It’s been less than a month since I started this blog, and already it’s having a positive effect on my life. I eat more mindfully, write more frequently, and also get an excellent excuse to stare at a computer screen for hours while gravity pulls me ever deeper into the embrace of the couch. But most of all, it’s also a good reason to get off that couch and head out into the forbidding concrete jungle with nothing but a compass and Burpple to guide…
Yeah, okay, it’s not exactly heroic to explore Singapore. Unlike the Apollo Program, I go to Bedok not because it is hard, but because it is easy. Still, just because an expedition is easy doesn’t mean it won’t turn up something good, like Ballistic Meatballs.
First impressions are favourable. Quiet weekday afternoons are normally the times hawkers use to get everything pre-fried and prepared, sitting there ready for the evening rush; something served to you in a minute has probably been resting and sweating quietly on a metal tray for several hours. But the lady at the counter tells me to come back in five, and only then does the man in the back start scurrying around the fryers and measuring out the chips.
And what a difference it makes, to insist on making to order.
Has someone passed a law mandating the serving of fries in galvanised buckets nowadays? Well, Ballistic is in full compliance, the fries nestled in greaseproof paper and scattered with flakes of cheddar. I have to say, I don’t get the need to dress fries in both truffle and cheese; in this case, the truffle oil has trickled all the way down, while it takes some effort to taste the cheddar on top. You could be positive and call it chips two ways, I suppose. I’d rather they just keep to the truffle oil, which is excellent, a lilting, heady fragrance cloaking the bottom fries.
The special meatballs come resting on a fresh, simple salad, hand-formed and therefore irregularly shaped, some bearing the marks of the fryer basket, all evenly bronzed. The chef is cagey about his ingredients (as well he should be), but lets on a little – it’s ‘marinated’, with a few ‘herbs and spices’, and then formed around ‘cheese’ (mozzarella, he admits). Okay, so he doesn’t actually let on at all.
Then again, why need he? It’s a great meatball, in that what you taste is what there (probably) is. The shell, crunchy and crackly, is fragrant with sesame. Inside it’s – I’m guessing – oregano and pepper, and the natural flavour of smooth ground beef. At the heart of it all is the molten mozzarella, soaking up the meat juices, adding its chewy, stringy texture. Even the salad has some delights, not least a whole clove of garlic, pan-fried until slightly soft. Maybe it got in there by mistake? If so, I’d prefer to call it a happy coincidence.
There are some gaps, of course. I might have liked the meat to have a bit more bite, a bit more bounce; and the furikake mayo that was recommended to me is just… well, it’s mayo with furikake on it, and seems content to sit quietly off stage while the other ingredients prance around.
Still, for around $8 for the whole set, it’s impressive what they’ve done. I’ve also heard good things about their tiramisu (made in house), for instance, and their Facebook page shows they’re not afraid to switch things up and add variety. Ballistic Meatballs has the happy energy of a new joint (they opened in June) that’s found its niche, which is always encouraging. Even more so when that niche is ‘variations on a theme of meatballs and carbs’.
#02-02/03 Bedok Market Place
348 Bedok Road, Simpang Bedok