food&flavour check out a new eatery that specialises in meatballs, fun for all the family and with veggie options on offer too…

Tooting is fast becoming a foodie destination with new eateries opening what seems like every month. The latest offering, which comes from a street food background, is Belpassi Bros Meatballs. Meatballs sells just meatballs, yes just meatballs! And with my Italian roots I had to check this out.

The Belpassi brothers are twins Livio and Lorenzo, who grew up in Wimbledon and are thrilled to have come almost full circle with their first permanent location, a stone’s throw from their childhood home. Previously they were cooking up a storm serving their own brand of tasty meatballs out of a 1967 Fiat van at Spitalfields Market and at various events.

On Sunday night, with my notoriously fussy children, we decided to try this bold concept. The dark red walls, brickwork and wood offer a cosy feel to the restaurant, but my youngest was intent on watching the action in the open-plan kitchen. There’s a chef’s table for big groups and Livio enjoys chatting while he cooks, he tells us.

The wine list is mainly Italian with a nice Italian craft beer available as well as more familiar names. The meatballs come in four options: Angus beef and Duroc pork, Angus beef, pork and fennel, salt marsh lamb and kale and chickpea. There are three options of bases: rigatoni, polenta or chilli greens and a choice of sauces. They also serve up a big meatball sandwich on brioche bun.

For sides, it was a toss up for us between polenta chips, zucchini fritti and rosemary and garlic fries – chips won but we decided to try the polenta and weren’t disappointed.

And so to the meatballs – I opted for the veggie version and they were delicious served up with polenta. My bowl was quickly scraped clean. My husband chose the pork and lamb meatballs with chilli greens, which he loved, and my nine-year-old, the beef meatballs with pasta, which were gobbled down in record time (we never even got to try them!). The six-year old (the fussier one) opted for pasta with sauce, which was cooked perfectly al dente. We loved it all and felt thoroughly satisfied, only having room to share two gelatos.

So is it worth venturing to Tooting to try? I’d say so. With tasty meatballs, great base options and interesting sides – all at reasonable prices – what’s not to like? Add in friendly staff and an easy-going atmosphere and you have a winning recipe.

The boys say it’s early days and they have plans for the place but they are already creating quite a stir. It’s certainly a great addition to the area and the meatballs are very, very good.

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