Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Yorkshire Meatball Co - Harrogate - A Sneak Preview

Please note this establishment is now closed. 

Lately I've found myself falling in love with pulled pork, falling out of love with pulled pork, falling in love with burgers and then... Falling out of love with burgers. The mass influx of American food in to the UK has been pretty exciting at times. Like the Americans it's big and bolshy (no offence) bringing with it a lot of drama and over-the-topness. It's great, it's exhilarating... It's everywhere. Everywhere I look. Burger bar after meat shack after grill.

I'd heard rumblings about a new place opening in Harrogate, surely not a burger bar in Harrogate with it's niche clientele and highly regulated city centre (regulated in the sense that Carluccios had to fight with the council for the spot they wanted). 

Fear not Harrogatians it is not a burger bar, grill or cafe... It's a meatball place...

Okay, so that might not sound much better but I promise you it is. These are no ordinary meatballs that are whipped up with tomato sauce on school dinners, or with gravy in a particular Scandinavian furniture store. These are made using local produce (tick), come in a variety of different flavours (tick) using a variety of different meats (and non-meats) (tick), and there is something quite elegant about them. 

I went to the guest opening of The Yorkshire Meatball Co last Friday, J and I arrived promptly at 7pm... A little too promptly as they hadn't yet taken the brown paper off the windows. We were greeted by a lovely man who showed us to the bar and handed us some prosecco (I was later to learn that he was the son of the owner who had placed his trust in his son to market and promote his new venture).

A little pre-note... I was sat at the bar. I was being given free prosecco. I was little bit drunk before food arrived. I was totally wasted by the time I left. I apologise now for not doing this place the justice it deserves. I promise to return a full paying customer with a steady hand and a clear head.

Whilst sat at the bar waiting for the crowds to appear we glanced around at the decor. Wooden 'rustic' furnishings, mixed with family portraits, and quirky light fittings (colanders and cheese graters) made the atmosphere homely, trendy and with a new opening there was already a buzz of excitement emerging in the air.

The menu is fairly simple to figure out. You order your balls, it's bed (side eg mash) and its blanket (sauce). Such a quaint idea, I love it. 

As this was their preview night before the big opening the next day we were to be served small samples of the balls with the recommended sauce. 

In addition to the above they also have a brunch menu available until 12pm each day, this is what we were offered samples of first. If you order from the brunch menu you receive a large ball in a bap with bacon, egg, mushroom and tomato. Sounds like a good brunch to me! Here are the samples we tried...

Herbed Harrogate Blue. (Veggie)

The blue cheese is fairly strong, I'm presuming this comes without bacon in your bap, it would be nice to see a substitute. 

Pork Apple Sage and Fennel.

Clearly starving by this point I took a bite before taking a picture. A juicy ball with the sage and fennel delicately touching it. 

Pork and sundried tomato.

This ball looks slightly deep fried, I'm going to be honest... I can't remember if it was. 

Pork and Black Pudding

This ball had sizeable chunks of black pudding in it, if you're not a massive fan of black pudding I'd steer clear of this one, if you are a lover order this one! 

We were lucky that we managed to sample a ball from each of the brunch options... we were not so lucky with the dinner menu, as the crowds grew we became barricaded in at our place at the bar and the meatballs were gone before they reached us.

With the dinner samples we were give more balls on sticks but this time with the recommended blanket (sauce).

Smokey Balls with Creamed Mustard Blanket 

Made smokey through the use of paprika which me and J could pick through the blanket of creamy mustard sauce. This sauce was one of my favourites. 

Hot Balls with Herby Ketchup Blanket 

I recall we ate a few of these... they were spicy but not overly so, I'd rate them a medium spice. If you're expecting them to blow your brains out I'd perhaps add a little Tabasco sauce to help you along. 

Fish Balls with Classic Lemon Blanket 

Fresh haddock balls that are deep fried, a little stronger in fish taste than Pollock or cod if you're not keen on seafood these aren't for you. We had a few of these as not many people wanted to try them or try a second portion. 

Fake Balls (I think) in Herby Ketchup (I think)

I'm having to guess now as this was the last ball and for some reason I didn't note down what it was... it looks to be fake balls which are chickpeas and coriander served with a tomato looking blanket which I can only presume to be herby ketchup. 

The balls we missed out on were: Birdie Balls and Yorkshire Balls. We didn't get to try any beds which was a little disappointing but I guess at a sample night it would of been hard to dish out mash potato.

The two drunken girls at the bar stayed past everyone else but the close family and friends as we started to talk to the Managing Director David Atkinson. I cannot express how nice and accommodating this man is. He told us about his venture, the risks he was taking, where his inspiration came from (New York Meatball restaurants) and even showed us the old pictures on the walls of the restaurant of his ancestors.

I wish him luck in his new business venture and I hope The Yorkshire Meatball Co makes a big impact on Harrogate. They certainly have got balls.

The YMCo
7 Bridge Street

One last thing...

This amused me in the toilets... I told you I was drunk.

The Yorkshire Meatball Company on Urbanspoon

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