I met up with Kake last week to catch up and share some iron eggs I had. We originally planned to meet at Bea’s in One New Change but when we turned up, it was closed for a private event. Bad luck. We both didn’t know the area very well and so opted to try Ping Pong, a chain of dim sum restaurants that seems to get positive reviews.
Have you seen that Family Guy episode where Stewie gives Brian criticism of his performance at work? And he says that the way to give criticism is to first say something positive and then follow with the negative? Well, that’s how this review is going to go.
Something positive (SP): The cocktail-like drinks were quite pleasant and there’s plenty of choice for those going dry. I had an apple and lime iced tea that was quite refreshing even though the jasmine tea used in there was overbrewed. Actually the place had a nice buzz about it and I can imagine it being a nice place to meet your friends for drinks.
Something negative (SN): They serve their hot teas in the most impractical way. Kake’s tea came in a tall glass with the tea suspended in a bag. The waitress then came over with an obviously very heavy teapot and struggled to pour the hot water into the glass. As it was heavy, she poured it down the side of the glass, missing the tea entirely. Kake had to push the tea down into the water with her chopstick.
crispy prawn balls, served with sweet & sour sauce (£3.99)
SP: The crispy prawn balls weren’t too bad; they were certainly well fried and … crispy. The sweet and sour sauce was weird though.
crunchy golden vegetable dumpling in yellow turmeric pastry (£3.69)
chicken and prawn dumpling in red cabbage pastry (£3.99)
SN: The wrappers on all the steamed dumplings were horribly mushy and sticky. And the dishes arrived quite quickly after ordering, leading me to suspect that lots of dumplings are presteamed and then left on the steamer to keep warm. The turmeric pastry of the vegetable dumplings too was much too strong and overpowering. Perhaps we ordered the wrong dumplings, we thought, and so ordered the siu mai to see – no, those weren’t great either.
scallop & shitake dumpling (£3.59)
king prawn & scallop sticky rice (£3.99)
SP: The sticky rice in a lotus leaf was alright though I have had better versions.
SN: All the fillings were chopped up quite finely. Prawn and scallop? More like prawn and scallop mince. I could just about make out the prawn but the scallop I couldn’t taste at all. All the meats were minced in this way giving the dim sum fillings a strange texture and making me feel like I was getting ripped off. Everything was pretty much edible though… except for those vegetable dumplings that were all sorts of wrong.
fish & black pepper dumpling, served with hoi sin sauce (£3.59)
SP: OK, I’m running out of positive things to say now. As Kake pointed out, there’s step free access to the restaurant!
SN: There’s carrot in everything! The siu mai had pureed carrot on top! The vegetable dumplings had lots of carrot in them! Minced carrot in the sticky rice! There was carrot everywhere!
seafood shu mai, king prawns & scallops topped with carrot (£3.49)
SP: The mango pudding wasn’t bad; it was a little denser than I would have liked but still, it was nice and fruity and was served like an island in a coconut milk sea.
mango pudding, with coconut milk (£3.19)
SN: The price. Our bill came to around £40 between the two of us; that’s quite possibly the most expensive dim sum I’ve ever had (considering the amount and quality of the food). I won’t be returning.
Curious about the iron eggs? They’re from Taiwan and were brought back from Taipei by a colleague who went there for work. These are hard boiled quail eggs that have been simmered in a soy sauce mixture and dried and simmered and dried repeatedly until they take on a most unworldly colour and texture: black and hard and chewy on the outside and creamy and fudgy on the inside. I quite liked them!
1 Bread Street
London EC4M 9BE
(There are other branches.)