Last night my friend and I met for dinner and shopping at Westfield Stratford. She’s getting married in August and I’m one of her bridesmaids so we had loads to talk about and we wanted a long, leisurely dinner, preferably with cocktails! I got ready (in my new koala shirt – do you like it? It’s my new favourite shirt!), looked through the list of restaurants available and one caught my eye – a new branch of Ping Pong, a dim sum chain.
Ping Pong has some really bad reviews online, with people saying it’s inauthentic, over priced and bad quality – which might have put me off, but for one thing…I’ve been there before. On a random occasion last summer I ended up in the Waterloo branch with about ten people – we ordered lots of the set menus and pigged out. I remembered it being really good, so we decided to give it another go. Now, just to clarify; I’m not a dim sum expert – this is just my experience. I, personally, thought it was really good!
First up, cocktail time! We were pleased to find it was happy hour, so all the cocktails – already reasonably priced – were half price. I had ‘strawberries and passionfruit’ which was gorgeous – really juicy with big pieces of fruit –and my friend had a ginger and limoncello caipirinha, which she also pronounced delicious. Ping Pong leave little checklists on your table so it’s easy to order. We made our selections and gave our list to the friendly waitress.
We snacked on crunchy tempura seaweed crackers while waiting for our food to arrive – yummy, salty crisps which we dipped in hot chilli sauce.
First up - roast pork puffs. Honey roast pork in glazed puff pastry. These were so good – just sweet enough without being sickly, a bit like posh sausage rolls. I definitely recommend them!
Next we got a noodle dish – one of the specials, shanghai pork noodles. The noodles were great – we both agreed the pork could have had more flavour, although we dipped it in the sauces we’d ordered and that tasted really good.
Next up arrived our baskets containing steamed parcels of goodness - which I forgot to photograph (bad blogger). We had chicken and cashew and spicy chicken. The chicken and cashew were far and away the winners for me – gorgeous little warm parcels of nutty chicken flavour all wrapped up in softness! The spicy chicken had a little too much carrot for me, and the bun was a bit gooey in consistency.
We also had sticky vegetable rice, all wrapped up in a banana leaf…
And incredibly tasty duck spring rolls, dunked in plum sauce.
After all that (and an additional cocktail each) there was no room for dessert so I can’t comment on what it would have been like – but other than that, I would 100% recommend Ping Pong. If you’re new to dim sum like I was, it’s a great way to dip your toes in the water! You want to go with a person - or a lot of people - who like to order lots of food to share, because it's the mix of flavours that makes it fun. It's fine for veggies - there's loads of veggie options - and you could probably go if you were watching your waistline...but you wouldn't have as much fun!
Have any of you been to Ping Pong? What did you think? Any other dim sum places I need to try?