Ping Pong, the dim sum chain led by Jean-Michel Orieux, aims to open 10 new restaurants in the UK over the next three years, despite selling its Hampstead site to Cote for an undisclosed sum. In addition to its UK expansion plans, the company is to accelerate its international development and recently signed a franchise deal for Saudi Arabia, with further territories under negotiation. The company, which operates 11 standalone restaurants in the UK, is understood to be actively looking for sites this year and next in busy footfall areas in London, such as Covent Garden, Kensington and Victoria, plus cities such as Manchester and Birmingham earmarked for 2013. The group also operates Now, its smaller takeaway style outlet, opposite London’s Liverpool Station, which it opened last year. The company, which currently operates three sites overseas, including a site in Dubai, will open a second restaurant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this July and a second restaurant in Washington DC in August. Ping Pong made its debut in America just over a year ago. Ian Daly, the former Compass executive, is heading up the company’s American foray. The Hampstead site will become the 27th restaurant operated by Cote, the French bistro chain run by Andy Bassadone and owned by Richard Caring, and its 14th in the capital. Property advisor Davis Coffer Lyons (DCL) brokered an off market deal on the leasehold interest of the 3,405sq ft end of terrace site. Cote has taken the remainder of a 25-year lease from October 2007 on the site, for a substantial undisclosed premium. Brandon Elmon of DCL said: “Cote has been thriving this year and plans to add at least another ten to its portfolio in the next year. Hampstead is a special location and sites in the village come up once a decade. Ping Pong are still expanding and were reluctant sellers following an 18 month chase, so I’m thrilled we have been able to secure this site.”