Balls & Company (CLOSED)
Time Out says
A restaurant specialising in meatballs of different kinds (some containing no meat).
Please note, Balls & Company has now closed. Time Out Food editors, January 2018.
Two thoughts are immediately prompted by this brand-new meatball specialist in Soho. One is that the name pretty much begs to be the subject of puerile jokes. The second is that ‘single-dish’ restaurants (in reality, they do many dishes) have been a London fad for so long you’d think there surely isn’t anything new to add to the mix of fried chicken, hot dogs, and toasted cheese sandwiches. But there is. Please welcome Balls & Company, our first meatball specialist.
Specialising can sometimes be little more than a gimmick, a way of saying ‘look at me!’ to trend-chasing food groupies. Balls & Company is in a different league. This is a proper restaurant, with a highly skilled chef, that happens to specialise in meatballs. Or, more accurately, balls, as they’re not all meat.
Why meatballs? Why the hell not? There can’t be a single meat-eating cuisine that doesn’t have its own version of meatballs. Useful as a way of using tougher cuts and scraps of trim, they’re also a delight in themselves: infinitely adaptable in seasoning and saucing, pliant partners for any starchy accompaniment.
Chef-owner Bonny Porter was a finalist in Australian ‘MasterChef’ in 2012. So it’s probably not surprising that her take on meatballs is international in outlook. When we went, there were four types: pork, chicken, salmon or quinoa. We had two, both expertly cooked and individually flavoured – perky dill in the salmon, pine nuts in the pork – served as four small balls in a little copper pan. There are also four sauces to choose from. The straight-ahead sugo (Italian tomato sauce) would make many a mamma nod approvingly.
It’s not just a load of balls here, however. Side dishes cost £4, and spaghetti and crunchy onion rings (a special) were spot-on. We drank another special, their irreverent take on iced coffee, with mildly astonished enthusiasm at the addition of tonic water. The short dessert menu believes that Rich is Good.
Service was friendly and eager, and the look of the place is understated and lovely, with soft, muted colours. The tiny ground-floor room is for dining but there’s a small bar downstairs where you can just have a drink: cocktails if you like, or wine from a short, painlessly priced list.
Some of the new ultra-specialised restaurants will be a mere flash in the pan. Balls & Company? Well, we never like to make predictions. But we have a feeling these balls will keep on rolling.
58 Greek Street
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