I had to write to mention one of the most amazing meals I have ever had. It was on Saturday 8th April at Champor Champor, and we had the 'raised room' option, which is a fantastic little idea in itself, and felt like Malayan royalty.
Food, service and general atmosphere was fantastic, and great to see the new extended area hasn't compromised anything. Our 2nd anniversary was made into a real treat (only the second dinner we have been out since baby Miaa was born, so it was intense!! If you havent been- you just have to sample this amazing jewel of a restaurant.
Yes, we were slagged off badly by Giles Coren in Saturday's Times. It is a classic Coren ‘hammering' designed to titillate his readers with a one-sided tirade and lots of amusing quips and catty comments.
What concerned me most, though, was the total lack of attention to the truth. We accept two or three of his points, but the article is riddled with inaccuracy, half truths, exaggeration and contains at least one downright lie (he did not book using the name Norman Wisdom). This alone calls into question the integrity of the entire piece.
We have written to Coren directly about this, although it is unlikely to make a damn of difference.
He wrote this in response to a review by Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times back in January. Contrary to Coren's implication that Liddle knows nothing about food or restaurants, he actually writes quite a few restaurant reviews for The Sunday Times (for example this week).
The two articles couldn't be more different. Everyone has their own opinion. You decide.
But don't forget that if you do like Champor-Champor you are a mere ‘naïve and credulous punter' according to Coren... Oh well, I suppose we can't all be superheroes with god-given rights to write what the hell we like in national newspapers.
I'm not a fan of Giles Coren - when he went to Sardo Canale in Camden/Primrose Hill, his 'piece' spent 95% of the time banging on about his wonderful Jewish extended family. All rather heart warming and a bit of background colour is all well and good, but I was rather interested in the restaurant. What few words he did say about the place, I've forgotten.
Re Champor Champor - we went in on a weekday evening a couple of months ago, the staff on 'the floor' initially looked at us like we were two-headed (I know that Mrs Paul is rather distractingly gorgeous, but it is rude to stare!) and then when I asked if they could give us a table for two they looked very confused and after a short debate between the two of them, they decided not. I've always wanted to go there but our reception was so off-putting that we decided not to bother with them in the foreseeable future - we went to Cantina instead.
Paul, so sorry to hear that we could not accommodate you.
Unlike Cantina Vinopolis, we are only a small restaurant - we only have 38 covers plus the private room - so it is not uncommon that we are fully booked at weekends, and sometimes even on weekday evenings as well.
Of course we would not have turned you away if we could have accommodated you sensibly. But having been 'caught out' a couple of times in the past, we are cautious about trying to take too many guests and either overloading the kitchen or not giving you enough time to enjoy dinner properly. I didn't quite understand the 'two-headed' bit.
Anyway, please do give us a try, as we always welcome locals and consider ourselves to be part of the local community - not least because at least half of us here also live in the area as well.