There’s a new kid on the block taking Covent Garden by storm and there’s no doubt, he’s got balls!
Former media man Jez Felwick has become more affectionately known by his nickname ‘The Bowler’, and in recent years you may have seen him rocking up to various festivals and street food events such as Kerb & Streetfeast in his astroturf covered van, ‘The Lawn Ranger’, hawking his gourmet take on the humble and oft overlooked meatball.
But, after several years on the road, this nomadic street food evangelist has finally decided to put down some roots and Covent Gardeners should be thankful that he’s made No.1 Monmouth Street his permanent home.
Street food isn’t a new craze and there’s already plenty of excellent choices across the West End, however if you’ve yet to experience anything from the man who brought you the imaginatively named Great Balls of Fire, then we urge you to come and sample the fare on offer at this great little corner joint.
Having long been fans of The Bowler’s perfectly formed balls (TB_HQ has been home to a copy of The Bowler’s Meatball Cookbook for quite some time), it was with much anticipation and excitement that we trotted on down to Monmouth Street on opening day, but the word had clearly already spread given the queue around the block come lunchtime! But, wait it out we did and thank goodness as the mouth watering treats we sampled have already prompted several repeat visits.
Although the Bowler’s meatball repertoire is lengthy and impressive, they’ve kept the menu streamlined (no doubt to enable the free flow of punters) but with enough choice to cover most tastes. Available either as a Ball Box (meatballs and sides in the signature hand stamped Bowler cardboard box) or the ‘Pitball’ (meatballs in Pitta, natch!), you can either jump in for a quick take away or as we did, stay and enjoy the buzzy atmosphere in a spot that’s great for a bit of people watching from the tables and benches on the pavement, or the slightly more cosy counter & stool arrangement inside.
The medium option (two balls) was certainly ample, although for the insatiably hungry there is a large, three ball option. We opted for the Beef Chuck & Chorizo balls served in a smoked paprika tomato sauce with a generous serving of steamed mixed long grain, brown & wild rice, home made slaw (the best we’ve had!), aioli & parsley, and then Lamb & Feta Kofta, with a Bulgur Wheat Salad, Hummous, Mint Yoghurt, Parsley, Pickles and the optional hot sauce (why not?).
The flavour combinations and textures were to die for and it didn’t feel like eating anything naughty, which is surely testament to the care taken in the preparation and the quality of the ingredients. The Bowler himself was bounding about the place, engaging customers in chit chat and beaming from ear to ear, you could tell this is a man who clearly loves what he does!
Other options on the menu are the veggie friendly ‘Balafel’ (chickpea, spinach & ricotta balls) served with the same yummy sides as the Kofta, the meat feast of Pork Shoulder & Beef Chuck with a generous helping of the awesome slaw along with cumin cream and shallots, and lastly the Green Chilli Chicken balls in Thai Curry Sauce with rice, slaw, crispy shallots, chilli jam and coriander. In fact, reading back through this we’re salivating so much we’re off there for lunch now…