Friday

Ping Pong - dim sum on the Southbank

Ping Pong in Bayswater was the first place that introduced me to dim sum and I can't thank it more. Since my first parcels of steamed and fried goodies I've travelled all over London to try different versions and enjoy every second of my lunches when I do. I'm sure some of you dim sum foodies out there will shudder at the thought of the restaurant chain, however it lured me back in to try it's newer menu since my last visit almost a year or so ago.

Ping Pong Southbank has a dramatic walk across the river from my office and shows our beautiful city at it's best, especially on a clear Wintry day like last week.




If you're familiar with Ping Pong then you'll know the interior is that of a slick tea house and nothing like the places in china town which are slightly more traditional in simple décor.

I started my lunch with one of their signature flowering teas...'flowering dragon eye' a mix of green tea and jasmine really refreshing and cleansing. It burst out into a pretty flowered arch - almost too pretty to drink however curiosity (and thirst) got the better of me and it went pretty swiftly.





My lunch buddy Miss P and I settled for almost all the seafood options on the steamed menu and started out with the black prawn dumpling with squid ink pastry, king prawns and garlic. This was gorgeous to look at with it's shiny black casing and initially pleasant to eat... seconds later it left an acrid taste in both our mouths and one that was sadly no longer pleasant... Im not entirely sure whether this was from the squid ink however eating this before I do not remember this taste previously. I didn't eat my other mouthful...





The seafood dumpling with a carrot pastry saved the day and was delicious, perfectly steamed and filled with enough crab, scallop and prawn to keep any dim sum lover happy. 


Next up were the crab and prawn dumpling which sadly were over cooked and very stodgy. Causing them to be a little tricky to eat as the dough either stuck to the steamer or slipped off completely. The filling however was plentiful and tasty - even without its blanket. 


Prawn and chive dumplings was our final order and these were the other winner of the day. The green dough was perfectly steamed and springy. The chive gave a bitter dimension which was welcomed to what could have been a rather bland mouthful.  


Overall? A bit of a 50:50 lunch. My bubble of love for Ping Pong may have sadly been burst. I just wish they'd pay more attention to cooking and then maybe, just maybe, it's acceptable to be charging almost £2 more for the same dishes in China Town but here it seems you're paying for the décor. It's  perfectly great for dim sum virgins, like I once was all those years ago... however I urge you to go and try some of the more traditional places in London where they have history and pride in what they cook. 

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