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Business News/ Mint-lounge / Features/  Lounge Review: Ping’s, Delhi
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Lounge Review: Ping’s, Delhi

Ping's Caf Orient has got the South-East Asian street atmosphere bang on

Ping’s interior. Premium
Ping’s interior.

With its bright red walls, grungy decor, neon lights spelling out “Me love you long time" and 1980s pop music, Ping’s Café Orient has got the South-East Asian street atmosphere bang on. On climbing the stairs to the washrooms, you even see clothes hanging on clothes lines, Vietnamese cone hats used as lampshades on the terrace and barber chairs alongside stacked magazines.

Elsewhere, there are random assortments of knick-knacks, from mini sauce bottles to odd cups and saucers and porcelain karate figurines. Our table used a Fox candy tin for forks and knives and paper napkins. Brown paper and newspaper-laminated table mats completed the look.

Nicely done.

The good stuff

The place is great fun and got quite buzzy by the time we were halfway into our meal. We started with the Chunky Raw Mango Salad ( 245), eight slices of raw mango with a spicy dressing and brown sugar to take off the sharp edge. Delightful and fresh. Four sticks of Petaling Street’s Charcoal Roasted Pork Skewers ( 245) came with big bites of tender and beautifully dressed pork belly. The Ebisu Ramen Vegetarian ( 395) was a generous portion, full of spring vegetables, tofu and greens in the broth. My vegetarian friend devoured it, describing it as perfectly balanced and fresh-tasting.

The Gagnum-style Tenderloin Bulgogi ( 445)—made with buff meat, of course—came shredded on lettuce cups in a fantastic home-made Korean sauce with an onion base. It was tender and delicious and is an absolute must-have.

The Georgetown Fish Biryani ( 495) used basa. We asked for it to be substituted with red snapper—and it absolutely hit the spot, four pieces of marinated red snapper on a bowl of spiced short-grain rice sprinkled with coconut powder.

The Sticky Banana Pudding with home-made coconut jaggery ice cream ( 245) was excellent. The pudding was big on banana flavours and the substantial coconut ice cream cut the chewiness with its rich freshness.

All their cocktails use 60ml shots, which is great. I had a Midori Sour ( 300) with Midori, bourbon and an egg white. The sour flavours were right on the money. And the melon liqueur was great for a warm day. The Miso Mary ( 300) came in a large Collins glass with three cherry tomatoes and delivered a spicy punch. The Singapore Sling ( 450) was, according to my much travelled dinner companion, as good as the one at Raffles, Singapore.

The enthusiastic owner was on the floor all through our visit, actively recommending dishes and seeking feedback, which was nice. Best of all, I loved the switch at each table that allows you to call a server instead of resorting to the usual wild gesticulations. Perfect for crowded evenings.

The not-so-good

I was looking forward to the Bora Bodur Temple-style Gado-Gado Salad ( 245), imagining a plate of bright vegetables with egg and a peanut sauce, but this was a sad little dish of a bed of mixed noodles with only bean sprouts that tasted of pad thai, topped with curdled tofu slivers.

The Singapore-style Hainanese Chicken Rice ( 445) needed better flavours from a stronger stock. The multiple sauces of soy did nothing for the dish.

The Hibiya-style Smokey Bacon Wrapped Prawns ( 395) were unfortunately smelly: We tried two, complained and sent them back. They still charged us.

The Mango Sticky Rice ( 245) tasted as bland as it looked. I couldn’t taste the coconut in the rice nor did I find any additional garnishes of sesame or herbs.

Talk plastic

A meal for three cost 6,367 for two salads, two appetizers, three mains, one Ramen, two desserts and three cocktails.

Ping’s Café Orient, 13, Main Market, Lodhi Colony. Open from noon-1am. For details, call 9999447977

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Published: 24 Jun 2016, 12:46 PM IST
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