The idea came to me whilst I was covered in pig fat, French's mustard and sucking on a root beer. A catalogue, a Blue Peter time capsule, a record of the 101 best things you could put in your mouth in the capital during 2010. I figured some old favourites, some new, some controversial, others democratic, stuff made by professionals, made by me, stuff made by you! As with all ideas that involve a covering of animal fat, I'm not sure if it will go the distance or if I'll think it such a good idea once I've used the lemon scented paper towelette of hindsight but, right now, it amuses me to imagine I'll be able to think of a 101 actual foodstuffs let alone 101 of anything that you'd want to eat in this city.
So, the inaugural entry is a Bodean's Pulled Pork Sandwich eaten sitting at a window seat in the Soho branch. The other newer incarnations of the place are a sanitised version of the original and are best avoided (especially at the weekend where they've become a sort BBQ based creche facility) as the three ring binder enterprises they are. The Soho mother ship still has that bustling, slightly chaotic free-or-all feel, imbuing it with a casual authenticity that really goes beyond the constant ESPN. That you see a large number of ex-pat Americans in the place seems to suggest I'm not imagining things. The downstairs restaurant I'm less keen on, the bustle and noise of the upstairs deli is perfect for this kind of food.
The sandwich itself is all that you'd expect. Feathery chunks of impossibly tender pork shoulder in a white toasted bun with BBQ sauce and, for me, a couple of squirts of mustard. The slightly medicinal sweetness of a root beer cuts though the whole thing beautifully. This is food for the belly and food for the soul, one of the truly great London meat sweats and a pretty much unparalleled slice of the US in the city.