British food in general has managed to get itself some pretty good PR in recent years and, as a result, the famous edict that to eat well in England you have to have breakfast three times a day has been well and truly dispelled. And with this revival – or renaissance, perhaps, is a better word – has come an increased interest in the provenance of food and a championing of local produce and producers. Which is a wonderful thing.
I may not be Yorkshire born and bred but I am immensely proud to bang the drum for my adopted home county. On Wednesday night, D and I were lucky enough to attend an event at Harrogate’s Yorkshire Meatball Company. David and Gareth, the father and son team behind it are men who take their balls, and the content of their balls, extremely seriously. (Oh, and by the way, it turns out that making slightly risqué jokes about balls in a meatball restaurant NEVER GETS OLD.)
The evening was not just about showing their balls off though – it also aimed to showcase a very fine local craft brewery called Great Heck. Yes, it was a night that was jam-packed with beer and balls, as all the best nights are. The idea was to match the beer with the different dishes, which is becoming increasingly trendy and with very good reason – a good ale is just as complex and interesting as a good wine.
What can I say other than YUM. A meatball is a wonderful thing anyway, but a meatball where the contents are impeccably sourced from one of Yorkshire’s finest farms is practically guaranteed to be good. We got to try six different types, all presented in a slider with complementing condiments. If you go to the restaurant, you can opt to have them with mash or pasta or veg or even salad – a simple concept but an excellent one.
I can confirm that all the balls were excellent. Although, interestingly enough, I think my
favourite were the fishy (haddock, chorizo, mashed potato) and veggie
(chickpea) varieties which were bursting with flavour. The classic meatball, beef and belly pork,
was tasty but extremely densely textured.
D rated the smoky ball which was made of meltingly tender lamb and a
hefty pinch of smoked paprika, a combination that worked excellently well and I
can imagine being fabulous with a lightly spiced couscous.
The beer, too, was top notch. The well stocked bar had a plethora of local beers on offer as a matter of course, but the opportunity to try the different varieties from Great Heck was fantastic. We particularly adored the Madagascar, a stout brewed with vanilla pods that was smooth as silk and as rich and smoky as a bonfire of fifty pound notes (poor analogy, but drinking on a school night will do that to a girl). I’m relatively new to the world of Real Ale but am tremendously excited to learn more about it and develop my palate. It’s a world away from the insipid, fizzy-pop lager that I swigged as a teenager.
Yorkshire Meatball Company
7 Station Bridge
I was invited to attend the “Beer and Balls event”. However, beer and balls are two subjects that I take very seriously indeed; the opinion expressed is my own and the enthusiasm is unfeigned.