Ok. I can’t be expected to go to a place call ‘Meatballs’ and not make a joke. Because that’s what I do. Although truth be told, away from the interwebs my ball jokes are much more vulgar. Sorry.
Meatballs in Farringdon opened a few months ago and has been in the back of mind as one of the many places to try. The primary appeal is in the name. I like places that clearly explain what they do. The risk in that is if a place invests in one dish that is incorporated into the name, then it better be pretty good.
Located in the former Quality Steak house site (that I never visited), the inside still has the feel of a steak house; all dark timber tables and chairs, we started of with complimentary bruschetta with olive tapanade. A nice start to the meal, the tapenade were lacking a little bit in having any real punch, but this was really due to me having been previously spoiled by an old housemate who would make tapanade with Kalamata olives and the better part of head of garlic. I think that spoiled my tastebuds for all future tapanades.
Milkshakes were in order. Not something I normally order, preferring to save stomach real estate for deserts; the lure of a peanut butter milkshake was too good to pass up. With swirls of chocolate around the glass, the texture wasn’t as think I would like, but it still had a good creamy texture and sated my appetite for shakes for at least the next few months.
My FBF ordered the trio of sliders with the beef and ricotta balls. The report back were they were good, but perhaps a little dry. The other point to note is fries aren’t available. At all. Boo. At one point, a gentleman who was walking around the floor talking to customers, came up to us and enquired how we had heard about the place and was asking us what we thought etc. and the topic of lack of fries came up. Apparently there is not enough room in the kitchen for a deep-fryer, but quite a few people have requested fries. As much as I hate the dependence of fries on a menu, I think if a place offers sliders AND a meatball burger there needs to be fries available.
My choice was 3 different meatballs atop buttered spaghetti. My ball choices were pork +rosemary, chicken, and the Lamb + yoghurt. The definite winner was the lamb + yoghurt. The other 2 were fine, but it’s a hard comparison when the lamb + rosemary were so good! They weren’t particularly moist (gross food word – sorry!) but the lamb flavour came through really well. The buttered spaghetti was also a good choice for working with the balls, and truth be told, I actually preferred this dish to the linguine I had at Jamie’s Italian last week (a meal I won’t be blogging as it was so dark in there and the dish I had was so salty and the linguine so tough. Boo). Even now looking at the picture, I’m reminded of that buttery spaghetti and need to re-create this at home sometime soon.
We still had room for dessert and decided to share the meringue with passionfruit sauce and cream. In my head I had visions of eton mess, but what came was probably more of an Eton Tidy. I maybe wrong, and I don’t want to say anything that isn’t true, but the meringue and passionfruit seemed to be brought in and not made in house. The meringue texture was quite firm and the passion fruit was teeth-screechingly sweet. The cream was quite good in acting a break from all the sweetness.
Meatballs has the groundings to be a great cheap eat, it just needs a few tweaks. I think the format they currently have would lend itself to having a few different branches around London. I can see a format like Meatballs having success in Covent Garden and giving the tourists a familiar dish and an option that ISN’T an Aberdeen steakhouse. Their current location in Farringdon isn’t the best for foot traffic; it’s more of a place that needs to be sought out to give it a try. Service was friendly and the place appears to be a husband + wife team, which I appreciate in London; the price was great but they definitely need to add fries to the menu. I’d definitely go back for the buttered spaghetti again, next time with 3 lamb ball instead of a mixed selection.