28 June 2007
South Bank Centre,
Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
Tel: 020 7960 4160
You'd be batty not to go
As Spiderman knows - with great power comes great responsibility.
The team behind the rebuilding of the Royal Festival Hall and its surroundings certainly had great power - and with it responsibility to maintain and improve the hall's fantastic surroundings and restaurants that serve the building.
And, rather like Spiderman, the team appeared to have come through with flying colours. The terraces and streets that surround are teeming with gastronomic choice.
However, the greatest cause for celebration should be the first branch of the fantastic dim sum chain Ping Pong to emerge outside of the West End.
Ping Pong, for those unfamiliar with its delights, offers a tempting dining experience based largely around a small thin sheet of paper and a small pencil. Intrigued? Let me go on.
When you arrive - preferably for them in a large group - you are presented with two menus, one conventional, the other a thin strip of white paper.
You then write a number next to each dish that you fancy that evening. The recommendation is that each person should have three to four dishes.
The food arrives at your table, relatively quickly, in the order the chef's finish cooking it. None of this starter, main course business - the food just comes at you fast and hot.
We started with cocktails. The Vanilla, Lemon and Vodka (£5.75) was slightly sickly but the trademark Ping Pong (Martini Bianco, White Wine and Lychee juice, also £5.75) was superb.
We then dug deep into the dim sum menu. Particular stand outs were the slippery, spicy squid in satay sauce; the juicy spinach prawn wrap; the sweet, chewy char sui and vegetable buns (a must have!) and the packed straw mushroom and salmon rolls.
The service was professional, the atmosphere relaxed and chatty and the elderflower ice cream sorbet at the end excellent.
FOOD (1-5) 4
AMBIENCE (1-5) 4
PRICE VALUE (1-5) 4
DISABLED ACCESS YES
DISABLED TOILET YES
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