Stan took a trip to Trinity Kitchen last week, where he sampled Golden Balls’ deep-fried arancini balls, covered in rich tomato sauce. Here’s what he thought…
Street food. If I have seen that term once in the past three years I have seen it a thousand times, but what does it mean? There are probably as many definitions as there are outlets but I interpret it as being food bought from street vendors or small take-aways and eaten on the hoof. The Americans have hot dogs and pretzels, Mexicans their tamales and tacos and the Italians pizza slices and ice cream. We Brits have fish and chips – game, set and match to us then. I have been to street food restaurants, an oxymoron if ever I came across one, with menus bigger than the Chilcot Report and whilst I am sure that the fare on offer is authentic to the country on the sign outside I imagine that it is more the everyday national nosh than what I would class as street food. There can be absolutely no doubt that this week’s gaff is a street food outlet as it specialises in one particular dish and is served ‘to go’. Ironically there is no mention of the ‘sf’ term; it is referred to as comfort food.
If you have never visited Trinity Kitchen in the new shopping precinct, or mall as the youngsters of today would have it, then I urge you to give it a try. It is up the escalator in the entrance next to Boots on Commercial Street and is divided into two parts: the permanent restaurants and the pop-up stalls which are on a specially recreated ‘street’ complete with yellow lines, so be careful how long you take to eat your lunch. These latter outlets are in situ for about six weeks and I have reviewed one before but I got my timing all wrong, story of my life, and so it never made the website as they had moved on before I could even press ‘send’ with my article. Editor’s note: To keep up with Golden Balls, go to https://www.goldenballskitchen.com/
Before I begin I must fess up to knowing the lady who runs this, and so will you if you are a regular Leeds Living visitor, as it is Becky Peartree the real restaurant reviewer. The reason I visited her stall was that I had never eaten arancini, the Sicilian delicacy on offer, and, to see if she could deliver the goods as well as she writes about them. The name of the business, ‘Golden Balls’ is not a reference to David Beckham, but a description of the food. A blackboard on the front of the counter explains that arancini means ‘little orange’ in Italian which describes the rice balls on sale. The sphere is made up of several parts, like a huge Ferrero Rocher. The centre is the filling of your choice. Mine was called God Mamma and the core comprised mozzarella and dried tomato, which was surrounded by homemade pesto which in turn was covered in the risotto, and a final layer of breadcrumbs finished the creation. The ball was served on a tomato sauce base and garnished beautifully with leaves. The price was £6.00 and my accompanying bottle of Moretti beer was £3.50. As it was lunchtime there was a 20% discount so the whole lot was £7.60.
The arancini was deep fried to order so took a couple of minutes to arrive, but this meant that the breadcrumb coating was wonderfully crisp, and hot, becoming the first of an incredible array of flavours and textures. Once into the ball the rice was softer than Thai sticky rice but thicker than rice pudding, exactly right for risotto. Delving deeper I came across the sun dried? tomato, sweet and succulent, and finally to the mozzarella centre which was like the most perfect chewing gum you have ever tasted. It was chewy but then just melted in the mouth, releasing its creamy, cheesy secret. Gladly, you can swallow it as it would not have been very dignified to spit it out or stick it underneath the seat like they do in the cinema. The dish could have been a bit on the dry side but that is where the tomato sauce came in. It had a sharpness to offset the rice and cheese and balanced the whole thing out perfectly.
Should you find yourself in the Trinity Centre, just try to forsake the delights of the large restaurant chains in the main body of the complex and seek out Trinity Kitchen. When you get there I would further suggest that you do a complete circuit of the outlets before you decide what you want, as I could not believe the queues at the permanent establishments which are at the entrance. I am sure that they are excellent but the pop-ups are far more imaginative. So sayeth Rusty Balls.
Photography by Stan Graham