Ping Pan-Asian (Selfridges) – Oxford St, LondonHALAL STATUS Fully Halal
2014’s MasterChef winner Ping Coombes has really come a long way since securing the coveted award all those years ago.
Readers will be familiar with her debut restaurant, Chi Kitchen, located on the ground floor of Debenhams’ flagship Oxford Street store in Central London.
Ping Pan-Asian, while again located on Oxford Street, is “an exclusive first” for the Selfridges flagship store, and has been serving Malaysian-Chinese cuisine since August of last year.
Situated on the 4th floor as part of The Selfridges Kitchen, this deli counter can also be found at the Trafford centre in Selfridges Manchester.
This one, however, is part of an elaborate canteeen that houses a diverse range of cuisines, many of which, we’re happy to say, cater for Halal.
As such, whether you’re looking for Indian street food, Lebanese grills, healthy salads, or some quality desserts, this place really does appear to offer “a world of exotic tastes in the heart of London”.
Conveniently, if you’re looking for a quick grab-and-go, then Ping Pan-Asian – part of an international umbrella brand called PappaRich which aims at championing Malaysian and pan-Asian cuisine across the world – can also be had as a takeaway from the Foodhall on ground floor G.
Most important of all, is that, this time round, we got to meet Ms Coombes herself and interview her (be sure to check our video below for that).
While we’ve had a fair few Chicken Satays in our time, what sets Ping’s apart from the many already forgotten, is the seamless marriage between the sweet-earthy richness of the thick, viscousy peanut dip and the tenderness of the attractively scorched, smoky skewers.
As with any Chicken Satay, however, the secret in enjoying this staple, is to really dunk those skewers good n’proper, and have them as thoroughly coated in as much of that gorgeous peanut sauce as possible.
These were small, dainty and so well cooked that we could have easily devoured a dozen of these and asked for seconds!RECOMMENDED
Honestly, it was simply too close to call when deciding between these utterly delicious Aromatic Duck Spring Rolls and the Chicken Satays above.
If we had to go with one, it would be the former; but only because seldom does one encounter Halal inhouse duck spring rolls.
In short, it was all about the shredded duck – moist, tender, and delivering on that deep fatty flavour, which borders almost on the wild, we all yearn for in a well cooked duck.
Thinly wrapped in ultra-crispy-cum-flaky pastry, and paired with a rich sweet and tangy hoi sin dip, this might just be in the running for an end of year award!
While these didn’t quite have that mirror-like translucency one looks for in an ideal dim sum, they were wonderfully steamed. With cavier and roe used to add that touch of luxury and colour, it’s quite remarkable that such attractive packages, which allow for the freshness of the ingredients to speak for themselves, should materialise from, of all purported places, a canteen!
And his other two colleagues can certainly appreciate that, because this was a seriously good one.
With two types of noodles, namely egg and vermicelli respectively, this large bowl of vibrant orange garnished with fresh green mint leaves was out to impress.
This was a melange of soothingly gentle spices tempered by the familiar creamy sweetness of the coconut, with just that hint of the sea lingering in the background.
The seafood was judged perfectly, the noodles on the right side of soft, and the beansprouts assuring textural contrast.
And if you want to crank up the spice-level, you can make use of the inhouse Sambal Sauce that’s available on request.
This mildly spicy and aromatic Char Kway Teow with prawns was nicely balanced. The flat noodles and varied textures throughout combined to deliver a tasty plate of food.
We also found that running some of that pungent sambal sauce through this helped elevate it to the next level of scruminess.
While one has the option of choosing between fried chicken or steamed, both can be ordered for an additional 2-quid. For review purposes, of course, we opted for the pair.
This Hainanese Chicken Rice also comes with two sauces: a chilli ginger sauce and that impressive hoi sin sauce that accompanied the duck spring rolls above.
Hence, one Lion found a place for both chickens, describing the steamed, particularly when had with the chilli sauce which provided a fruity-herbal kick, as “extremely satisfying”, and the crispy-skinned fried as a “good addition”.
The other two, however, despite enjoying the texture of crispy chicken skin, found it to be relatively dry.
If we had to go for one though, it would be the steamed, in spite of its soggy skin. The moistness of the flesh on this bird, especially when had with the two contrasting sauces, was tremendously satisfying. In fact, had the fried chicken been half as moist, this intriguingly good dish would definitely be one worth exploring.
Despite the chicken being tender, this Nasi Goreng, while being fragrant, wasn’t quite as enticing as some others we’ve had.
With the following observation summing up our most pressing criticism: “I wasn’t too fond of the rice which, although glazed, felt a little dry to the bite,” we didn’t quite get that level of comfort that’s brought about by the homely flavours of a classic Nasi Goreng. Not bad, but nothing outstanding.
- NO/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
This was seriously good, with two or three dishes, including a curry laksa, we won't be forgetting any time soon.
Not many people will know of The Selfridges Kitchen. But, given the quality of Ping Pan-Asian, and the sheer variety of Halal options available on that floor, this place is definitely worth exploring, with reasonable prices, plenty of seating, and enough to probably keep you coming back for a while.
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