Bonny Porter (Australian Masterchef finalist) founded Balls & Company located in the heart of a London foodie’s heaven, Soho. This is one of Greek Streets hidden gems. You could easily miss this discrete restaurant with no idea of the amazing food you’re missing out on. After tasting the food and experiencing how busy the restaurant becomes, there is definitely no need for a loud shop front- the flavoursome food speaks for itself drawing plenty of diners in.
The concise menu is dedicated to small pans of meatballs (or for the vegetarians: veggieballs). Meatballs are versatile and can be prepared in a number of ways making them a classic feature of many cuisines. Balls & Company cleverly showcases their versatility using simple concepts and rich flavours.
We were warmly welcomed on a Friday evening around 5:30pm and seated straight away. The décor is effortless and simple ensuring the food is the main focus. The restaurant space is generally quite small with tightly packed tables. It became a lot busier after 6pm so it’s best to arrive early if possible. There is also a bar downstairs to enjoy a drink while you wait. We were sat by the kitchen allowing us to have a sneak peak of the fun food preparation in the buzzing kitchen.
We started with complimentary thin and extra crispy parsnip curly crisps which were great to nibble on while we waited for our meal.
The menu is easy: diners pick a meatball style and an accompaniment sauce as well as some sides or seasonal specials. This allows for experimentation with different combinations of balls and sauces and there are lots of mouth-watering vegetarian sides and specials to choose from.
Veggieballs: There is one vegetarian balls option on the menu: quinoa, beetroot and feta balls. I chose the Romesco sauce (red pepper, tomato, garlic, hazelnut and almonds). The other sauce options, including tomato and pesto, sounded equally as tempting and I’m sure they would have tasted great creating completely different dishes.
This combo was delicious! So flavoursome and it worked very very well together.
If there is a place that can make meatballs look elegant, Balls & Company is it! The small pans used to serve the food were perfect for four meatballs. The purple from the beetroot and the orange coloured romesco sauce created a superbly presented vibrant dish. My only criticism is that I would have liked a bit more sauce as it can get a bit dry.
For the non-veggies: My friend had the chicken balls with pesto sauce and spoke very highly of her meal!
We ordered 2 of the seasonal specials which were both excellent.
Sweet potato gratin: I love sweet potato so this was a safe special to try. Tasty and I loved the crunchy crumble on top of the thinly sliced layered sweet potato. I can’t stop thinking about this dish.
Artichoke purée: This was sensational (if you like artichoke which I do). A light, smooth purée garnished with mushrooms and oil.
Brownie: A rich chocolate and nutty brownie with Purbeck vanilla ice cream and Persian fairy floss.This was amazing. I wasn’t a big fan of the candy floss which resembled Grandma’s hair (but I’ve never loved candy floss). The brownie stole the show from the desserts for me. It was served warm and perfectly gooey.
Cheesecake: Cheesecake with berry compote and a caramelised sugar hat. Delicious!
Both desserts were presented in a decorative and fun way (as if they had wigs on) reflecting the restaurants theme of encouraging experimentation with simple dishes.
Summary: A unique restaurant which has successfully made the casual meatball an elegant and playful dish. Delicious rich flavours and fantastic service. Although there is only one type of veggie meatball, all the sauce options are vegetarian and the vast selection of veggie sides/specials will not leave you going hungry. The dishes do look small but everything was surprisingly filling. I would recommend everything I had. Now it’s time to plan my next visit to try the rest of the menu!
Reservations: No reservations unless it is in the evening for 8 or more people. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Greek Street, Soho. Closest tube stations: Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Circus.
Perfect for: Dinner with friends, date night.