Balls & Company in Soho
New restaurant concepts aim to set new trends; from the search for completely upcycled interior design to hour-long queueing for a simple bowl of milk and cereal, London foodies always look for something original to experience and – more importantly – talk about.
Chef/owner Bonny Porter of Balls & Company takes what is widely perceived as bad food – meatballs – and reinterprets it in a gourmet style using prime ingredients and casually elegant presentation.
The menu is very simple: five options of meatballs and four sauces. There are no recommended pairings, and that’s because Balls & Company wants to be playful too, letting the diners have fun with all the possible combinations. Each portion consists of four balls and during our visit we decide to try three of them.
The Wagyu is pure meat, 100% wagyu beef, the Japanese variety known for its marbling and exquisite fat. It’s juicy and it tastes delicious – not too different from a burger, but instead of a bun, it invites a more saucy accompaniment. The Thick Cut Chips are its perfect side, to be enjoyed with homemade ketchup and mayonnaise.
The Pork, Ricotta, Parmesan Milk Bread, Pine Nuts, Basil & Sage feels much lighter than it sounds: the meatball texture is rather classic with a predominance of additional elements over the actual meat, however it’s so delicate that you wouldn’t think there was pork in it.
The sauces you can play with are all worth trying, and tip number one would be to ask for all of them to be served on the side. Even the Tomato Classic Sugo tastes intense and natural, with no greasy finish on the palate.
The Salmon, Dill & Seeds – which works perfectly with the Pesto, Basil, Lemon, Garlic, Cashew Nuts – is not what you would expect (ie a fish cake); rather it’s actual salmon, similar to a pan-cooked fillet. And it can also be triple-paired with the Gin Dilla (gin, dill, lemon juice cucumber, salt, fresh lemon balm) cocktail.
For the greedy, there’s also a small but delicious selection of desserts. Being a chocolate junkie, I let the Brownie, Persian Fairy Floss, Purbeck Vanilla Bean Ice Cream tempt me: it respects rule number one – chocolate desserts need to strongly taste of chocolate – and the fluffy Persian candy floss reminds me of my childhood. However, it’s the Mixed Berries, Topped With Loupiac Sabayon that steals the show. Pouring the thick, creamy sabayon over the berries is an immense pleasure.
Balls & Company is your perfect lunch-break stop; a portion of four meatballs costs £8 and even with a dessert and a coffee you can easily keep it well within a £20 allowance. Or if you walk by Greek Street, step in for a drink in the sleek basement.★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
For further information about Balls & Company, 58 Greek St, London W1D 3DY, call 020 7851 6688 or visit here.