Flinders Lane seems to be the place for happening restaurants in Melbourne at the moment, and the Meatball and Wine Bar is no different. A dedicated artisan meatball venue, they know a thing or two about simplicity done just right. It's a small yet warm space where exposed brick, communal tables and quiet booths make it inviting for day and night.
The menu starts with a range of cured meats, including capocollo (14.50 for 40gm) and truffle salami (14.50 for 40gm) as well as a selection of mozzarella from fior de latte ($12.50) to mozzerella de bufala ($14.50). But let's be honest: the real draw card here is the balls. You can stay simple with your choice of balls (pork, beef, chicken, fish and vegetable) with either red, white or green sauce ($15) or add any side including Italian beans, creamy polenta, handmade pasta or a market special vegetable ($18) for something a little heartier. It has to be said here, the meatball sliders are a little bit special ($16 for three). Local and fresh produce are important to these guys and they are using Lilydale chicken, Black Berkshire pork and beef from O'Connor in Victoria. The dessert menu keeps in theme with the 'whoopie mac', where a ball of ice cream — flavour of your choice, of course — is sandwiched between two cookies.
No meatball and wine bar would be complete without a wine list. With a heavy Italian focus sip on Prosecco Farra de Soligo, Veneto ($10 a glass), or a 2010 sangiovese from Tuscany ($10). 250ml and 500ml sizes are served up, in true Italian spirit.
The Meatball and Wine Bar now do breakfast. While we were expecting some wordplay and innuendo around balls in the morning, what we weren't expecting was their new and innovative way of slow cooking their scrambled eggs. They then shape the eggs into a ball, serving up three perfectly round morsels of breakfast-appropriate balls. The balls, either creamy egg, egg with charred corn and aged cheddar or green eggs are paired with red, white or green sauce ($9) and a range of sides from smoked salmon ($4.50) to something green ($4). Sliders ($12 for three), avocado and caprese salad on quinoa bread ($9.50) and muesli with milk, yogurt and honey ($8) round out the breakfast menu.
There is nothing wrong with good tucker served up with an innuendo or two. It's fun, give it a go.