We ummed and aahed between Meatball and Wine Bar and Chin Chin and ended up entering the empty Meatball and Wine to give it a go. It was so empty I had to ask the waitress if they were open and she said they were but with it being Grand Final didn't expect it to be busy. I guess it wouldn't have been appropriate to inform her that Chin Chin was packed and heaving!
Anyway we were shown to a small table against a wall and left to peruse the menu. I like the simplicity of choices - balls, sauce, something for them to sit on or in bread. That's it! But pleasing for all given there are so many different types of balls: fish, veggie, chicken, pork, beef and on the specials board, veal.
I started off with a delightful Limoncello Freeze or something like that - Limoncello, prosecco and lemon sorbet. Delicious.
We shared a charcuterie board of mixed meats - there was prosciutto, fennel salami, truffle salami and some other with warm bread. Really tasty.
- Pasture Fed Angus Beef, Red Italian Tomato, Super Potato Smash
- Chicken (Pistachios, Muscatels, Parmesan), White Creamy, Homemade Pasta
The dishes were pretty tasty. The chicken balls were slightly sweet with a nutty texture here and there thanks to the pistachios and went well with the creamy sauce which wasn't cheesy and not too heavy - just enough to keep things juicy. The beef meatballs were also good with great flavour and well seasoned. The smash was chunky rather than smooth mash but I guess if it was too smooth it would be too similar to polenta.
We shared a caprese salad - Heirloom tomatoes, Mozzarella di Bufala, Basil, Mildura Olive Oil
This was fresh and delicious with mozzarella that was creamy and delicate and not just tasteless and bland which it can fall into the deathtrap of.
Overall this is a great place for a weekend lunch or a post work dinner. I wouldn't say it's destination dining but it's a novel concept executed well. Not overly expensive for its location. Our meal came to less less than $100 and we had a couple of drinks (alcoholic) in the mix. It's also pleasing to most people and there has to be something for everyone. Surely most people like mince whether it's a ball or in a burger form.
The slight let down was the attentiveness of the wait staff. There weren't very many of us in the restaurant and there was just a lack of attention to detail. Good wait staff, in my opinion, anticipate the need so they ask you if you want another drink just as your glass is nearing the end or after they give you a drinks list they return to take your order. The staff were all pre occupied with other duties - one of them was on the phone confirming reservations another was stocking up the bar and because of this we had to chase them up to place a second drinks order and to follow up a missing salad. Steve noticed that our food was sat at the pass for a while before anyone picked it up so perhaps the kitchen needs a louder bell to signify when dishes are ready.
Having said that, we still enjoyed it and when places open there are usually teething issues and none of what we experienced was so terrible. It would have just been an even better experience if the above was done better. I still want to return and would still recommend it.