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8 Reviews

Several London locations.

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    8 Reviews
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      09.03.2010 12:08
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      Busy Dim Sum chain restaurant.

      I had heard about Ping Pong Dim Sum restaurants but had yet to visit one. A while back whilst in Central London, by the Royal Festival Hall we spotted one and decided to try them for ourselves. We visited on a Sunday, at about 2.30pm.

      The particular restaurant we had chosen was done out in a contemporary black and silver style, so was quite dark when you go in. There seemed a lot of people milling about the reception so we were unsure where to stand, but they moved quickly. The restaurant was full and we were asked if we would wait in the bar for about half and hour. We didn't really as we were quite hungry, but didn't fancy looking for somewhere else. There was an option of being seated sooner if we were prepared to sit at a shared table. We were given a little buzzer to take to the bar with us, and once upstairs we were seated in a small lounge area and our drinks, which were brought to our table. When the buzzer went we moved back downstairs and the drinks were added to our bill.

      We were seated at a table for two, along the right hand side of the restaurant and I was surprised how far back it went. We perused the menu and as neither of us had been to one before we were a bit stumped as to where to start from the dazzling array of cold, steamed, fried and baked dim sum. It is clearly marked what is for vegetarians and what isn't, and where nuts are used and which recipes are low in saturated fat, but we didn't really know where to start. In the end my partner went for the Seafood set menu and I had the vegetarian one. The Menus we chose were only available to 5pm, but there were alternatives available later.

      I had heard that dishes arrived on an ad hoc basis, in no particular order and you just tucked in as they arrived. This wasn't the case with the Set Menus as they came on individual little platters, each divided up and the waiters quickly said which was which. For both of us we were served 2 mooli and spring onion puffs as our baked selection. I had no idea what mooli was, but it appears to be the stringy noodley ingredient that you get in spring rolls from your local Chinese restaurants. In my steamed selection was a approximately five vegetable dumplings, all looking differently as far as size, shape and colour is concerned and with different flavours but essentially containing mixed Chinese vegetables of various varieties and different spice levels and tastes. Although they are fairly small and would normally be gone in 2-3 bites, they are quite filling. As I am fairly inept at eating these with chopsticks, it took me more then 3 bites to eat most of them. They also brought a wrapped parcel of sticky rice for both dishes and this gave a different taste and texture to everything. My menu included a side dish of pickled carrot and mooli, but they couldn't have had any as they brought broccoli stems in a sesame dressing. I think I would have preferred this so was quite happy with the substitution, although I think they should have told you if an advertised dish was not available to avoid disappointment and to ensure you liked the alternative. My fried selection included two vegetable spring rolls, much like the standard ones you get elsewhere. The seafood menu seemed to contain a good mix of fish and vegetable dim sums and my partner agreed that they were very filling also.

      The dessert that came with both our menus was banana and chocolate spring roll with a scoop of ice cream. The spring rolls were warm and full of banana and melted chocolate, absolutely delicious, and I was glad that I had a little bit of room left to try and eat them. Saying that, the combination of warm spring roll and ice cream was a bit odd, and certainly the ice cream was nothing exciting. We paid £12.99 for the veggie menu and £13.49 for the fish one, which seemed typical. Drinks were averagely priced at about £2.00 for a coke. I think the set menu represents good value, especially as first timers, we didn't know what or how much to order. If I went back I may well have the vegetarian set meal again as I think it offered a good selection of dishes and there was plenty of food. Typically individual dim sum dishes were £3-4, and contained one or two dumplings and I would think it would be very easy to over order and try too much, as they are quite filling. A 'discretionary' service charge of 12.5% is added. In my experience service was quick and efficient but we had no real need to call our waiter over for anything.

      This was certainly a Sunday lunch with a difference and I would go back again. The branch I visited was very busy, hence the wait for a table, so I would advise booking (parties of 8 or more only) or arriving early if there is a large group of you. There is also a Sunday Lunch special offer of all-you-can-eat, but it was more expensive, so recommended only if you are very hungry.


      Ping Pong - South Bank
      Festival Terrace
      Southbank Centre
      Belvedere Road
      London SE1 8EX

      Mon-Sat 12pm-2am
      Sun - 12pm - 11pm

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        25.01.2010 11:01
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        A sanitised, westernised dim sum restaurant

        I used to be totally in love with Ping Pong, but unfortunately (for Ping Pong) our love affair has come to an end.

        I used to frequent the Great Marlborough Street Ping Pong although I have also visited the one near Baker Street and once the one near Liverpool Street (appold Street; more of that later). There are various locations around London so you can easily find a location near you.

        The good;
        The food loosely based on a (westernised) version of dim sum consists of little Chinese style dumplings, fluffy buns with fillings, flaky pastry type bites, and some fried bits and pieces and soups. There are also set menus which are good value and drinks. As another reviewer has mentioned there is also 'lazy sumday' whereby you pay a fixed price on a sunday and then stuff yourself with dim sum till you burst :) The food is good, if you are not expecting authentic Chinese food (about as Chinese as wagamamas is Japanese) and there is a good variety of dishes. The decor of the restaurants is nice, dark woods and a cosy atmosphere. It's also a nice 'experience' in that it's different to other restaurants, you write your order on a little score type piece of paper and then you're presented with a tower of bamboo steamers and you're off.

        The bad
        It's not authentic, if you're Asian or have lived in any part of Asia where they serve dim sum, you won't be impressed. No chicken feet here, but then most westerners probably won't be happy eating chicken feet (unless they're feeling adventurous). Another 'bad' is that I was served meat in a supposedly vegetarian dim sum (in the Appold Street branch). If you're vegetarian (and I hadn't eaten meat in ten years) you will appreciate that this is quite traumatic. I can understand mistakes, but I did ask three times if they were sure my dish was vegetarian and was assured it was. After some poking about on my part, they finally conceded that yes it was meat. They comped my entire meal but I was still not impressed.

        The rude
        Well the staff. In The Great Marlborough Street branch I once tried to remove the automatically added gratuity and was asked by a surly member of staff 'why?' I replied that I had asked several times for water which didn't appear and had also had to ask several times for my bill. His response was 'so basically, just cos you had to wait more than 1 minute'. I was quite shocked. I'm happy to pay service if service is good but I don't expect to be interrogated as to why I choose not to pay it. Service should not be a 'given'. In other locations I've also heard staff swearing, and had to ask several times for the same thing. I don't expect staff to be perfect, but I don't think it's much to expect politeness.

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          17.11.2009 13:05
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          What's with the attitude?

          There are a number of Ping Pong dim sum restaurants across London, which offer delicious meat, vegetables, rice and fish all wrapped up in delectable little packages. For anyone who doesn't know, dim sum is Cantonese food and is traditionally served from trolleys that staff wheel round to customers so that they can choose what they want. The restaurant that I am reviewing is the Great Marlborough Street one, although I have previously been to other branches.

          Location

          45 Marlborough Street
          London
          W1F 7HL
          Tel: 020 7851 6969
          Email: gms@pingpong-group.com
          Website: www.pingpongdimsum.com

          This is in central London, just down the road from Liberty's. The Oxford Circus tube is the nearest tube station, but it is also possible to walk from Bond Street and Piccadilly Circus. There are countless buses that pass nearby, get one heading for Oxford Circus and you won't go far wrong. The website has maps for all the restaurants, including this one.

          Decor
          It really is a very attractive restaurant. Everything is done in typical Ping Pong style, lots of black and chrome and there is a lovely atrium to look down on - tables and seating are organised around the edge. There are two levels - upstairs and downstairs, although the upstairs (which is on ground level) tends to get filled up first.

          Ordering food
          It is quite different from other restaurants in that, although there are proper menus, there is also a sheet of paper with all the available dishes for customers to tick off as they choose. Serving staff then take this away to the kitchen. This is all explained to customers as they are shown to a table and is really very straightforward.

          Food
          Much of the food is dumpling style, steamed in bamboo steamers or sometimes fried or griddled. However, there are also stir fried dishes, mainly vegetables, should you be looking for something green. Most portions comes in threes, although sometimes there are just two - it is worth asking if you are ordering for a group of people. And there is a variety of deserts; I've never tried any, but my friends have and loved them.

          We were a group of three and ordered a selection of dumplings, including char sui buns (lovely steamed bread with a pocket of meat at the centre), prawn dumplings, sticky rice wrapped in a vine leaf with chicken in the middle, pork shao mai, beautifully cooked ribs and a vegetarian dumpling. The steam dumplings all arrived in the bamboo steamers, so were beautifully hot, but everything else was nicely warm too.

          Drink
          There is a great drink list with all sorts of cocktails as well as the usual wine and beer. I had a couple of glasses of wine, my friends had sparking water and iced tea, which came packed full of ginger and was apparently delicious. It is worth trying the cocktails, which are gorgeous (I've had some before), although expect to pay around the £5 mark.

          Service
          This is where the restaurant really falls down for me. It is often the case that staff in restaurants in central London are poor on customer service and this was certainly the case here. I arrived ten minutes before the restaurant opened, although I didn't know this and, in any case, the door was open. There was no-one in site, although I could hear much laughter from downstairs. I stood and waited to be seated, but still no-one came. Eventually I called down the stairs and a girl came up and asked me what I wanted. On asking for a table, she said very rudely "Well, we're not open for another ten minutes, so you'll have to go and wait at the bar" and promptly went back downstairs. Of course, the bar wasn't manned either, so I couldn't even get a drink while I waited.

          Eventually I was seated, although ten minutes after the restaurant had officially opened. The ordering process went smoothly, until my friends ordered a couple of dishes that weren't on the menu that day. A server came and told us that one of these dishes is only served in certain restaurants. We asked why it was listed on the paper sheet that we had chosen it from - apparently it is too expensive for all the Ping Pong restaurants to have separate menus. It's a piece of paper, for goodness sake! And once again, the server's tone was surly and rude.

          Facilities
          The toilets are immaculate. Wheelchair access is possible on the ground floor, but there doesn't seem to be a lift downstairs, so anyone with mobility problems would be limited to the ground floor.

          Price
          Each dish costs around the £4 mark, although there are exceptions - the ribs, for example, were over £6. A glass of wine was £4 too and that seems to be a fairly average cost for alcoholic drinks, although cocktails are a little more. We ended up paying just a bit less than twenty pounds each.

          Conclusion
          The food is good enough that I would be prepared to go back, but I really hope they do something about customer service, because it just isn't good enough. It's a shame, because it is otherwise a lovely restaurant in a good location. Three stars out of five.

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            09.11.2009 22:52
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            extremely tasty food, and a sociable dining experience

            This is one of my absolute favourite places to eat in London. Perfect for a quick lunch with friends, or a big dinner out with the family. If you aren't familiar with Dim Sum, you should take your time looking at the menu, and making sure you understand what everything is. Might even be worth looking online at the menu first (www.pingpongdimsum.com). The basic concept is little parcels of food. Most orders come in threes, so if you order sticky rice, it will come in 3 little parcels, wrapped up in a big lotus leaf. Most dishes are between £3-£4, and 3 or 4 tends to be enough. They fill you up suprisingly quickly! The set menus are also good value for money (around £12-£13 for 10 parcels), if you don't mind the preset combinations on offer. My favourite dishes are the char sui buns (a steamed bun with honey glazed pork in the middle), the chicken beggar's purse (a large crispy chicken dumpling), and the Vegetarian sticky rice parcel. mmmm delicious :-)

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            21.06.2009 18:06
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            Fast for a week and then head to a Lazy Sumday at Ping Pong!!

            Honestly, I don't know if I have the energy to write this! I have just come back from "Lazy Sumday" (unlimited Dim Sum), at Ping Pong and I'm truly stuffed!!

            Ping Pong is a dim sum restaurant. Their tag line being "Ping Pong Dim Sum - little steamed parcels of deliciousness". For those of you who have never tried Dim Sum, it's kind of like Chinese Tapas. Load of small dishes, with about 3 servings per dish.
            The nice thing about Dim Sum is it really is a way of sharing your meal with your friends, and by tradition is quite a sociable meal. So Dim Sum is a great type of meal to have a meal with friends. You get to try and share many small dishes.

            Ping Pong are a chain restaurant and with 12 restaurants located in and around Central London. We love going to the one in Westbourne Grove, London. The staff are always polite, it's quite a large restaurant, quite spacious and you do not feel like you are sitting "on top" of other diners.

            But on to my "Lazy Sumday". We love Dim Sum. I got hooked on dumplings whilst travelling round China, and the majority of Ping Pong's menu is focused on dumplings. So my "Lazy Sumday" - all you can eat Dim Sum for £18.49 including VAT and service, on Sundays - is really a dumpling feast.

            "Lazy Sumday" allows you to order from nearly all sections of the menu excluding drinks, set menus, signature dishes, specials or desserts. But don't let that deter you. There are still over 40 dishes you can choose from of which 13 are dumplings, the rest cover everything from salads to pickled vegetables to prawn toast to soup to spring rolls!! Plenty to choose from!
            The dishes are listed on a paper menu, you select which ones you want, and they take the order away, book it, and then return your paper menu to you for next time.

            The average price per dish, which is generally 3 serves is £3.00 to £3.50. So to get value for money I need to eat at least 6 dishes of dim sum or at least 18 dumplings. Remember I said I like dumplings. I will also add at this point, that this was a planned trip to Ping Pong today, so my friends and I did not eat breakfast in order to leave plenty of room for Ping Pong!! It was quite a "marathon session" - round about 2 hours, and I'm not in any hurry to cook dinner any time soon! I'm not going to tell you how many dishes we ordered and ate (I don't believe in wasting food, so we only order again once we have finished everything on the table) but we definitely got value for money today!

            As mentioned I love dumplings, and my favourites are prawn and chive, or "Chive" on the Ping Pong menu. These, like most dumplings arrive at our table in steamed baskets stacked one on top of the other. The Chive dumplings are a beautiful half moon shaped dumpling, green in colour due to the chive pastry and stuffed with prawns!! Yummy. My boyfriend loves the traditional Pork Shu Mai - "Pork and king prawns in an open pastry topped with a Chinese wolfberry"
            So we ordered lots of these 2 types of dumplings!! We also had some great seafood sticky rice, pork buns, beef puffs and spring rolls! Plus a whole lot more. Ping Pong change their menu quite often so I always try their new dishes when I return.

            To wash it all down, Ping Pong has a great drinks menu - both alcoholic and non alcoholic. I've tried their alcoholic cocktails before and they are really really good (Lemongrass & lime or vanilla lemon & vodka are great), but today we stuck with their Fresh Lemonade which you mix yourself with various flavourings/purees. Normally there is peach and raspberry puree available, but today they had some new flavours; passion fruit, melon, green apple or strawberry. This comes as a shot of puree/flavouring which you pour into your lemonade! Yummy!! I can highly recommend the passion fruit one.

            I also like to order one of their flowering green teas, which come in a tall tumbler glass and they top up with hot water throughout your meal. It's a great way to help the food go down!!

            We were offered desserts and coffees, but we really didn't need it.

            If you aren't up to stuffing yourself silly with Dim Sum on Lazy Sumday, the full menu and the set menus are also available everyday, including Sundays. Their set menus are really good value too. The "Dumpling Fix" set menu for £11.79 gets you 2 steamed buns, 7 dumplings of various types, 2 duck spring rolls, and a dessert. Pretty good for under £12!!

            The other great thing about Ping Pong is there are lots of vegetarian options available! It's also a family kid friendly restaurant - Westbourne Grove always seems to have balloons for the kids! (kids under 12 can have Lazy Sumday too for £9.25)

            So if you are looking for a nice place to go, love dim sum, are really really hungry then Lazy Sumday at Ping Pong might be the place for you!!!

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              04.06.2009 18:50

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              Definitely try the sunday all you can eat for £18

              I am a huge Ping Pong fan- I go so often my flatmates make fun of me! This is dim sum pan-Asian modern. Its not traditional, they don't come around with carts of chicken feet; if that is what you're after you should go to Chinatown. Ping Pong is much more fusion- some of my favourite dumplings include shitake mushroom and scallop, and their prawn and chive dumplings, which are encased in green chive laden dough. I am also a big fan of their vegitables- I do not know what they do to their fried aubergine but I need to figure it out soon because they are addictive- and so are the tempura asparagus! Their cocktails are also delicious, especially the ping pong cocktail, and the flowering teas are worth it if just to watch the flower open up in your glass. Their sunday all you can eat dim sum offer for £18 is amazing- trust me, you'll eat enough to make it worth it!

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              24.02.2009 18:02
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              A great place for your first steps into the world of dim sum.

              Ping Pong markets itself as "the Twenty-First Century Tea House" and its aim is to bring the world of dim sum to the masses.

              Chinese food is very popular, but I think that dim sum is a lot less well known, so here is a brief summary:
              * Dim sum is the name for a Chinese cuisine which involves a wide range of dishes, such as dumplings, steamed buns, sticky rice and fried items.
              * The items are usually served in a small steamer basket or on a small plate and you usually get either 3 or 4 of each item as one portion.
              * Chinese families usually have dim sum together on a Sunday for a family gathering and this means that lots of different dishes can be ordered for everyone to share, quite similar to Spanish Tapas.
              * In proper Chinese restaurants it is usually served in the mornings until mid afternoon.
              * Copious amounts of Chinese tea are consumed with dim sum and drunk from cute little cups.

              Going into a proper Chinese restaurant can be a bit daunting and I say that as a Chinese person who cannot speak Chinese. Being born in England I have always considered English to be my mother tongue, but I really regret never being able to learn my parents' language. This makes it especially difficult and embarrassing for me to enter a Chinese restaurant as the staff expect me to be able to communicate with them.

              So this is why I took my English friends to Ping Pong in Soho instead of venturing into traditional Chinatown. Ping Pong is a fully westernised dim sum restaurant. All of the staff look Caucasian and speak English. I think I was the only Chinese person in the whole establishment.

              The menus are sheets of paper on the table with tick boxes for you to mark your choices. They serve cocktails and lots of wines, spirits and beers, which to me is deviant behaviour when it comes to eating dim sum (the majority of Chinese people don't really drink alcohol, that's why we're such lightweights!). Much more conventional is the serving of tea, however Ping Pong have taken this a step further and they have flowering teas - a tea 'ball' is served in a long glass and when hot water is added a beautiful 'flower' blossoms, which is actually very impressive.

              The décor of the restaurant is slick, modern and chic. So is this place all style and no substance? Well, in short, yes.

              There were 4 of us and one of us was a vegetarian, so we ordered a variety of different Set Menus, so we could try both the traditional dim sum items that I am familiar with, but also some of their own creations. The Set Menus were around £12 and you get about 8 dishes, and considering each individual dish costs between £3-4, it is quite good value.

              The traditional Har Gau (prawn dumplings) and Shu mai (pork and prawn dumplings) were quite bland compared to what I am used to, but I guess I have been spoiled as my parents take me to places where the dim sum is excellent (my mum is very particular!). However, they did redeem themselves with the Spicy vegetable dumpling and the Sticky Rice.

              Overall, everything was edible and we all left the restaurant pretty content with our meal. My friends thought it was brilliant, which was a great relief, although I think the cocktails they drank helped things along tremendously!

              However, I wouldn't dream of taking my parents to Ping Pong, as it would be like me taking them to McDonalds. It's not that the dim sum is awful, it's just that the menu is such a watered down version of what they're used to. None of our family favourites were on the menu, such as Chicken Feet, Ha Cheung Fun (cannelloni shaped rice noodle filled with prawns) and Woo Gok (a fried egg-shaped ball made from taro with a meaty filling). These dishes probably sound hideous and that is why Ping Pong is so popular: because it has taken the least scary elements of dim sum and made it accessible.

              My fiancé, who's English, comes with me when I meet up with my family for dim sum (at London Hong Kong in case anyone wants to know where to get the real deal!) and he loves it. He's never turned his nose up at anything that's been presented and he's happily tucked in. So maybe Ping Pong needs to be a bit more adventurous with its menu, however I doubt it could ever win over true traditionalists. As for me, I'll quite happily sit on the fence on this one as I'm happy to go where the food is good and I don't need to point/use hand gestures to order - oh and a blossoming flower in my tea is always a bonus.

              There are currently twelve Central London and City based Ping Pong restaurants:
              Appold Street
              Bow Bells House
              Goodge Street
              Hampstead
              Market Place
              Marylebone
              Soho
              South Bank
              Spitalfields
              St Christopher's Place
              St Katharine Dock
              Westbourne Grove

              Opening hours for each restaurant varies, but they are generally open Mon to Sun: 12pm - 11pm - check website for details http://www.pingpongdimsum.com

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                24.02.2009 12:45
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                Step in for some Chinese Dim Sum and cocktails

                Ping Pong is a small restaurant chain that seems to have taken off in London over the last few years. It serves Dim Sum, which according to Ping Pong translates as "little pockets of deliciousness", and has been a big hit with me and everyone I've visited with.

                My most recent visit to Ping Pong was to celebrate my 4 year anniversary with my boyfriend. We were going to the theatre at 7.30, so we wanted a restaurant that was central, reasonably priced, and that would not be empty and dead at 5.30 on a Saturday as I hate the feeling of being the only people in a restaurant and having all eyes on you while you eat your meal. In all respects Ping Pong matched up to this admirably and we ate at the Waterloo restaurant on the South Bank this time, although we have eaten at many others in the past and found them to be of a consistent quality.

                The atmosphere in Ping Pong is great - walking into it I was struck by the décor, which is all dark wood, the lighting is fairly low, but not so low that you can't see what it is you're eating, and the background music tends to be fairly laid back electronica. All of these elements combine to give a trendy but laid back feel - it's not so uber trendy that it's offputting, there were a variety of people of all different ages in the restaurant, so definitely not a 'trendy' young person's place. There are different sizes of tables - you can sit at a small square table for two, or a huge circular table which seats about 10 people, or some Ping Pongs (the Great Marlborough St one I recall) have seating around the bar. The seating is low benches, so probably not suitable for those with a bad back, but gives a nice modern feel. When we arrived at 5.30, the restaurant was quiet, but certainly not empty with maybe 7 other couples around the restaurant. We were seated this time on a big circular table, sharing with another couple seated on the opposite side. I know some people find this communal style of eating offputting, but I don't have a problem with it myself, particularly when the restaurant uses circular table as in Ping Pong, finding it creates a relaxed and chatty atmosphere as it's much easier to talk to your partner if you are next to them rather than sat across a table. There are also coat stands to hang up your coat, so no need to put it on the seat next to you or on the floor.

                Ping Pong serve a range of drinks, including Chinese beer, and a fairly large cocktail list (including non-alcoholic cocktails) with a large selection of martinis (lychee and roses appealed to my girly side) and long cocktails (Wasabi and Amaretto sour possibly one just for the adventurous!) We both went for cocktails - my Raspberry and Bourbon one proving a big hit with me! The most popular drink to opt for judging by the other diners though is the Jasmine tea. The tea is served in a glass with a jasmine flower in and the waiter will drop by to pour hot water into it, served from a beautiful copper kettle. As the hot water works its magic, the jasmine flower opens and blooms. The effect is really beautiful and spectacular, it's just a shame that the one time we opted for this, I realised very quickly that I really don't like Jasmine tea, however pretty it is! But if herbal/flavoured teas are your thing, this is a must have and a real attention seeker.

                The concept of Dim Sum is very cute - each dish is made up of between 3-5 mouthful sized parcels, baked or steamed and included a variety of ingredients. When you sit down you are given a paper menu which lists all the varieties of Dim Sum available and a pencil. You order however many dishes you think will fill you up (and beware, it's easy to overorder, as my Grandma would say, eyes bigger than your belly!) by marking a cross against it and then the waitress will arrive to take your order. The choice of different dishes available is staggering and utterly mouthwatering - you can choose from pastries like Pork Puffs or Char Sui Buns (honey barbeque pork wrapped in steamed fluffy dough bun), prawn toasts, or veggie dishes like sticky rice wrapped in a lotus leaf (don't try to eat the leaf as we saw one lady trying to do!), or spinach and mushroom dumplings. There is plenty to choose from and plenty of veggie variations. I would say about 5 dishes should be enough to fill two hungry stomachs, or if you are feeling unsure, you can opt for a set menu which gives a selection of dishes from across the menu. We opted for the Char Sui Buns (the boyfriend's favourite), Prawn toasts (my favourite), Pork Puffs, some duck spring rolls, Spinach and Mushroom dumplings and some seafood sticky rice.

                The dishes tend to be delivered as they become ready, which unlike Wagamama, isn't a problem as they are all bite size dishes which don't rely on the others to make up the meal, so you don't end up with one person eating and the other waiting. It also makes a nice laid back meal, as the remaining dishes tend to arrive just as you finish one. As the waitress delivered each meal, she would cross it off the paper menu where we had placed our order, so we could easily keep track of what the dishes in front of us were and what was left to arrive. After ordering our dishes, the waitress brought us two little dishes of dipping sauces, one was chilli oil, and the other was a chopped chilli sauce. For those with sensitive palettes, beware of the chopped chilli sauce - my boyfriend is a sensitive chap and found this far too spicy! For the more adventurous (like me!), this was the perfect accompaniment to a few of the dishes. The steamed dishes are served in bamboo baskets, to ensure they are kept warm until you are ready to eat them, while the other dishes are served on individual white china plates. The seafood sticky rice is particularly interestingly presented, arriving wrapped in a leaf bundle that you unwrap to reveal a square of very sticky and sweet rice. The table is set with your own plate, which you then serve the Dim Sum onto using Chop Sticks. Chop Sticks are the standard cutlery tool and you will need to ask for knife and fork if you need them, but to be honest, the Dim Sum are usually perfectly manageable, even for those not so proficient in handling chopsticks! And if that fails, there's always your fingers if you're sneaky!

                The food itself is great. I love Dim Sum, as you can get such a variety of different dishes in one meal and really satisfies someone like me who often has real trouble choosing just one thing off the menu and normally ends up sampling other people's dishes as well! Because so much of the dishes are steamed, it's also very healthy, and because you eat a little at a time, your body has time to realise when it's full and you can stop eating. I find the dishes are generally lovely and tasty, the quality of the meat is good (not always the case in Dim Sum, and I am particularly picky when it comes to tough or gristley meat), and they don't tend to be particularly spicy, which is always good for the sensitive among us. For those who like things a bit spicier, the dipping sauces are perfect for hotting things up a little and giving it a little kick. The only problem when dining as a couple is that there tends to be either 3 or 5 of each item, which results in the inevitable dividing up of items at the end, trading off to ensure everyone gets a combination they are happy with.

                Service is generally very good. We were seated promptly and our order was taken quickly. Drinks arrived quickly, as did the food. The only problem we encountered was in trying to get the bill, by which time it was very busy, with every seat in the restaurant being full, and was rather difficult to get the waiter's attention. Despite this, it wasn't really a problem and we did get the bill once asked promptly.

                I did pay a visit to the toilet before we left and they were clean and fitted in the same dark wood style as the restaurant. The sinks are great - a steel trough, rather than individual sinks, and I was slightly taken aback to see that I could see someone washing their hands on the other side of the sink - the men's toilets! Strange, but made me laugh anyway.

                Our meal cost us £48, including service, which when you bear in mind it included 4 cocktails is not bad at all. Because we were celebrating an anniversary, we were a bit more extravagant in what we ordered than we would have been normally, but the price still didn't come close to what it would have had we visited a more upmarket restaurant.

                Ping Pong have restaurants in Waterloo, Great Marlborough St (just behind Oxford Street), Marylebone Goodge Street, Westbourne Grove, Hampstead, St Katherines Dock and Spitalfields and I would thoroughly recommend them for a reasonably priced meal out. It does tend to get very busy and popular on weekend evenings and you are not able to book, so if you are looking for something very quick, unless you're early like we were, this probably isn't the best option! I remember on one occasion last year waiting for nearly an hour to be seated (not a problem, as we had plenty of time and had a seat in the bar upstairs and were given one of those strange bleeping machines to indicate when your table is ready, but definitely something to bear in mind if you do need to head somewhere afterwards) I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Ping Pong expanding into other cities soon as they are clearly so popular and successful in London.

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              • Product Details

                Serving delicious chinese hand-made dim sum, fragrant teas and sensational cocktails.