Dim Sum at Ping Pong

February 6th, 2010

Ping Pong: Dim Sum

It was pointed out by a colleague today that despite having been to Ping Pong countless times, I haven’t actually gotten around to posting a review yet. That’s mostly down to the fact that I am not a great fan of chain restaurants and I tend to prefer the small gems that might have their quirks but always ensure you leave happy and full.

I was first introduced to Ping Pong by a friend who is considerably more adventurous when it comes to food than I and seemed to know all of the hot spots, and obviously my first experience was good otherwise I wouldn’t have gone back or taken countless other people there either.

In general, the quality of the dishes at Ping Pong is pretty good, the food seems to be slightly Westernised as you’d expect for a chain (though perhaps not as badly as you’d find at Wagamamas), but it’s all genuinely of quite a high standard and some of the dishes can be exceptional.

Personally I can’t say I think much to the set menus, you only really get one or two of each dumpling and if you have your favourites that just ends up being a complete let down, it’s much better to just pick a few dishes you know you like, as you get two or three pieces on each dish anyway.

The prices at Ping Pong are above average, and given the size of the portions this can seem a little bit of a set back for some people. I personally often wonder how much of the cost of the food goes on the décor rather than the food.

Service is incredibly Jekyll and Hyde. At the Ping Pong on Great Marlborough Street it is always packed but I have only had one occasion where my food was forgotten and even when busy you can usually pester waiters to get some service. Southbank seems more relaxed in comparison with more staff and less of a feeling that they are at bursting point all of the time.

However, Ping Pong Spitalfields is an absolute nightmare. I’ve been there once on my own after working late only to have to wait an hour for my food whilst the restaurant was close to empty, and today in a group outing with work colleagues we had to wait, as well as the waiter not making any effort to announce dishes and make sure they got to the right people, or in fact to mention that some dishes were no longer even available after we’d already ordered them.

It’s a great concept, spreading the word of Dim Sum, offering nice teas, cocktails and so on, but for the price I’d expect a much greater level of service across the board and more consistency in quality of dishes across the menu.

If you do want to give Ping Pong a spin though in one of it’s less hectic locations, my current favourites are:

  • Char sui buns (honey roast pork in a fluffy white bun)
  • Chicken and cashew steamed and then griddled dumplings
  • Emperors ribs
  • Crispy prawn balls
  • Wonton soup

Have your own say