The use of small diameter whole-culm (bars) and/or split bamboo (a.k.a. splints or round strips) has often been proposed as an alternative to relatively expensive reinforcing steel in reinforced concrete. The motivation for such replacement is typically cost—bamboo is readily available in many tropical and sub-tropical locations, whereas steel reinforcement is relatively more expensive—and more recently, the drive to find more sustainable alternatives in the construction industry. This review addresses such ‘bamboo-reinforced concrete’ and assesses its structural and environmental performance as an alternative to steel reinforced concrete. A prototype three bay portal frame, that would not be uncommon in regions of the world where bamboo-reinforced concrete may be considered, is used to illustrate bamboo reinforced concrete design and as a basis for a life cycle assessment of the same. The authors conclude that, although bamboo is a material with extraordinary mechanical properties, its use in bamboo-reinforced concrete is an ill-considered concept, having significant durability, strength and stiffness issues, and does not meet the environmentally friendly credentials often attributed to it.