Last week, I had a long weekend in Prague with Jake and our flight was super early on the Thursday, we stayed at the Hilton Gatwick. I met him en route at Stratford and suggested we grab some food at Ping Pong in Westfield. It’s probably my favourite restaurant there and he had never been before. We were even allowed to leave our cases in their cloakroom before being shown to our table.
Ping Pong is a dim sum restaurant and the menus are the same at all eight locations, although there is also a seasonal specials list of about seven dishes and cocktails. Order forms are on the tables and you basically mark down how many of each dish you’d like – ordering everything at once and it’ll arrive at several intervals. Everything is baked or steamed to order and works as a great sharing concept.
I was disappointed to see the watermelon martini has since been discontinued. Instead I opted for the Hong Kong Colada, the Ping Pong take on a classic. This one was served with a banana leaf and finished off with goji berries. It was really refreshing and substantially better than the average piña colada – but not my favourite Ping Pong cocktail. Jake went for an Asian beer and ordered a bottle of Tsingtao.
Being quite the dim sum queen, Jake left it up to me to order – although I let him choose a dish from the specials. I always seem to order the same plates and we began with a favourite of mine: the roast pork puffs. Like a honey roast pork sausage roll, they’re sweet and ever so moreish. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been to Ping Pong and not ordered them – they’re seriously good, although you only get three in a portion!
We then had the beef & chilli parcels, which come with the most tasty (but spicy) chilli sesame dipping sauce. I love these little wontons and they certainly don’t scrimp on filling, while the pastry is fried to perfection; a portion of four is definitely enough for two to share. Jake chose the pork tenderloin – from the specials. This dish was also served with the chilli sesame sauce and the pork was nestled in lettuce leaves. It wasn’t the easiest dish to eat, you couldn’t use chopsticks or your hands!
The steamer then arrived to the table and we had ordered three items: the vegetable sticky rice, the char sui buns and the beef fillet dumplings. I always order the seafood sticky rice, but as Jake doesn’t like prawns or fish, I settled on the vegetarian option. These little parcels are steamed in banana leaf, but are packed with flavour, while glutinous in texture. I have Mariah to thank for my love of char sui buns as they are amazing. They’re so soft, yet sweet and salty at the same time – and there’s definitely something comforting about them. The beef fillet dumplings are also another of my favourites. The cases are made with spinach, to give a vibrant green colour and contain a decent amount of fillet steak.
I also ordered a dish for myself and one I hadn’t tried before: the xo scallop & vegetable dumplings and I was so disappointed. They really weren’t what I was expecting. The scallop was dried and sprinkled on top of vegetable dumplings and chilli oil. They were a little too spicy for me and had that really strong fishy taste.
After a short pause, we ordered dessert – this is a rare feat for me at Ping Pong! I love mochi and always order it at Wagamama or Yo! Sushi. The hazelnut mochi hit the spot nicely. The casing was soft and gelatinous, whilst the ice cream centre was rich and creamy. It’s a shame you only get one ball in a serving, I could have done with a second (without paying through the roof!). Jake chose the raspberry shortcake from the specials and I managed to try a spoonful, so can vouch for him when he says it was good!
As a loyalty card holder, I was disappointed not to receive the prawn crackers and selection of dipping sauces I’m accustomed to (there’s a tick box on your order form saying ‘show me the goodies’). The service was pretty good – they get extra points for accommodating us and our luggage but I definitely prefer the Southbank branch. A meal for two with drinks will set you back around £50, which seems a lot for such an informal dining experience – but it’s most definitely worth it! The restaurants are beautiful with traditional decor.
Love, Lucy xx