I’ve walked past the Arancini Brothers Risotto Balls many times for over 2 years but never thought to walk inside. It is not the kind of places that gives out an aroma that draws you over. It is not the kind that always has a long in the queue (although I have never seen it being empty either). It is tucked away just by Broadgate circle, small and humble looking. From the window, all you can see are risotto balls and lots of salads. It made me think this was a vegetarian place. It made me think this was only serving cold salads.
Until recently, I was so bored totally running out of options, that I decided to pop in to have a look. To my surprise, they actually have hot meat, proper meat too. That’s it, lunch here today!
The board of instruction makes it easy for first-timers to order their food (unlike e.g. the daunting Assenheims). Although risotto balls are supposed to be the speciality here, their “substance” (i.e. hot meat/veg) is, in my opinion, the star.
For £1.50 extra, you can get all of the salad below. Just look at the amount of salad you get below!
- Green salad
- Cucumber slices
- Tomtato slices
- Grated carrots
- Grated sweet potatoes
- Grated courgettes
- Dried onions
- Black olives
- Apple slices
- Homemade salsa
- Homemade mayo
They have this tomato based vegetable stew as a vegetarian option, which they also add to mix with the meat if you choose for a carnivore lunch. All the meat served here are pulled, with the beef being the juiciest of all. The beef is more a cold winter lunch as it is more like a stew. It has been stewed long enough that it almost is as good as melting in your mouth. The lamb was typical rosemary pulled lamb type flavour, but on the day I had it, I felt it lacked some integrated fat in the lamb, perhaps was the cut used. Pork was also tried but no photo taken. In comparison, the pork (which I forgot to take a photo of) was lacking intensity and flavour, very much on the dry side. Beef by far was my favourite. Chicken is the lightest option of all, it’s been slow cooked for so long that it almost loses all its textures and is more like a blob of baby food. Nonetheless, it is light and flavorsome which means I don’t mind having it again especially on the days that are not so cold (i.e. wanting a stew type meat lunch).
Given that the Arancini Brothers’ signature is their risotto ball, I guess I should comment on them too. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of these risotto balls. I mean. Why are they served cold? I just don’t get it. Their website says “Crispy”, “Crunchy”, “Fresh & Tasty”. Erm… The balls are anything but these 4 words. They are a nice carb addition to the lunch and are totally edible in a way that I don’t mind eating them at all, but I just don’t know what to make of them as “risotto balls”. It doesn’t bother me that much because I still like this place enough to have returned multiple times. I guess I would just blame myself for not being an Italian and not knowing what risotto balls should taste like. Hah.
Having only just discovered this lunch place since January and have already been there 4 times in 2 months goes to show how decent the food is here. It is not exactly cheap, but it is certainly, in my opinion, worth it more than some other £7 lunches that gives you only a leaf salad.
Damage to pocket: Approx £7
Number of accumulated visits: 4
Date of visit: Since Jan 2014
Will we return? Yes