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Meatballs - A Reason to Roll to Farringdon


Okay, so I'm either prophetic, a trendsetter, or just damn lucky. About two months ago, following my trip to Istanbul, I wrote a post/ song of praise/ love poem/ letter to God/ alcohol fuellled rant extolling the many virtues of the meatballs as a vehicle for serving meat that can be read here.

In said rant, I questioned why London lacks any dedicated meatball restaurants. Low and behold, two months later one has appeared. The restaurant in question has popped up at Exmouth market, a place I've never managed to visit on account of it being too far away from a tube station for my lazy self, in a historic building called The Quality Chop House. The Quality Chop House,  was established in the 1870s, and still shows it. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, it looks like the British version of a diner. In a way its a nice change from all the modern New York loft look, which is so popular, but still its not what I would call a beautiful restaurant.
Given its week-old age, and being located all of 13 minutes away from the nearest tube station (Farringdon), I was shocked to see the place with quite a few people.  The menu, contains several meats and a vegetable balls along with "sides" or "underneaths" and some healthy things The Boyfriend and I completely ignored. The basic price for three balls is £3.95 with each additional ball being £1, sides were equally reasonably priced with the most expensive being £3.95 for egg pappardelle. 

Starving, we ordered three sets, and two sides,  which seemed a fairly large portion judging by the reaction from our charming, check shirt- clad waitress.

The food arrived a little too swiftly, straight after the arrival of our wine,  a factor that could either make this place a fast food joint (which would be unfortunate) or was just due to the lack of full capacity. We really should have done it, ball by ball, as it were, to keep the meal rolling and to drag it out a little.

Swedish Meatballs - The balls, a combination of pork and beef, in a fairly chunky mix, were served in the traditional way on a broth mixed with cream with cranberry jelly. It's been a while since I ate swedish meatballs, a while being 14 or so years, and so have no base with which to reference authenticity but I can happily state that they were delicious. The best of the three we tried - immensley satisfying. A nice slice of focaccia, well seasoned, and oil clad accompanied both the swedish dish and the pork and rosemary.

Beef and Gruyere Meatballs on French Onion Soup -  This was the poorest of the bunch. The meatballs were mini, and the gruyere hard to find, the beef was on the greying tough side and the soup fairly flavourless.  Luckily, this is a special and so thus isn't occupying valuable menu space.

Pork and Rosemary Meatballs served with cream sauce, were satisfying, although the cream sauce added little to the experience, and was barely worth calling a sauce.

Surprisingly, the sides were really quite good. Pearl Barley Risotto was as satisfyng as I've had anywhere and incredibly moreish. Egg Pappardelle, with another absentee sauce, was delicious even more so with the pork meatballs. 

We finished with Lemon Posset, which was average, refreshing after the enormous amount of protein and carbs we had ingested but nothing too special. 

Along with a lovely caraffe of Sauvignon, the bill came to a pleasing £35-ish. Pus £7 for the cab ride back to Covent Garden, and we had just found ourselves the bargain of the year.  Its not as serious, as Sultanahmet Koftecisi, the restaurant that caused me to have a meatball epiphany - the menu has a jokey aspect to it, making the concept seem a tad gimmicky, despite the dedication I'm sure they have to the meatball cause. But nevertheless, its a wonderful place, and I'm sure I'll be back.

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