29 Mar The Meatball & Wine Bar, Melbourne CBD
Four years ago Matteo Bruno opened The Meatball & Wine Bar with the intention of focusing on one thing and doing it well. Using the high quality and seasonal ingredients, they pumped out their signature meatballs with great acclaim. The CBD branch of Meatball and Wine Bar, aka CityBalls, has been followed by SmithBalls (Fitzroy) and RichBalls (Richmond) following its success.
A new breakfast menu has just been launched, and we came in to see what a restaurant specialising in meatballs might offer to breakfast and brunch-goers. The interior of Cityballs is rustic, comfortable and warm so we easily settle at a table with some coffee by Dukes.
First to arrive was the Avocado Caprese. Don’t mistake this for your average avo on toast when you glance at its description on the menu. Essentially an avocado caprese salad on toast, it’s a somewhat healthier and lighter option, being bigger on the zingy heirloom tomatoes than the avocado, and fresher on the palate too with the addition of basil and mozzarella. There’s visible quinoa in the bread; not much, but enough to give it a very, very subtle nutty flavour.
On the other side of the spectrum was the Bolognese Toastie – a comforting combination of warm minced beef, parsley and a tomato based sauce in a crunchy vehicle. This is something I’d happily tuck into, especially on those dreary days that I’m sure Melbourne will kindly gift to us in the coming months.
The winner for today was the Breakfast Hero panini – the classic pairing of bacon and egg with an Italian twist. I loved the fragrance of the truffle oil, and the moist, neatly folded and non-rubbery egg. There was a sweetness somewhere in it and I wondered if there was a relish smothered inside. The sweet flavour, even with the basil, was kept in check by the savoury ingredients. The whole thing was so delicious and moreish I secretly wished I didn’t have to share it.
So, not quite meatballs, and probably no wine in the morning either, but the breakfast menu here is solid and offers dishes different from the same-same cafe breakfasts of late. With great sadness I didn’t see the breakfast balls on the sides menu until I’d already left. A bit of a facepalm moment given it’s a meatball restaurant. Oh well. Next time.
Disclaimer: I was invited to The Meatball & Wine Bar as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and are based on my experience at the time
The Meatball & Wine Bar
135 Flinders Ln
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9654 7545