Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Meatball and Wine Bar, Melbourne CBD (by invitation) by Benny

The Meatball and Wine Bar has raised a classic of home cooking (and one of my favourite comfort foods) to a new level of culinary delight – the ‘artisan meatball’. By all accounts the punters are loving it, and the blogosphere and mainstream critics alike are abuzz.

Having triumphed at lunch and dinner, it now promises to ‘grab breakfast by the balls’. Does it live up its promise? Big flavours and big serves answer a resounding ‘yes’, and surprisingly, the eponymous meatball plays only a minor (but very tasty) role.

Stepping into the Meatball and Wine Bar is like entering a long, dimly lit cave – the narrow shopfront extends a long way back and lighting is deliberately low. In the distance the ‘Meat Dept’ is proclaimed in Broadway-style lights over a display cabinet – bright in the gloom but still only dimly lit. Your eyes take a moment to adapt, slowly discerning bare brickwork, a bar extending down one side, lots of wooden tables, bentwood chairs and bar stools. The tables for two are very compact, and coupled with the low lighting, they are ideal for a discrete assignation.

Bilby Blue and I have been invited to review the recently launched breakfast menu, and only knowing the Meatball and Wine Bar by reputation, we eagerly scan the menu for meatball options – and get all the way to the end before finding the Grilled Breakfast Balls, almost an afterthought in the Sides. Since this is an invitation we want to ensure we sample a good range of what is on offer, so we ask Rhys, the manager, bartender and barista, for his recommendations.

Meatball and Wine Bar, Melbourne, Balls Toastie
First, a Balls Toastie, on your choice of sourdough, quinoa, multi-grain or gluten free bread. Our pick of Fungi (sausage, mushroom and taleggio cheese) on sourdough is an exceptional toasted sandwich, perfectly toasted, robust sourdough encasing the very tasty moist filling. Other options are the Classico (tomato, mozzarella and basil), Salumi (salami and fontina cheese), Bolognese (minced beef, creamy red sauce and parsley) and Nutella (chocolate and banana).

Meatball and Wine Bar, Melbourne, Breakfast Hero
Second, the Breakfast Hero – truffled scrambled eggs, bacon, spinach, cheddar and basil on a brioche bun – is a fantastic rendition of the traditional bacon and eggs, just a bit messy as the very generous filling squeezes out as you bite into the bun.

Meatball and Wine Bar, Melbourne, Avocado Caprese
Third, the Avocado Caprese – heirloom tomatoes and avocado, mozzarella and basil on toasted quinoa bread – is a big serve of a wonderfully fresh flavoured version of avocado and tomato on toast.

Meatball and Wine Bar, Melbourne, Grilled Breakfast Balls
Rhys has also suggested the Scrambled eggs and goats cheese on sourdough with Italian herbs and chilli, but three dishes is plenty. However, we really want to taste some meatballs, so the Grilled Breakfast Balls are mandatory. Three perfectly cooked and spiced meaty balls are so meaty and juicy that a sauce is unnecessary.

Meatball and Wine Bar, Melbourne, lemongrass tea
Lemongrass tea

The Meatball and Wine Bar supports a number of boutique Australian providers: Coffee from Dukes Coffee Roasters, specialty milks from Milk Lab, cow’s milk from Jonesy’s Dairy Fresh, tea from Storm in a Teacup, and bread from Dench’s Bakery.

Meatball and Wine Bar, Melbourne, coffee
The range of specialty milks fascinate me. Rhys explains that they are specifically formulated to complement black coffee, for drinkers who do not want cow’s milk. I decide to sample one – I suspect that the coconut milk will be very sweet, which Rhys confirms, and suggests the almond. Rhys makes a very good, strong, cappuccino, the almond milk giving a perfectly acceptable but thinner mouth feel than cow’s milk.

Meatball and Wine Bar, Melbourne, breakfast

Meatball and Wine Bar, Melbourne, breakfast


We loved it
We loved it and are planning to return to try the full meatballs dining experience.


The breakfast at the Meatball and Wine Bar is ideal for those that love robust flavours and have a hearty appetite.

There are two other locations: Richmond and Collingwood. Also, for those keen to recreate the meatball experience at home their recipe book, Meatballs: the Ultimate Guide, is available for purchase.

Find it at

Meatball and Wine Bar
135 Flinders Lane
Melbourne 3000
Phone: 03 9654 7545

Meatball & Wine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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