I can remember what a buzz the original Ping Pong on Gt Malborough St created when it opened about 4 or 5 years ago. Now the chain has spread throughout London and Dim Sum is an established part of the capital's food options. Now the experience may not be as authentic as stallwarts such as the excellent "Royal China" but the food at Ping Pong is approachable and reasonable. There is a comprehensive choice with a few leftfield options for the adventurous. For a while it was my first choice for a quick casual lunch but my last vist to the Great Malborough St branch left me feeling that like the restaurant the concept was getting tired. You are only prepared to wait so long for someone to come and refill your jasmine flower tea with hot water when you are sitting at a chipped table eating overcooked dumplings. However last week we were entertaining a customer at work who professed a love of dim sum but as they were from Leicester they had not encountered Ping Pong before. We decided to avoid Gt Malborough street and try the Market place branch.
The market place branch benefits from a big window frontage so it feels less dingy than other branches. It's a medium sized place and though busy it was starting to empty out when we arrived at 1:30. The bar man greeted us as we entered and a table for 3 was quickly prepared for us. I ordered a full selection of steamed and fried options for us and a round of jasmine teas. The tea came quickly and the hot water was replenished regularly. In fact the staff were very good, friendly and efficient. Less harassed than the huge flagship outlet and just getting on with looking after the customers. The ordering is still done off the list which I quite like.
The food was actually pretty good. I was less impressed with the fried duck rolls than the steamed dumplings. These were really very nice. We tried a black dumpling which was very nice. the seafood ones were very good with good balance of taste and texture. The ribs were also very good with a generous portion. The Lotus leaf rice lacked a bit of flavour but otherwise very good. Our customer loved it and bemoened the fact it hadn't made it up to Leicester. The bill came to about £20 a head which was very reasonable. We all really enjoyed lunch and it has encouraged me to Ping Pong again though if I am out with the family I would normally always go to the "Royal China" however if you are up in the West end this particular Ping Pong branch is to be recommended.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8