Every great night out should involve balls: ping pong balls, that is. And thats exactly what youll have at Bounce: Londons first ping pong bar/restaurant.
Founded by Adam Breeden, the co-founder and former CEO of Londons super successful bowling alleys All Star Lanes, and Dov Penzik, a former professional table tennis player, Bounce is located on the site where table tennis was invented (in 1901 by John Jaques III, fact fans). It even houses the table that was used for the final of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Bounce itself is just that: bouncing. You enter through a dark red door, go down the stairs, and are greeted by a wall of sound. Ping pong balls litter the floor (warning: youll do well to avoid being hit by flying white plastic balls during the course of your evening), and groups of office workers, friends and couples on dates whoop and cheer excitedly as they succeed in actually getting a rally going.
The venue itself, created by award-winning interior designer Russell Sage, is visually striking: it houses 17 bespoke ping pong tables, and features a 40ft long cocktail bar (the drinks are delicious. I had a Mothers Pearl, a vodka, tonic and grapefruit concoction, while my friend tried the Hatton Garden Spritz, a blend of vodka, rhubarb, elderflower and prosecco).
Towards the back of the room is a raised restaurant (a ball-free area, thankfully), featuring an open kitchen, where you can watch the chefs create delicious traditional-style pizzas with thin, crispy bases. We had juicy, succulent king prawns with garlic, chilli and a Sicilian lemon butter, along with marinated anchovies with capers to start, followed by two pizzas, which we shared one topped with mozzarella, spinach and egg, the other with tomatoes, anchovies, capers and black olives all washed down with a bottle of juicy malbec.
I hadnt expected to find some of the best pizza in London in a ping pong joint, or that I loved table tennis so much, but Id return to Bounce in a shot.
The ELLEuk Score
Value: 6.5 (its quite expensive for pizza)
Style of food: Italian
Good for: A first date (it gets you talking!), night out with friends
Prices and Other Details at Bounce
Opening times: Mon-Wed, 4pm-midnight; Thurs, 4pm-1am; Friday-Sat, 12pm-1am, Sun, 12pm-11pm
Average price per person: Pizzas are £13, an hours off-peak ping pong is £18
Set menu: No. A la carte and bar snack
Price per bottle of house wine: £18 for a bottle of Ponte Emiliano Trebbiano Chardonnay 2012; £19 for a bottle of Legato Nero D'Avola 2012
Price of glass of house wine: £3.5 for a glass of Gable View Sauvignon Blanc 2013 or Legato Nero D'Avola 2012
Price of bottle of house champagne: £70 for a bottle of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial
Price of glass of house champagne: a glass of house prosecco (Jeio Bisol Prosecco Brut) costs £6.50; £35 for a bottle
Private dining: No
Garden/al fresco dining? No
Best table? Get a corner table near the open kitchen
Bar? Yes, a 40ft long cocktail bar
Who goes? Couples, groups of friends, office workers
Nearest tube: Chancery Lane