The Meatball Bar is on the way!
As soon as I heard a restaurant devoted to meatballs was opening in Perth, it bumped itself to the top of my ‘I really want to eat at this place’ list. I’m not entirely sure why. I mean I do like meatballs but more than anything I had been to the Meatball Wine Bar in Melbourne and I had such high hopes that the Perth version would kick similar goals. And I’m not someone wishing and hoping by any means that Perth “Melbournizes” itself, I quite like Perth just being it’s Perthy self, but I had liked my visit to a meatball focused place on a visit to Melbourne. So that’s just some background about that…
In the lead up to our visit I’d heard a lot of positive reports on social media, so I was looking forward to finally calling in. GG and I went for lunch the other weekend and I really like what they have done with the space. It’s quite a happening little strip now, with Jus Burgers and Pinchos so close by. While The Meatball Bar looks quite small from the front, it was more spacious than I had expected when we wandered inside. Plenty of rustic exposed brick and swirly text scrawled on the wall.
We arrived early, a touch after 11.30am and perched ourselves at high stools near the front window so we could watch the world go by while we ate our lunch.
The Meatball Bar is still waiting for a liquor licence which means they currently offer free BYO, which is a great bonus and if you forget to take something there is a bottle shop up from the corner of Oxford and Vincent. Being quite early on a Saturday we just stuck with a refreshing lemon, lime and bitters on our visit.
Menus were promptly delivered and you make your decisions and place ticks or crosses, whatever takes your fancy really, next to the dishes you’d like. Wanting to try a little of this and a little of that, we ordered the Bocconcini fritters, pesto ($12) from the Let’s Get The Ball Rolling section, along with the Fried Squid, garlic salt, mayonnaise ($15) from the Starters and finally from the Meatball offerings we went with a serve of the Classic beef, Napoli sauce ($18) and also the Chicken, forest mushroom sauce ($18). Oh and Iceberg Salad with Vinaigrette ($8) from the A Little On the Side section. We really had all our bases covered.
First to appear were the Bocconcini Fritters and there were three carefully arranged on the plate with a generous dollop of bright green pesto and also some fresh basil leaves. They were wonderful! I’m a big fan of cheese and as pan frying is divine for haloumi, it would appear that deep frying for bocconcini is similarly as magical. I really liked the freshness from the basil pesto too, it had such a beautiful flavour and paired really well with the crispy cheese ball.
It was my intro to what the Meatball Bar was dishing up and I thought it was a winner. Next was the squid. Now I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it before but if squid is on a menu in a starter section then GG and I tend to always order it, essentially so we can benchmark it against squid at other venues, given that it is a popular entrée inclusion. They’d done a nice job here, the batter was light and crispy and there was definitely a punchy amount of garlic on the go that would keep vampires at bay. We enjoyed it but it didn’t really set itself apart from other fried squid we’ve had elsewhere. Perhaps could have done with a little more spice just to lift it a bit in the flavour stakes.
But it was main event time now – roll up, roll up the meatballs were here. A serve of meatballs is three balls in a bowl with the accompanying sauce. Now I’ll admit I did think that perhaps the price was a touch on the high side for three meatballs sans spag. But maybe they would be the best meatballs I had ever had. I started with the more classic beef meatballs with a tomatoey sauce combination. They were nice meatballs, a decent size and were fairly tasty and again I welcomed the fresh basil leaves on top. While they didn’t quite knock my socks off I did enjoy them.
We were brought out some complimentary bread by our very friendly waitress at this point and it was very welcome to mop up the rich Napoli sauce.
Now with the chicken meatballs, I didn’t mind these, but I’ll admit I’d eaten a fair bit at this point and so I couldn’t put much of a dent in the chicken balls with their rich, creamy mushroom sauce.
Having said that, it was pleasant to end with the salad, quite refreshing. It is as the name suggests, just big wedges of iceberg lettuce, though the vinaigrette was nice and zesty.
I didn’t mind our first visit to The Meatball Bar, the staff had been so attentive and friendly. I quite enjoyed our lunch and it’s not as though we left hungry by any means. Hmmm… I suspect part of the issue here was that I went in with the memory of another meatball restaurant relatively fresh in my mind. The bocconicini fritters were the real stand out for me, I could have eaten a dozen of them. If you are keen to head in and check it out, then The Meatball Bar does have a great special on offer from now through to the end of October, where you can get 50% off the price of meatballs on weekdays between 5 – 6.30pm for take away orders. Just head to their Facebook page for all the details.