If a stamp is just a stamp until it’s in the hands of an expert philatilest, a meatball is just a meatball – until you pay a visit to Yorkshire Meatball Co.
This popular restaurant and bar, which is celebrating its second birthday in Harrogate since it was launched by a father and son team, prides itself on turning a small ball of meat into a fine art.
Not only that, it’s also proclaims itself to be the UK’s first such speciality meatball and craft beer venue.
In fact, it's so convinced of its winning formula, which also includes a Yorkshire Meatball Co in the Hotel Indigo in York, it's just launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £100,000 to invest further in its brand.
To be honest, it’s the beer which really drew me to this inviting spot on Station Bridge to meet Yorkshire Meatball Co owners David and Gareth Atkinson and test out their meatballs and craft beer combination.
Nominated earlier this year for the Best Independent Casual Dining Restaurant in the Casual Dining Restaurant and Pub Awards in London, it doesn’t take long to spot the tell-tale signs that the Yorkshire Meatball Co has, indeed, fully embraced the indie food and drink revolution, a wave which began in America but has thankfully washed up on our doorstep in recent years.
Stepping into its relaxed world of tanned brown leather seats, wooden tables and low hanging silver light shades, the first thing to stand out is the giant blackboard.
As well as a wide array of meatball and meal options, there’s a lengthy list of beers from Yorkshire microbreweries, some of which even I don’t recognise.
David and Gareth obviously put as much thought into the beer as the meatballs which are gluten-free and handrolled on site with vegetarian options available.
Eventually they came to conclusion that three meatballs was the optimum numbers per meal for diners.
Being me, I opt to test out six with the sauces and beers carefully paired to create harmonious flavour combinations.
Stepping towards me with purpose in his stride, the chef has the excited smile of a believer in the meatball revolution as he delivers the first batch cooked to order as always.
I tuck into a Smokey Ball (lamb) with a herby ketchup which comes on a small brioche burger-style with a glass of Madagascar beer produced by Great Heck Brewing Co.
It’s delicious. The meat is sourced from lamb shoulder from Texel sheep reared in the Denby Dales and finished on heather for the a distinctive flavour, before being hung for 120 days.
Soon I’m tucking into the next five combinations. Considering this is meatballs and beers, it’s an incredibly lightweight, healthy-feeling experience.
But, as enjoyable as all this is, diners are under no obligation to copy me.
If you just want to sit at the bar and have a drink or two from the 21 craft beers on offer, or tuck into one of their large and tasty 'subs' packed with meatballs, well that’s fine.
This father and son team may have turned meatballs and beer into a science but it’s all about pleasure at the end of the day.
You can view Yorkshire Meatball Co's campaign video and more information on the crowdcube page: