Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Restaurant review | Ping Pong


Where I ate
Ping Pong, Festival Terrace, South Bank
Two weekends ago now, we had our standard post-Christmas family outing to London – for dinner and the theatre. My brother had been to Ping Pong a couple of times before so recommended we eat there and we ate at the South Bank branch as it was the closest to where we were heading afterwards.
The Ping Pong chain consists of eight restaurants in London, all of which specialise in dim sum and Chinese teas. It’s perfect for groups, whether that’s family or friends, as you can order as many dishes as you like and share them. It’s also great if you’re in a hurry like we were, as the food comes quickly.
What I drank
Kumquat mojito
The cocktail menu at Ping Pong is extensive, with a lot of unique takes on classics and exotic offerings. Initially I told myself I wasn’t going to drink and settled on a strawberry and vanilla iced tea... until I saw the cocktail menu! The kumquat mojito caught my eye first and it didn’t disappoint; it was lush. I could taste the lime and mint of the original mojito but the squashed kumquats added a sweetness, as well as a bit of bite; so luxurious. I just wish I had more than one!
What I ate
duck spring roll
Vietnamese rice paper prawn roll
beef & chilli parcels
roast pork puff
king prawn & scallop sticky rice
soft shell crab
seafood dumpling
chicken & cashew nut dumpling
Robert recommended a lot of the dishes and once you’ve made your selection, you mark them on a paper menu, which gets collected. You have to order everything at once, which may not be to everyone’s tastes. Everything is brought to the table once it’s cooked but instead of waiting for all the dishes to arrive, you just dig in.
I absolutely love soft shell crab and it’s something I rarely have so it was a real treat. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the accompanying chilli dipping sauce was heavenly – and not too hot.
The chicken & cashew nut dumplings were my favourite – and were highly recommended to us. The chilli and hoi sin sauce reminded me more of yellow bean, while the dumplings were well-filled. I think I could have easily eaten a whole portion.
I chose the duck spring rolls, which were also really tasty. When they arrived, they were sliced in half so that all the duck and cucumber could be seen, which was aesthetically pleasing. They were hot and crisp and the hoi sin dipping sauce was lovely. The only thing which was strange, was that the cucumber was hot too.
The rice was most interesting – steamed and served in a wrapped banana leaf. It was like a little parcel, really sticky and gelatinous, but amazing. I never knew rice could be so good. I felt like one portion just wasn’t enough. We opted for two portions of the king prawn & scallop.
I have to say I was quite disappointed with the seafood dumplings and they were nowhere near as good as the chicken & cashew nut ones. I wasn’t a fan of the Vietnamese prawn roll either, which was like a thin spring roll. The pork puffs were very good, an oriental take on the sausage roll, if you will – full of char sui pork. The biggest surprise were the chilli beef parcels which were very spicy, but I loved them! For someone that doesn’t really like hot food, I really enjoyed them and sauce was Szechuan-esque.
I think we ordered just enough, although had I had room for more, I’d have loved to try the coconut mochi from the dessert menu. There’s also a set menu available if you’re unsure what to order, or are sticking to a budget. The menu also recommends how many of each kind of dish to order (1 fried or griddled item, 1 baked item, 1 rice dish and 2 baskets of steamed dumplings) per person.
The service was good considering how busy it was and we went straight to our table on arrival, which was cosy to say the least. Although it took a while for our order form to be collected, the food came out quickly as it was cooked, to ensure premium freshness. I’m definitely now inclined to visit the branch at Westfield Stratford and really want to sample more of the cocktails. If you’re looking for simple oriental food in a lively and contemporary setting, I thoroughly recommend Ping Pong. 

3 comments:

  1. I've heard of Ping Pong and probably even walked past there a few times, but I've never eaten there before. The food looks lovely! I'm craving for some Dim Sum right now. ;)

    Olivia x
    Beauty from the Fjord

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  2. You'll definitely have to go - the food is amazing! The Dim Sum you made looked so good though, it's probably better than Ping Pong ha ;) xx

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