48 Newman Street
London W1T 1QQ
0207 291 3080
Monday to Saturday: 12-11pm
When your order of organic dragon well green tea comes served in a tall and very large glass, with a make-shift tea bag perched precariously on the rim skewered with a satay stick, you know your hopes of a nice dim sum meal are ****ed.
Indeed, we did not enjoy our meal at Ping Pong at all. Judging by the virtually empty restaurant, probably very few people enjoy eating at Ping Pong.
First dish that arrived was Oriental ‘spice’ pork crackling. This was by far the best dish of the whole meal, and it wasn’t even very crispy.
The next dish was a baked seafood puff. The seafood filling was tasteless and underwhelming, and the puff was completely wrong. It just felt like we were eating Cornish pasties instead of Chinese dim sum. If we had wanted Cornish pasties we would have gone somewhere else, so this was a major disappointment.
The other dishes pretty much all sucked. Chilli squid cake was bland and under-seasoned; Sichuan Emperor Selection was mostly inedible as it was sour and tasted like it had gone bad 2 months ago; Black prawn dumpling tasted and smelt of really foul cheese (who ever has heard of cheese/cream in dim sum?); Har Gao was tasteless and definitely not fresh; Coriander ‘hot & sour’ soup didn’t taste of coriander, but of something else really strange and unappealing, it seemed more like a mixture of sauces than soup; Gai Lan with Shallots and Soy Sauce was overcooked and lifeless – I can definitely do much better, and that is saying a lot; Satay Chicken Spring Roll was a total insult to satay, chicken, and spring roll; Seafood Shu mai looked unappealing and was just bland; Spinach and Prawn Wrap was tasteless as well; and the Pak Choi was again, overcooked and bland.
Some of the not so horrible dishes were: Spicy pork dumpling, this had really bad texture – far too slimy and mushy, but tasted alright; Char Siu Bun (spelt char sui bun on the menu) was not bad, but nothing special; Maodou (edamame) was decent, but then again, if you can screw up steaming edamame you have no business opening a restaurant; Crispy prawn ball – sauce was dreadful but the prawn balls were actually quite nice, and the crispy ribbons used to hold the prawn filling together was quite addictive; Chicken and coconut rice bowl – tasty, but there was too much coconut milk so the rice was soggy and by the way, this dish does not qualify as dim sum at all.
Overall, there was not a single dish that was good at Ping Pong. Dim Sum is supposed to be all about freshness and a lot of excitement packed into small morsels of food exquisitely made. The reality at Ping Pong couldn’t be further from that. There was nothing fresh about the food, and we definitely couldn’t feel any excitement from or for the food at all. We understand that the food isn’t meant to be ultra-traditional Chinese, and that the kitchen tries to experiment with flavors, fusing different cuisines together, but we feel that the combinations were all wrong. Perhaps the food was designed to suit Western tastes, so as to appeal more to the majority of their target clientele. However, judging by the number of customers we saw enter the restaurant that day, they have definitely failed in that aspect, by not only alienating themselves from the people who know what Chinese dim sum should be like, but also by alienating the people who don’t know what Chinese dim sum should be like, by serving substandard food, completely misrepresenting dim sum, and insulting their customers’ palates with such terrible cooking.
By the way, it was impossible to drink the tea as it was too hot to lift the glass, and it was really complicated trying to balance the tea bag, while trying to stop it from dripping tea all over the food, while trying not to burn your fingers, while trying not to scald your tongue while trying to drink the tea.