Hong Kong’s first meatball bar has opened in the heart of Soho, delivering a modern Italian twist on beloved classic dishes. Offering family favourites such as pizzas, pastas and meatballs, NOM(Not Only Meatballs) is definitely a breath of fresh air after the rash of recently opened, haute cuisine, celebrity-driven restaurants and their eye-watering prices. This is a place to kick back and enjoy some wholesome, fresh, healthy Italian food with the people you love most.
Opened by good friends Fabrizio Napolitano, formerly of beloved Italian restaurant Goccia, and ex-rugby international Ricky Cheuk, the pair have created the restaurant with friends and family in mind. The vibe is unpretentious, casual, friendly and fuss-free. Rustic accents are found in the warm wood tables and chairs and concrete walls, while banquettes are finished in black leather, giving a modern feel. Each table is well-lit and the restaurant is spacious with the main dining room on one side, and a bar with tables on the other.
I was very happy to note that the menu reflects Fabrizio’s ethos on using only the healthiest and freshest, seasonal ingredients. All meat is sourced from small family farmhouses in Australia and New Zealand, who have an ethical and moral approach to farming. Seafood is wild and sustainably sourced from Italy, New Zealand, Finland, Spain and Australia.
The menu is modern Italian, with a focus on meatballs. Bearing in mind that Italian dishes are always substantial, I was glad I took along my little boy and my mum with their big appetites. We began with the beef meatballs in Neapolitan ragout, paccheri pasta and ricotta cheese, followed by the chicken, with parmesan fondue and asparagus. The kid inhaled the beef balls and gave them the thumbs up.
Mum and I particularly enjoyed the chicken meatballs with parmesan fondue and toasted hazelnuts, which were deliciously tender and well-seasoned, with the hazelnuts providing a nice crunchy balance. These were followed by the seafood balls with muscles and clams in a tangy crustacean broth. This got all-around approval from everyone. The final meatball dish was the slow-cooked suckling pig with celeriac puree and chopped celeriac and carrots. There was a lot of texture and flavour in the meat. Fabrizio explained that he used all parts of the pig, making this meatball a complete nose-to-tail experience, with the texture of pulled pork. It was finished with a nice crispy exterior.
Muscles brined with carrots and asparagus and hazelnut butter were up next, accompanied by grilled bread. This was lovely, though could have done with a touch more salt in the brine, but the muscles were very fresh, tender and full of flavour. This was followed by sliders of wagyu beef, gubbeen cheese and fresh cooked crisps, which were gorgeously pink and juicy tender inside.
Just when we were all about to pop, the main dish of grilled octopus on fresh tomato and chorizo arrived and it was ENORMOUS!
How we managed to polish it off, I don’t know, but this is one dish you MUST eat (and bring a friend to share!). This was, hands down, the most impressive dish in terms of flavour and texture. We all enjoyed this, especially the kid. It was delicious and meaty yet incredibly tender. At this point we had to turn down dessert and readjust our waistbands and we somehow managed to waddle home.
There is something for everyone here. Vegetarians and meat eaters, conservative and adventurous eaters will all find something on the menu. The clear winner of the meal was the grilled octopus. From the meatballs, the chicken and seafood meatballs were also delicious and firm, all-around favourites. I also particularly enjoyed the brined muscles with hazelnut butter and grilled toast as a starter.
No thumbs down. It was fresh, wholesome, healthy and very tasty. Portions are large so bring your appetite.
Yes. There’s no lift, so strollers need to be carried up a short flight of stairs.
No, but it’s not necessary. The dishes are family-friendly, with pizzas, mini-burgers, meatballs and some more unusual dishes for the adventurous child.
Very reasonable. Dishes are substantial and filling. Meatballs start at $68 for three, while the grilled octopus was $238 and can definitely serve two adults and one small child.
At the moment NOM is only open for dinner, from 6pm onwards, but will be opening shortly for lunch.