By Janan | Londonist.com
Welcome to our occasional series which lets us shine a light on some of London’s best artisan producers and food businesses that attend markets around the city.
Business: The Bowler — Gourmet Balls
Based: “The Lawn Ranger” HQ in Bermondsey
What: Meat, fish and veg balls, served with fresh sauces and sides
The Bowler dishes out tantalizingly tasty meatballs, far removed from the overly salted yet bland balls with gravy slop that are all too common. No, these are made from quality ingredients and individually rolled. That’s thousands of meatballs, all made by hand. With Love. The throngs of people queuing at the grass-carpeted van attest their popularity.
Founder Jez can often be seen proudly working on the ground, stirring sauce, serving (and charming) patrons. Not surprising really, given his culinary journey. A few years ago, he embarked on anintensive three-month cooking and farming course in Ballymaloe, Ireland. It proved to be a life-changing, inspiring experience where he “lived, learnt, cooked, ate, drank, fished, walked and met local producers”. Upon returning, he put his skills and knowledge into practice, working in farmers markets and with organic soups.
So, why meatballs?
“I’ve loved meatballs since I was a kid,” he tells us. “And I have an issue with the quality of mince sold in supermarkets.” It’s not just the quality that’s important; creativity is key, “and the combinations are endless”.
Indeed, the interesting concoctions and explosion of flavors are a major pull. Take the Swedish-inspired ‘Bjorn Balls’ served up with mash, cucumber pickle and ligonberry jam. Great balls of Fire (pork shoulder and beef chuck balls, spiced onion and tomato sauce) are another crowd pleaser. Our personal favorite, however, is ExciThaiBall — pork meatballs packed with green chili, ginger and garlic, swimming in a fresh coconut curry sauce and quite addictive.
No longer will we settle for any old balls that come our way.
Find The Bowler
Thursdays in May at Eat.St, Kings Boulevard, N1C (thereafter check listings)
Wednesdays & Thursday evenings in May at The Imperial Arms, Kings Road, SW6
Fridays at Street Feast, E1
And don’t miss a thing on the website, Facebook and Twitter.