Bangalore restaurant reviews Buffet

P!NG - Koramangala's hip Dim Sum joint

Sunday, October 11, 2009Me! In words

We love eating out. The new, the exotic, the unique… bring it all on. So when we were invited to review P!NG, whose specialty is Dim Sum, I jumped at the opportunity. Ping is located at Koramangala, 1st Cross. Your main landmark is the Sukh Sagar. Keep it to your left and go straight on for around 100 metres – P!NG is to your right. P!NG derives its name from the Chinese character "Ping" which means the best, of the highest standard and applies to food, clothing, attitude, a person's bearing or stature. Ping, interestingly also refers to the stuffing inside a Dim sum.

While Chinese cuisine is P!NG’s basis, its claim to fame are the more than 35 varieties of Dim Sums. Literally meaning, "touch the heart," dim sum is the original small-plates cuisine; a series of dumplings and other steamed or fried items - served on small dishes or in bamboo steamers - that are inextricably tied to the experience of "yumcha," or drinking tea.

We couldn’t wait to get started and kicked off with bubble teas in Green Apple and Blueberry flavors. These are chilled tea drinks with marble-sized Tapioca pearls. You are given broad straws with which to suck them up. The feeling they give is that of over-sized sabudana and add a whole new dimension to a refreshing drink. Also brought to the table was an amuse bouche or a teaser – this was hot garlic sauce in a shot glass with a crisply fried spinach filled wonton

The amuse bouche

Blueberry (left) and Green Apple bubble tea to the right

We wanted to dig straight into the Dim Sums, but Animesh Mahata, the general manager suggested that we first try out a soup since Dim Sums generally take 15-20 minutes in terms of preparation. And so a Cilantro flavored egg drop soup (a P!NG signature dish) it was. The egg drop soup of course came with the subtle flavoring and distinct presence of cilantro and a chicken dumpling.

Cilantro Flavored Egg Drop Soup

And now it was time for the Dim Sums. We thought that the best way to sample a variety would be to have a vegetarian and non-vegetarian Dim Sum platter. And this was brought on. The vegetarian platter came with Soya and Basil wanton, and when I say spicy, each bite gave the word spicy a new level. Spicy grilled mushroom had a medium spicy, slightly crunchy exterior and with the softness of mushroom miraculously intact on the inside. The pan fried vegetarian bun had a nice coating (quite bun-like) on the outside and simple mixed vegetable filling on the inside. The Tofu and Spinach Har Gau from the All Time Favorites section, and the Spinach and Cheese Dim Sum were really nice as well.

Both the platters before they were devoured

The vegetarian platter

Next came the non-vegetarian platter. The fish and shitake dumplings (from the signature list) were exquisite and completely melt in the mouth. Next came the chicken and chive pan fried Dim Sum. Soft on the outside, spicy chicken on the inside. Chicken satay on bamboo skewers completely disappeared when it hit the palate, such was the softness. The Shanghai chicken and the Prawn tail too were a treat. For me the show stopper was the signature dish of threaded crab dumplings with wasabi mayo. Once you get through the crunchy exterior, you come to a wonderful bundle of juicy and tender crab meat that hasn’t been overly spiced. The combination of wasabi and mayo are interesting, with the taste of wasabi not being washed out at all. The Fish and Shitake dumplings, also from the signature line were good.

The non-veg platter

Though we would have loved to taste the variety of the rest of the menu, the generous quantities left us with just about enough of space for a clay pot vegetarian rice and a Phuket Fish which was sliced fish with burnt chillies, lemongrass, basil, bell pepper and green scallion. The rice was nice and loaded with veggies. The Phuket fish was the good spicy and the right combination to the rice. The aroma of lemongrass takes you away from the ambience of a restaurant to a green valley in monsoon.

Clay Pot Rice to the right and Phuket fish to the left

Dessert was chocolate brownie fudge with vanilla ice-cream, simple and nice. We rounded off the meal with Jasmine Chinese Tea which soothed our bursting-at-the-seams tummies. As mouth fresheners we were given dainty parcels on toothpicks and were asked to guess the ingredients. Here are the clues – a standard Indian end to a meal, a universal favorite in white, and since I am feeling generous I will tell you that it was topped off with sesame seeds. The chef’s creativity sparkled. Any guesses.

Guess what this mouth freshener is made of

Chocolate brownie fudge with vanilla ice-cream

Jasmine Chinese Tea

The ambience of the place is elegant and the d├ęcor not overtly oriental. As customary, Anoushka has me visiting the restrooms which are outside the restaurant seating area. She was most fascinated with the Barbie and Ken dolls that labeled the restrooms. Neat and clean is the verdict on them. A meal for two sans alcohol comes to around Rs 800. The vegetarian Dim Sum platter comes at Rs 325 and its counterpart for Rs 100 more, totally worth the experience. Dessert Bay, an offshoot P!NG will soon begin in the outdoor area. Service is cordial and efficient. Of course, making a meal of Dim Sum is something that you should want to enjoy. We will definitely be back here to check out the rest of the oriental menu.

Address: No 130, 1st cross, 5th block, Koramangala, Bangalore 560095

Tel - 41329357, 41521773

Cuisine: Dimsums, Oriental

Cards Accepted: Yes

Parking: Valet

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