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.
Malaysian spiced roast chicken.

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?

You Might Also Like