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Thursday, November 22, 2012
»Pizza and table tennis are two of mankind’s finest achievements. That is a cast-iron fact.
So I reckon the people behind the All Star Lanes bowling alley chain have served up a winner with their new venture Bounce, which claims to be sited on the very spot where ping-pong was invented by Jacques of London in 1901.
It combines these twin triumphs of human ingenuity and throws in the further delights of cocktails, music and retro-industrial decor for good measure.
The past few years have seen a few attempts to harness the indoor sport’s growing popularity, mostly involving wheeling a few tables into a bar, but this is probably the capital’s first purpose-built venue. Barring any actual table tennis clubs, that is.
It’s a stylish underground space that boasts a whopping 16 tables – including one Olympic model that I’m told was used in the Games.
Bounce, 121 Holborn, EC1N 2TD
Station: Farringdon/Chancery Lane
Tel: 020 3657 6525
Mains: From £9
Wine: From £18
Children welcome: Until 7pm Monday to Wednesday, 6pm Thursday to Saturday, all day Sunday
Disabled access: Yes
Everything has clearly been carefully thought out, with plenty of room for the agile player around each table and all the equipment feeling good quality.
There’s none of the saggy nets or crap dimpled bats of your school days.
The restaurant is on a raised platform to the back, meaning you’d have to hit an extremely wayward ball to land it in somebody’s salad – although my girlfriend gave it her best shot.
The food is mainly pizza and a few other Italian staples, all reasonably priced from £9 to £13.50.
Everything was nicely presented and the pizza recipes were pleasantly different from the norm. The bases are soft and light and the liberally sprinkled woody herb worked a treat on our goat cheese, caramelised onions and rosemary pizza (£9).
The sides could have been more generous, but a grilled aubergine parmigiana (£9.50) main was both filling and tasty. For afters we opted for red berry fool and Eton mess (both £5) – they looked just the same but the latter was the clear winner.
All in all, the food is good and the place is great fun. How could it not be? It’s table tennis and pizza – and happily it does justice to both.