writing this at my desk with a shitty salad on the cards for lunch is essentially torture, for a mere week ago I ate one of the best lunches I have ever eaten. Also, I was in Florence, which is infinitely preferable to sitting at a cubicle in a skyscraper in East London.

A wine bar that essentially specialises in Tuscan tapas, Il Santino sits just past sister restaurant Il Santo Bevitore, which is much bigger but have heard just as good tales about. I was the first one in Il Santino (technically I was five minutes early, keen as I was) yet within ten minutes all four of the small tables inside the wine bar were taken. This is clearly a hot destination for locals as well as for tourists in the know, for the two couples sat next to me were Australian.

The menu is in Italian, though the friendly owner happily offered to explain it to me in English. After a brief run down of the range of crostones (or crostini) and tartars they had on offer, as well as an enticing gesture toward the cheese and meat display, I ordered the pecorino, pancetta and honey crostini and asked him to pull together a selection of meats and cheeses on a platter as well. Holy mother of God. That crostini  is one of the most delicious things I’ve tasted in Europe, let alone Italy. And it cost…six euros. Six. Less than five pounds for one of the best things I’ve tasted on the continent…or perhaps the world, actually, the more I think about it. Fresh, thickly sliced, lightly toasted bread with melted pecorino cheese and fine slices of pancetta, drizzled in light honey. I honestly cannot believe I’ve gone my whole life without adding honey to meat and cheese, because it was a revelation. It was one of those meals that I can still taste now, and suspect I will always be able to, like the ricotta and spinach ravioli in sage butter at my friend’s Tuscan wedding, or Dishoom’s lamb raan bun.

The meat and cheese selection (€11) was expertly picked and assembled for me, the meat slice fresh from large hunks of pig leg mere metres away and paired with a beautiful chutney I forgot to ask the name of (still kicking myself about it now). The wine (€6 a glass) was of course, fantastic, because Italy, and the service wonderful.

Il Santino is the perfect hideaway from the harsh Tuscan high summer sun, be it for lunch by yourself with only a book and several glasses of crisp Pinot Grigio for company, or with a friend or partner crowded closely around a small table, whiling away the hours. It is some kind of heaven, and I implore you to go and have one of the best lunches of your life there, too.

 Via di Santo Spirito, 60, Firenze FI, Italy
+39 055 230 2820

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London Street Food


Oh my God oh my God please eat this. Please go to Smokestak and eat their meat. I haven’t even tried their pulled pork or their ribs and yet I am saying this with the utmost confidence because if they’re halfway as good as their beef brisket is, you will thank me forever.

I would go far as to say that Smokestak’s Beef Brisket Bun is one of the best things I’ve ever had in my mouth. In my body. In my hands, the juice from the beautiful  tender meat drizzling down the side of the charred brioche bun, pickled chillies poking out – a sure sign that this will be a messy meal. As all the best meals are.

Luckily for us mere mortals, Smokestack have the magical ability to crop up in two places at once, meaning that Londoners can take advantage of this brilliant fare in two locations every weekend at Streetfeast’s Model Market in Lewisham and Dalston Yard in, well, Dalston, as well as at various festivals on the summer circuit. Go. Please go. I implore you to go. Take all your friends. Take your date. Take your parents and treat them, because you’re an adult now, and also because you get one of the most delicious things in London in your mouth all for less than a tenner, so really there’s no excuse. I’d pay twenty.

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