JB’s Ping Pong Gastro-Bar opened its doors last month and already has a solid clientele of fans who love the mix of excellent food, craft beer and of course, table tennis. Whilst it’s situated on Wharf Street in what was formerly Champions, or B Bar for those of you that can remember that far back, JB’s is a million miles away from anything that has occupied this site before.
It may seem like a novelty, a bar and eatery filled with table tennis tables, but it is far from that. This new establishment has all the hallmarks of an excellent place to go, whatever the occasion. We popped along on a Friday lunchtime, for a quick bite to eat and mini table tennis tournament, under the watchful eye of island table tennis legend Josh Band. Josh and Marcus Calvani, of The Calvani Group, well known for his work at La Cantina amongst other new venues, have worked together on this new venture to create not only an excellent looking venue (the table tennis theme being Josh’s idea), finished off with only the best fixtures and fittings, but also an insanely excellent menu and a back bar (which is down to Marcus and his team) like none other you’re currently likely to see in Jersey. They’ve also installed nine large HD screens, making it the perfect place to kick back and indulge in the Rugby World Cup games over the next month and all other sports including F1, Cricket, Golf, Tennis and yes, the Football too.
So a little more about that back bar, you can choose from a selection of 60 different international craft beers from brewers such as Brewdog, who are responsible for the aptly named ‘Sink the Bismark’ a beer which is a staggering 41% and comes in at £10 for a 25ml serving, definitely one to try for beer lovers, but not for the faint hearted. You’ll also find makers such as Beavertown, Curious, Flying Dog, Backyard, Shipyard, Innis & Gunns and local brewers Liberation too. They’ve also got 8 different vodkas to choose from, 12 different gins and no less than 12 rum’s too. They also have a great wine and champagne list too, which means there really is something to suit every taste. We had a little dabble, as it was lunchtime it really was only a little dabble. Trying not only some of the craft beers, but also the excellent range of ciders and spirits on offer. Even our secret Smirnoff ice lover (honestly) was found a great alternative, a Chase Marmalade Mule, made by the well known English producer’s perfect blend of flavours all served in a can!
So the table tennis tables couldn’t be avoided forever as they are at the heart of JB’s, so off to the Wimblepong area we went. This is a private table which offers groups the chance to host their own mini tournament. It was rather a good job it was more private as it would appear that I literally can’t play table tennis, not one to be put off by failure I kept trying, but was truly horrendous, but… I haven’t laughed that hard for sometime. I moved out of the way and let those that don’t have the arms of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and they got stuck in to some much more competitive play.
So enough of that, on to the food… I am rather partial to being supplied with a bounty of delicious dishes, rather than having to peruse a menu, and JB’s did not disappoint in this respect. The team, including manager Ross Michalski and head chef Matt Gordon, picked a selection of their most popular dishes for us to share. These included the most decadent mac ‘n’ cheese you’ll ever taste; a bowl of creamy white truffle (that’s right truffle) baked pasta, topped with parmesan, breadcrumbs and rocket had me reaching for my fork to stab the hands of my fellow Gallery team members to get them away from the dish. Oh and the chicken wings, which were easily described with just one word by all, EPIC! Apparently you’ll be hard pushed to find better this side of the pond, meaning you’ll need to go stateside to beat them, and even then you’ll struggle. The base of the sauce is the world famous Franks Red Hot Sauce imported from America, which gives it a suitably feisty kick.
Next up was the JB’s ‘Dirty cow’ burger, holy cow is perhaps a more appropriate way to describe the delight that was laid before us. Made with 100% aged Jersey Beef, from Woodlands Farm, served in a brioche bun and topped with a, fried mac ‘n’ cheese patty, we kid you not, add in crispy bacon, sun-dried ketchup and a bucket of chips and you are going to be in burger heaven, or a mild food coma, whichever comes first! This was chased by a ‘chilli weiner’, something I’ve only ever heard of thanks to the watching of copious amounts of American films. Another triumph, up comes that brioche bun again, this time filled with a 11” smoked hotdog, & house-made Jersey beef chili, cheddar cheese, onion, fresh tomato and a side of chips.
If you’ve got room for pudding then be sure to try the white chocolate cheesecake. This is a hybrid of Marcus’ classic NYC cheesecake layered with Josh’s mum’s recipe for white chocolate cheesecake and a popping candy biscuit base. Or the drunken raisin carrot cake, served with sweetened mascarpone cream and Dogfish DNA soaked raisins. Ask the guys for a suitable choice of beer or liquor to pair with any one of your course, but in particular pudding. Their warm choc and nut brownie with salt caramel popcorn and vanilla icecream not only pairs perfectly with Beavertown’s Smog Rocket smoked porter, but the guys at JB’s also donate £1 to PinkPong cancer charity for each one sold.
It would be remiss of us not to tell you about the lighter options being offered too, these come in the form of stone-oven flatbreads topped off with a variety of tasty ingredients, perfect if you’re not quite up to taking on one of the divine burgers or a plate of piled high nachos, but who are we kidding, does anyone really want to opt for the lighter option when you’re faced with so many other mouthwatering options. Whilst I could wax lyrical about most things food related for as long as you’ll read for, the best thing for you to do is get yourself down to JB’s and try it all for yourselves.