Skip to main content

Meatball & Wine Bar Richmond

My Mum's meatballs are pretty awesome. Mine are... okay. Considering they are effectively just lumps of meat, it's hard to see how anyone could turn them into AMAZE-balls and make a whole restaurant out of them. But add Wine, and I'll give anything a go.*

The original Meatball & Wine Bar on Flinders Lane opened roughly a year and a half ago (? CITATION NEEDED! -- oh shit, this isn't Wiki) to a strong reception, and still seems to be going well. I have heard a few "Meh, it's okay"-s, but equally as many, if not more, positive responses, and was keen to sample these balls. (By the way, it's near impossible to write or talk about this place without sounding naughteeeeee... but you can have a lot of fun with it.) Fortunately, MWB recently opened a second venue at 105 Swan Street, Richmond - so close to my work, I had no more excuses not to play ball. (Okay, that was bad, sorry.)

I don't know what the city venue's like, but the Richmond Meatball & Wine Bar is housed in what used to be Bess, a corner-site restaurant I always thought looked nice, but never had the balls to venture into. (Are we tallying these??) It's a sparse, airy space, which the owners have played up with cool white bricks, a partly-exposed cement wall and neon lighting.


Strong textural materials like brown leather, dark wood, wrought iron, and copper finishes warm it up. There is lots of natural light and, over a partial black-and-white-checkered floor, the vibe is clean, relaxed and grown-up, but moody enough to be sexy.

Our meal was a midweek lunch, so we kept it light. A friendly, chilled-out staffer dude recommended a delicious white wine special with toasted almond overtones - very quaffable. Then a bubbly, funky, English waitress explained the menu and, although the restaurant became quite busy, she did a great job of working quickly and efficiently, but never making you feel as though you were on limited time, or not special. I HATE FEELING NOT SPECIAL I liked this girl.

M for Marvellous

The general idea is that you choose your balls (pork, beef, chicken, fish or veg... I know, right, some interesting ones in there), then your sauce (red, white or green... don't worry, they taste better than they sound), and finally your sotto palle (base) (beans, polenta, potato smash, pasta, or veg). It's a choose-your-own-ballsventure. It's not balls-only, though; other menu options include cured meats, mozzarella, sliders, mini balls, jerky, sides, and the excellent dessert offering of a Whoopie Mac (sadly something I have not yet sampled, but fully intend to rectify).

Old-school American style fonts

Well, I was dubious. I mean, HOW GOOD COULD BALLS REALLY BE?!

Answer: Pretty darn-tootin' good.

Despite being simple in theory, it was quite difficult to choose our balls, so we shared stuff. We had...

Chicken balls with red sauce on potato smash

The chicken balls had pistachio and parmesan in them... surprisingly DELICIOUS.

Slider special: pulled lamb

I've normally only had pulled pork before, never lamb. It was much drier than pork, but I liked that, and its flavour went perfectly with the cute l'il brioche buns.

Even though we came out full, I felt like I hadn't tried enough of the multitude of flavours available. So, we went back again for lunch the following week (!) and this time, were not quite as light with our choices.

We started with an amazing burata. It's basically a white cheese ball tied up at the top, like a money bag, and soft on the inside so when you break it, it oozes everywhere (oh lordy). It was served with little gritty, nutty bits, which were a great contrast in texture. My friend described it as a "tasteless egg", or a "cheese water balloon"... I think he liked it, but I thought it was amazing. I'd go back just for that. Burata-me, baby.

The artistic just-happened-to-leave-my-cutlery-like-this shot

We tried different meatballs and sliders this time:

Pork, fennel and orange balls with white sauce on polenta... SO rich and creamy

Delicious crusty bread to mop up the leftovers

Wild boar and mushy pea sliders... taaaaaaaaaastyyyyyyy

The staff kindly indulged my photo-taking. This particular shot reminded me of the decor at Casa Ciuccio. Must be the animal pic.

To add to the overall feel-good experience, a bit of Shazza and the Dap-Kings was playing overhead and I got a warm-and-fuzzy.

Not even a ball-related one.

*Almost anything. My housemate is yet to convince me that I should skydive.

Meatball & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Popular posts from this blog

Spice Temple

Spice Temple  Neil Perry's Fine Dining Chinese Restaurant at Crown, Southbank, Melbourne
It's considered an institution in Melbourne, and with a chef to its name like Neil Perry, a location like Southbank, and an existence of six years in the Melbourne restaurant scene (when staying power is notoriously elusive), it's no wonder. Spice Temple's name is a pretty accurate description of the restaurant: food heavy in spices and spiciness; a dim space with a sort of hushed reverence.

The quiet tone of Spice Temple (Shop 7, Crown Complex, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank) could well be due to its design. With lots of dark wood and more traditional red and gold carpet, one might be forgiven for thinking it's a little dated. What keeps it current is the symmetrical and perpendicular fittings, creating neat squared-off eating nooks, and the dark, felt-like soundproofing material spaced out overhead, muffling any white noise.

Walking into the restaurant's reception area, yo…

Mr. Miyagi

It's the place that was made infamous by the 'chopsticks incident' last December, where a young Richmond Tigers AFL player drunkenly threatened to attack a woman dining nearby with his chopsticks. But of course, Mr. Miyagi had already developed a cult following well before that.

Opening in October 2013 on the ever-so-hip Windsor portion of Chapel Street, and tickling nostalgic fancies with its reference to 1984 classic The Karate Kid, the restaurant has enjoyed a steady stream of customers since. I remember stopping by with a friend one Thursday night mid last year to enquire about a table, and we were told it would be a two-hour wait. Well! Either this place is really good, I thought, or really good at hype.

I made a calculated plan with friends to score a table there on a Friday night recently. I rocked up nice and early, 6:45pm-ish, and put my name down for a table. They advised the wait would be approximately an hour, probably less, noted down my mobile number and enco…

Saint Crispin

When Smith Street had just become a local area for me, I used to walk past Cavallero and think about how I 'must try that place soon'. But as everyone knows, Smith Street (and surrounds) is not short of venues, and I must have been busy checking out all the others first, because before I knew it, Cavallero had closed and I had missed my chance. Apparently it had been struggling. Who then, would dare to take on the site, and what would they make of it? Smith Street is a prime location, but it's also full of competition. This would have to be good.

Enter Scott Pickett (Estelle Bistro) and Joe Grbac (The Press Club). Two chefs who used to work together at London's fancy-pants The Square (which boasts not one, but two Michelin stars), they joined forces to open a brand new venue as both business partners and co-head chefs. The result: Saint Crispin (300 Smith Street, Collingwood).

Named for the patron saint of shoemakers, Saint Crispin acknowledges its site's origins a…