Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right The Bowler

The Bowler

Restaurants, Fast food outlets Seven Dials
4 out of 5 stars
(11user reviews)
The Bowler
Jael Marschner

Time Out says

A tiny meatball specialist on the northern border of Covent Garden, the first permanent site for a successful street-food operator.

Please note, The Bowler is now closed. Time Out Eating & Drinking editors, September 2016.

Jez Felwick may end up as a case study in the street-food module of the Business Studies A-level. Work in day job fails to satisfy completely; brief formal training in cookery is followed by various gigs in the street-food biz; finally hits on a proposition he can make his own: meatballs with globe-trotting flavourings. Cue busy schedule catering at events, festivals, etc. Cue cookbook. Cue: ‘Adios, day job!’

And now cue a permanent site, in a location packed with hordes of hungry office workers. It’s a tiny space, just ten or so stools at the window counter and a couple of tables outside. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in ballsy impact.

The Bowler offers five regular options at lunchtime, plus a daily special and a few breakfast dishes. They come in pitta bread, on rice, or on salad, at prices starting from £4.49 for the vegetarian ‘Balafel’: chickpeas, spinach and ricotta partnered with bulgur wheat, tomato sauce, mint yoghurt, red onion and pickles. Weighing no more than a smallish rhinoceros, it was total sensory overkill. And I died with a smile on my face, even if the excellent pitta fell apart completely by the end.

Green chilli chicken balls lacked wowiness (underpowered accompaniments), but beef and chorizo balls and lamb and feta kofte were both tip-top. Extensive sampling has convinced me that it’s better to wrap the balls in bread rather than rest them on rice. The sole dessert is a yum yum, the ever-popular twisted doughnut.

The Bowler is already popular (not surprising) and when it’s rammed, the smiling, helpful service can slow down a little. Which is fine if you’re sitting down but not so hot if you need to grab and run. At the time of writing they were planning to open a service hatch which should take pressure off service in the room.

The Bowler is not the West End’s first balls specialist. That would be Balls & Company in Soho, which we took to enthusiastically. Bowler is a different bowl of balls, a fast-casual/takeaway whereas B&C is a proper sit-down restaurant. There’s room enough for both approaches. And don’t be surprised if someone tries to put a third ball in play: the whole world seems to love these globes.

Details

Address: 1 Monmouth St
London
WC2H 6DA
Transport: Tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square
Do you own this business?

Users say (11)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|11
1 person listening
Tastemaker

The Bowler has been on my pop up hit list for a while now and today they were guest chef at our work canteen! The choice was small but I think it works that way in their normal vans? A choice between Thai chicken meatballs with coconut sauce or pork and beef meatballs with tomato sauce served with rice, coleslaw and crispy onions.

I went for a medium beef and pork priced at £4.50 which wasn't bad and was quite big and very filling
The flavours of the meatballs were so good! As was sauce. 
My friend got the chicken meatball and said it was good however it didn't look very appealing (very pale) and the sauce looked runny
I would definitely buy again for a lunch but wouldn't go out my way to hunt them down and they aren't on par with some of the other lunch time places I've been to!
Staff Writer

Stumbled into the Bowler by chance after struggling to find something a little different for lunch, so glad I did!


The beef and chorizo meatball pitta was amazing, despite the overuse of coleslaw. There's so much variety, it's tempted me back multiple times already and will do for months to come.


Great place to grab a quick lunch if you work nearby. Various options of meatballs. I think the Pork & Beef are great served with fresh spinach or rice and a spicy sauce. Not a lot of space to sit down and eat in but with tables outside it gives some extra places to sit and eat quickly. Decent value for a hot filling lunch at £6....canned drinks are expensive though.

Tastemaker

After having had some of The Bowler's divine meatballs in the past when this place was a mere street food cart, I was over the moon to find it now has permanent home where I can get my fix of juicy, meaty balls a five minute walk from work. #winning.

For just over a fiver, you can have a hearty, warming lunch which is packed full of flavour. These are not meatballs as you know them; of course there is the classic meatball, but there is a constantly changing array of inventive yet still delicious varieties, such as lamb & feta, thai curry balls and spinach, chickpea and ricotta balls for those veggies who secretly wish they weren’t. Served in a box, bun or pitta with crunchy slaw, mouth-watering sauces and fresh veg, each combo is an absolute triumph. What is so great, is with every bite you can taste the quality of the ingredients and the careful balance of flavours.

Prepare to be ‘bowled’ over by this tiny little eatery in Covent Garden. And with a scrumptious breakfast menu and delivery service, I think it will be here to stay. 

Tastemaker

mmm the lamb kofta meatballs with feta and hummus, mint yogurt, pickles on a bed of bulgur.. so hearty. dreaming of their bowls right now writing this review.

moderatorStaff Writer

The veggie balls I had with the rice wasn't 'all that', though it was still far more interesting and reasonably priced (at under a fiver) than your standard sandwich or salad. The medium size was perfectly filling for lunch and the staff were friendly and efficient. 


Will definitely be back to taste the others mentioned in the review. Maybe even grab a beer too - they have a small but appealing selection of craft ones, including Beavertown and Gamma Ray. 

Tastemaker

Meatballs are bang on trend just now and The Bowler is one of the better places to get them. You can have it in a box or in a pitta, both with a nice coleslaw and rice. I forget the name but I had the spicy ones and they were quite hot - but they were also tasty and filling and not too expensive. I think somewhere around the 5-6 quid mark if I remember correctly. 

Staff Comp

So glad this place opened up just around the corner from the office - see ya Pret! 

The Bowler delivers very tasty balls indeed (I went for the Lamb & Feta box), and they make a perfect winter warmer.

I will be back soon to try the brunch box!


I had lovely Thai chicken balls in rice. My only criticism is that the portion was a bit too small: two balls for a small? Come on babes, I'm off the carbs! 


Dicks all over the pitta at Sesame, which I was disappointed by. They use the same, incredibly light and fluffy bread here but the fillings are big and punchy - go for the lamb kofte and feta. The only gripe? Not enough heat - but they do put bottles of sriracha on the tables. Use liberally! 

Tastemaker

I was out of the country when The Bowler opened, but I managed to learn all about it from my boyfriend who called me almost daily to tell me about the amazing lunch he'd just had from this place! So obviously when I returned after two weeks away, the first place he took me to was The Bowler, to try out one of their meatball stuffed pittas. Naturally my expectations had been risen by my fella and I didn't want to be left disappointed. I mean, could it really live up to the hype!? Yes is bloody could!


On my first visit (yes I too have now paid multiple visits!) I went for the beef and chorizo filled pita which was rich with a gorgeously warm meaty sauce - the owner was in there and his passion shone through as he requested as much feedback as possible. Was the meat good? Succulent and delicious, yes! Had the filling been evenly distributed - (something he said they're struggling with) well it could do with a little reworking - all the coleslaw doesn't reach your mouth until the end when all the meaty goodness has been devoured! Is it good value? Definitely at just under £5.50 - a brilliantly flavoursome filling lunch - waaaay better than a sarnie from Pret!


I also tried the green chilli chicken pitta - again the filling distribution was off - it took about 4 bites of my pitta before I reached my filling, but when I finally got to it, the flavours were fragrant, a little sweet, juicy and creamy. Cheaper this time at under a fiver. The pittas they use are perfectly fluffy, warm and so much better than the ones I toast at home for my hummus!


I think this place could be my new semi-daily go to for lunch. They've nailed the flavours, the prices are more than reasonable and the staff are friendly and excited by their new covent garden location. They deserve the long lunch time queues that we've now stood in several times.

Snap up exclusive discounts in London

Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long...