Restaurants Reviews

Dinner with MasterChef’s Ping Coombes

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a Malaysian Supperclub at Food at 52 hosted by Malaysia Kitchen, with dinner cooked by Ping Coombes (aka the winner of MasterChef UK last year). The whole point of the evening was to try to promote traditional Malaysian food within the London food scene, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I had ever had Malaysian food before that night!

I was also super excited to go because I was invited by Ala of This Particular, whom I adore and wanted to have a catch up with! Plus it isn’t every day that you get to eat food cooked for you in private by a literal MasterChef. Food at 52 is really close to Old Street Station, which was good because it was absolutely freezing out. There was a “make your own mocktail” bar set up for us to unleash our creativity on, and I haven’t had so much juice…well…ever. I guzzled glass after glass of cranberry, elderflower and fresh squeezed lime.

We then got stuck into making our own dumplings- a chicken and prawn mix with garlic chive- and I an safely say that I am NOT a master dumpling maker. However, thankfully none of mine exploded while being cooked and all that filling stayed safely tucked inside. I think Ping laughingly said mine “weren’t a true disaster” which I actually took as words of praise! As a side fact, the kitchen/dining room at Food at 52 is just lovely. It’s pretty much outfitted like my dream kitchen. Let me move in, please? The true winner in the appetiser course to me was the Kangkung fritters. Kangkung is a type of water spinach. Here it’s battered and fried. Basically, I’d never had such a delicious vegetable. Talk about how to lure a girl into eating spinach! (Just kidding because I really like spinach anyways so I loved this.)

For the main, we got a huge assortment of food. We all had to practically be rolled out into the night! But most excitingly, we got to try Ping’s Nasi Lemak, the dish she won MasterChef with! Ping even shared anchovies from her personal stash- you can’t find anything like them in stores because they are washed and prepared by her own mom, thousands of miles away! The whole meal was incredible and everything was incredibly flavourful, but my favourite dish from the mains had to be the beef rendang. I just loved everything about it. It was juicy, moist, bursting with flavours. Ugh. I wish I had gotten some boxed up to take home with me.

And then dessert came out. I took a bite and Ala and I locked eyes, both of our expressions delighted. It was phenomenal! I can’t sing the praises of this dessert enough. The creaminess of the cheesecake the balance of tart and sweet with the passionfruit, cheesecake coconut combo. Oh god. I was stuffed from all the food but could have eaten half a dozen of this dessert. Dear Ping, please always make this. Forever and always. If I was on death row, this is what I’d request for my last meal dessert.

Finally, I have to say that Ping herself was an incredible host. She was kind and attentive to everyone. She didn’t mind answering a few of my burning MasterChef related questions. Also she didn’t mind taking a photo with me which always gets someone a gold star in my book. If she does open her restaurant in Bath, I’d happily make the train trip out to her!

drinks tablemy drinkmaking my own dumplingsmy dumplingsdumplings
Two spoons for sharing I suppose? Or you could do like I did and have 2 spoons for one!

dipping sauce
chicken hearts
Glazed teriyaki chicken hearts.
fried spinach
Kangkung fritters.

soft shell crab
Deep fried soft shell crab.

bok choi
Scorched Bok Choi.

beef randang
Beef rendang.
chicken
Malaysian spiced roast chicken.

dessert
White chocolate and pandan cheesecake, with passionfruit, coconut and ginger crumb.
ping  table

Plus I have a pretty embarrassing photo of me with Ping (embarrassing because I was absolutely nerding out to be talking to her) that I posted on Facebook if you follow Rhyme & Ribbons there.

Thanks again to the Malaysia Kitchen for putting together such a fabulous night!

Do you watch MasterChef? Do you remember Ping’s season? Do you like Malaysian food?

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  • A huge fan of Malaysia cooking and this food looks amazing! What a cool event to attend – I’d be totally star struck! I’d also love to learn to make dumplings. I think they’d be way harder than they look!

    • I was pretty starstruck, to be honest! And I think I know my way around a kitchen, but I still found making her dumpling quite challenging! x

  • Ala

    Literally just the best night! And you’re so right, if I had one last meal I would actually choose that dessert to be part of it. Fab write up!!! xxx

  • It has been years since I’ve had Malaysian food and I honestly can’t remember all that much about it! When I lived in Singapore, Malaysia was so close that we could practically run there, so we went all the time. After seeing these pictures, it makes me want to go back and eat all the foods again and hopefully seal them in my mind a little better!

    • I’m sure you’d remember the tastes/flavours pretty instantly! And of course, if Ping opens her restaurant soon you can just pop in there! πŸ˜‰ xx

  • What a scrumptious evening – I love the fresh flavourings of Malaysian food & these sound delicious!

  • We just started watching Master Chef and are loving the show. I would totally be starstruck if I got to go to an event and have a chef cook for me that I watched on tv. And I am now starving after seeing all these tasty pictures!

  • Wow, all that food looks delicious! I don’t think I’ve ever had Malaysian food, but now I feel I’m missing out. The dessert sounds so good. I hope the restaurant does open – Bath is such a fun place to visit! xx

    • Agreed! And having a new food experience while in Bath would be even better! This was definitely my first exposure to Malaysian food! x

  • This all looks so tasty Amanda. I don’t think I have ever had Malaysian food before, but having seen this I should definitely visit a Malaysian restaurant as there are a couple in Edinburgh. The dumplings in particular look seriously good!x

  • Absolutely love Malaysian food! If you liked it, you should check out some of the Malaysian supperclubs around London (My favourite one is on my blog!) and they are stupendous. Hope Ping opens her restaurant in Bath!

    • This was hosted in conjunction with the Malaysian Kitchen supperclub and they did a fab job! I’ll have to go read up on your blog now! xx

  • I’m so insanely jealous!! This sounds and looks like an amazing evening. I want all the food πŸ™‚

    • I want all the food again! I wanted to ask to get my leftover boxed up but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it πŸ˜‰ xx

  • Such a fun night!!! I love Malaysian food– a lot of the food in SE Asia have similar food.
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  • I love MasterChef show. I have watched Australian, Indian and US version of this show. Not the UK one though πŸ™

  • I don’t watch shows like this they just don’t appeal to me that much and when I have watched the odd one here and there the food they prepared wasn’t nothing I would eat

  • It was an excellent evening! x

  • That is so cool! What a great experience.

  • So jealous! I love the US’s version of MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, so I think that is super cool!

  • mark a.

    that looks like a fun shindig with a lot of yummy food!

  • The food in these photos looks delicious! The glazed teriyaki chicken hearts are calling to me (and making me feel a little like some sort of mythical cannibal…even though I’m not a chicken). And that dessert sounds amazing! I love that passion fruit is a common flavor option in the UK.

    • The hearts were a bit chewier than I expected? Maybe because I don’t eat organ meat very often! ;D This passionfruit dessert…. ohhhh….. it was heaven in a tiny glass! x

  • Seriously, you live the most exciting life. I wish I could do just a fraction of all the cool stuff you do!

    • You’re way too kind! It’s nothing to do with me- it’s the luck of living in a city that ALWAYS has a million and one things going on! xx

  • ooh yum! I know nothing about Malaysian food but now I want to seek it out. wonder if there’s any in DC…

    • I didn’t know anything about it before either. But now I’m on a mission to eat beef rendang somewhere else! (Mostly because i want to try it again and I think my own attempts would fall far short.) xx

  • I’ve recently discovered such a love for south east asian food! And this all looks amazing – and to have a meal prepared by a masterchef herself! Amazing! πŸ™‚

    • It was just such a crazy cool opportunity! I’ve already tried to make a version of her beef rendeng. It just wasn’t the same! x

  • Miu

    I’ve never eaten Malaysian food before, but this sounds so delicious!