The peril of living on the doorstep of Chapel Street is that the Melbourne CBD seems like some far away land.
I decided that, after only a year, it was time to break this Mexican stand-off. So, I convinced my husband Jude of this adventurous, risqué plan of mine to make the two-minute train journey into Flinders Street in search of somewhere new to feed our hungry bellies.
My only real strategy to get us fed was to follow the crowds. No prior research. No Zomato surfing. After stalking some nice looking people and stumbling down the Paris-end of Flinders Lane we came across the Meatball & Wine Bar, which had a big crowd milling out the front…
When I suggested we add our name to the wait list of this artisan meatball joint Jude gave me a weird glance.
“It’s a meat bar,” he said. “And you don’t like meat!” Perhaps it was the words wine bar that convinced me.
We were told by the friendly, yet official-looking door greeter that there would be a 45-minute wait, so suggested that we head next door to Gogo Bar (in the basement of Chin Chin) for a drink while we wait. Why, what a great plan.
After a couple of Prossecos (for me) and G&Ts (for Jude), 45 minutes felt like four minutes and by the time we returned our friend on the door greeted us like old mates.
Coming from Adelaide’s wine bar culture, I felt at home in this small, cosy fit-out, with its brick interior and warm, welcoming vibe.
Meatball & Wine Bar’s menu is dominated by meatballs
Unsurprisingly, the menu is dominated by meatballs. With pork, beef, chicken, fish and vegetable iterations, along with cured meats, fresh breads and mozzarella cheeses.
Although, yes, I’m not a big meat-eater, I figured you can’t exactly come to a meatball bar and go vego. So, we ordered to share a mortadella meat board; a bowl of mini balls that came with a trio of dipping sauces (our favourite was the creamy green sauce. God knows what was in there but it was dangerously delicious); and three sliders with chicken, pistachio, muscatels and parmesan meatballs topped with a pesto salsa verde sauce.
Everything was incredibly fresh and impressively presented, and the pesto sauce was the perfect combination for the chicken meatballs.
Drinks come in Italian varietals
The food is complimented by a selection of Italian varietals. And although the wine list isn’t extensive and rather pricey (yet the food is quite pricey too), it felt rude not to have another glass of Prosecco.
The ambiance is romantic and moody
The atmosphere is dark and loud, but actually quite romantic with its dim lighting, tea light candles and giant neon meat department sign. The noise levels probably wouldn’t make it easy to get to know someone on a first date but fortunately being an old married couple (of three weeks) Jude and I were quite happy to sit there staring at one another in food coma bliss.
Meatball & Wine Bar is…
It’s very chic and modern, and going by the line out the door the Meatball & Wine Bar – which also has sister restaurants in Richmond and Collingwood – is as popular as a MIMCO sale.
Meatball & Wine Bar | 135 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Victoria
Phone: (03) 9654 7545