I have to hold my hands up here and confess that I have never had a meatball in my life! Being a vegetarian since the age of five and vegan for the past several years it just wasn’t something that my mother cooked for me as a tot. I do however have a penchant for quirky and innovative restaurants and I’m always on the lookout for healthy vegan food in the city.
It was only a matter of time before fate allowed me to stumble upon The Ballroom London to introduce me to my very first meatball… or should that be vegball?
Founder Christian’s aim was to capture the childhood flavours of his Italian upbringing in San Gimignano where he would watch his beloved grandmother cooking for the family. He realised his dream to bring this nostalgic experience to a restaurant in London and it’s going down a storm!
With a passion for preserving tradition, the Ballroom brings an edgy twist to a cultural classic for diners to eat in, grab and go or enjoy a home delivery. I adore the love and passion found in family businesses and the wholesomeness of the wood panelled interior and exposed brick restaurant walls has such a cool, trendy and honest feel to it.
The restaurant works similar to Subway where each meal is split into three sections of balls, base and a side. First you choose your balls which range from Italian beef, Thai chicken, vegan, Asian fish and Moroccan lamb. Next you pick a base from the pasta of the day, wilted greens, mash of the day, aromatic rice or cous cous. And finally you add a side of either sweetcorn puree, broccoli spears, Asian slaw & coleslaw, mixed green leaves or tabbouleh.
And for coffee lovers their beans are pretty spectacular too! Naturally with such an energetic passion for food they weren’t going to skimp on the drinks menu. They proudly source their green coffee with a focus on provenance, sustainability, freshness and fair-trade to farmers which fills my soul with sunshine.
Each batch of coffee beans is roasted at the Ballroom headquarters to ensure that the individual characteristics of the coffee are fully nurtured to result in sweet and balanced flavour in each and every cup; quality assurance at its finest – my mother has always said to me “If something is worth doing then it’s worth doing properly!” The proof of quality and authenticity is in the taste because you can really tell the difference between fresh and frozen or processed and handmade.
I popped into the Ballroom for a healthy vegan takeaway and selected the hand rolled vegan meatballs on a base of wilted greens with a side of broccoli florets topped with a delicious homemade Italian tomato sauce and I can’t believe that I waited thirty-one years to experience this.
Made from pea, broccoli, spinach and kale the vegan meatballs reminded me slightly of my mothers dumplings – soft, warm and squishy with a smooth green centre that melt in the mouth. The wilted greens were rich and the broccoli crisp and fresh, lovingly enveloped by a sweet and juicy tomato sauce that left me licking my lips. Healthy, uplifting and homely; the Ballroom is a must see for plant-based diners and carnivores alike.