Oh my! It’s my first blog post and what a great little restaurant to start our food journey on.
Le Monsieur and I went to a newly opened restaurant called Meatballs that took over the Victorian establishment The Quality Chop House who served food to the local working class back in the 1870s. I feel Meatballs stayed true to the concept of the original Chop House where I imagine the restaurant’s ancestors also served similar affordable and uncomplicated fayre. The only difference today is its modern clientele will more likely to be dressed in suits than labourer clothes.
We received a warm, friendly welcome and despite only having done one or two practice runs before the big opening, the young, friendly staff were knowledgeable about the menu. I took the courgette balls in its mild curry sauce with a side of risotto and Le Monsieur asked for the classic beef meatballs in its tomato sauce a plate of spaghetti plus a serving of honeyed carrots to share.
The use of fresh ingredients were instantly recognisable to the palette and I loved the way my bundles of courgette loosened into thin ribbons when I cut them apart. The tomato and cheesy risotto was at the correct chewy consistency for me. The classic beef meatballs with its spaghetti gave the heartwarming vibe of a home cooked meal. We didn’t order any desserts but Le Monsieur tested their malted milkshakes instead. What lacked in its thick consistency was compensated by its fragrant vanilla sweetness so he gave it a big thumbs up.
The balance between history and modernity is nicely tuned at Meatballs and there’s no better example of this than through the restaurant’s marketing activity.* The chalkboarded wine list displays a QR code linking customers back to their website where you can also join their Facebook page and Twitter account. These have a relatively good following considering its new existence. To encourage the numbers, maybe they could make these visible in the restaurant so that people can join up more quickly.
The manager made a start on their blog and if they could keep this up, I’m sure there would be no problem in drawing a big tourist crowd in – and maybe a hungry, amateur historian or two. The abrupt silence after a few entries is unfortunate as it risks becoming another neglected company blog; hopefully Meatballs can pick it back up as the existing content is very interesting and adds to the restaurant’s personal story.
Here are some five simple blogging ideas that I would suggest:
- Introduce the staff – this would be a lovely way for the customers to connect to the servers and adds to the human face of the business
- Introduce the ‘guest meatball’ – this will cause intrigue before each launch and encourage customers to come and try them out
- Introduce the food suppliers – this will create more trust and reinforce the restaurant’s image as local and friendly
- Dig up more history on the restaurant’s and the surrounding area – this does require some more effort but it will be worth it
- Topical issues – examples could include British farming and affordable dining
Overall we had a lovely evening at Meatballs, where we spent around £30 for our meatballs and their sides plus drinks. So with quality food matched by affordable prices, no doubt Meatballs will be successful – all that’s left for this newcomer to do is to be more active in spreading the word and maintain its current fans.
* My impressions on the restaurant’s marketing are entirely my own opinion and should be treated as if I am doing a case study for school and an exercise to test my analytical and creative thinking. Please pitch in your thoughts – comments on the food also welcome!
Meatballs at The Quality Chop House
92 – 94 Farringdon Road,
London, EC1R 3EA
T: 020 3490 6228
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 11:30am – 11pm, Sunday 12pm – 10pm
Meal for two with drinks and service around £30