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Champor-Champor - Forget It!

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Monday 11 March 2002 11.38am
Has anyone been to this nasty little place?

They do a set menu - two courses for £19.50 and three for £24.50. However, you can't just have one main course or two starters - i.e. there's no freedom of choice. The starters are miniscule and the main course consisted of ropey bits of sub-standard chicken. The decor is something the very supercilious owner is most proud of, but Camden Market stall style bric a brac with joss sticks and twangy music only further irritated my frustration with the place. Furthermore, they overcharged me and my companion by £10 pounds and when we complained the next day (not realising until we got home) about this and the general problem we had with the meal, the owner became most shirty with me. He did offer me a full refund - half of which I took him up on. However, he then emailed me after I'd done this and told me to never come back and how embarrasing it would be to have to throw me out if I did! He seems to of built up a clientelle of somewhat deluded people - probably due to the fact that the area is fairly limited for decent places to eat. I only hope that better restaurants come along soon and push this unpleasant person out of the picture.
Monday 11 March 2002 3.11pm
I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion and clearly Miss Hicks did not like anyhting very much about Champor-Champor. But if she wants to do her dirty washing in public, I would at least like to clarify a few points that she raises.

Firstly, I accept that there was an error on her bill, but I certainly did not become 'shirty' with her. In my reply email I apologised and told her that obviously we would refund the error. She then told me that she thought it was all over-priced and that she was not happy with the portions or quality of the food and I offered her a refund up to the full amount of the meal, rather than have her feeling 'ripped off', as she put it.

I don't consider that is being 'shirty'. It is probably being foolish. She asked for a 50% refund on top of the refunded error, which I gave to her the following day without any problem. I don't know which other restaurants would do that. After all, it is not like taking things back to a shop and asking for a refund.

Even after doing this, she wishes to slag the restaurant off in public.

She mentions Camden Market style 'bric-a-brac'. Nothing in the restaurant comes from Camden Market; the pieces were imported from India and Southeast Asia directly; others were made specially for the restaurant.

Champor-Champor is not an 'ordinary' restaurant and I guess some people 'see' it and others don't, but I am sure that our regular clientele would be disappointed to be labelled as 'deluded' by one person who seems to have an axe to grind.

Miss Hicks mentions the lack of good restaurants in the area. I think that there are actually quite a lot of good restaurants in the area - and more on the way, no doubt. Time will tell whether or not we get 'pushed out of the picture'.

We are a small restaurant, with what many people say is a very special ambience. It is our intention that people should have a good time in the restaurant; we regard it as a total dining experience - a combination of good food, ambience and service. This is partly why we offer set two or three course dinners (which also includes bread/tofu and canapes before the meal). Most of our guests like to linger in the restaurant and tell us that they enjoy the food, ambience and seem to have a good time. Many vote with their feet and come back with friends.

I would rather not have people like Miss Hicks - who clearly dislike all aspects of the restaurant - dining with us and then making a big fuss about it. That is precisely why I asked her not to come back. I even went so far as to recommend some other restaurants in the area, since she has recently moved here.

Charles Tyler
Monday 11 March 2002 5.57pm
I most certainly have visited this excellent and charming little restaurant and should be delighted to recommend it to anybody.

The service was impeccable, we were served by the educated and very polite owner who guided us through his menu and wine list.

The food was frankly amazing. The first impression was that it was a delight to the eye. My dining companion and I chose the same dish, but you would not have guessed it from the individual and artistic different presentation of the two plates. I am pleased to report that the food is also a delight to the palate. I do not recall going away hungry, either.

Finally, the atmosphere is delightful, and it would doubtless be further improved without the presence of the Natalies of this world. (Perhaps she can point me to the stall in Camden market where I can replicate Champor Champor...) I am not deluded, either!
Monday 11 March 2002 5.59pm
May I say what a polite, well balanced and fair reply which epitomises everything Champor stands for. Not everyone can appreciate the refined, cultured, well-mannered, different approach that Champor takes.
Monday 11 March 2002 6.55pm
It's interesting to hear constructive criticism about a restaurant and that's why I like this forum, but I think Natalie's vitriol has sacrificed anything meaningful she may have to impart. Calling somewhere a "nasty little place" is not likely to engage anyone, nor is calling their clientele, of whom I am one "deluded".

I have had a good experience of Champor. It's always good to see someone pioneering something different, which by its nature isn't for everybody. The attention to the cuisine, detail and ambience is uncommon. Given how many unsuccessful attempts I have had at booking places, going out of business does not seem a possibility and it's also not the sort of place people go because there are few other restaurants.

Your post has had the reverse effect, because the fact they offered you your money back only serves to reinforce my experience of this restaurant. And if your post is anything to go by, I would have been "shirty".

If you don't like the decor or prices, why did you even sit down? There is a restaurant you will probably enjoy on St Thomas Street. It's lit with a neon sign you can't miss it.
Monday 11 March 2002 7.15pm
Each to his/her own I suppose but I would suggest that Natalie's experience of Champor Champor is a minority view and I would hate to think that anyone would deprive themselves of experiencing this truly delightful restaurant on the basis of her review.

The interior, ambience, presentation, food and service may not be everyone's taste (it ain't fashionable in a Conranesque mould) but it forms a satisfying and seductive whole and is very different from any other restaurant which I know. I really do not think I have been deluding myself as to its attractions on the several occasions I have dined there.

Whatever one's taste I am astonished that anyone could carp about it being bad value for money. The prix fixe includes a fascinating and delicious selection of bread, amuses (NB plural) bouche which like the principal courses (of which there is plenty of choice) are prepared to order. Oh and I nearly forgot the extensive and unusual wine list which will suit all pockets providing one does not wish to spend more than £25!
Tuesday 12 March 2002 12.24pm
Champor Champor needs nothing but praise, it's a fantastic little restauarant and an asset to the area.
Wednesday 13 March 2002 3.29pm
Being 1 of the first to enter the splendid surroundings of Champor Champor, and having visited the original in Lankauwi, Malayasia, i find it inconceivable and quite rude of NATALIE, to imply that, not only i, but countless of friends and clients, which i have subsequently taken there, to be "DELUDED"
Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but being of sound mind, unbias, levelheaded, and appreciative of all things "new and exciting, I (and most people i know), find Champor Champor (so good you have to say it twice), to be an absolute GEM of a restaurant, in an area that was lacking somthing as vibrant as this exquisite little venture.
Natalie, may i suggest, that if this food is too refined for your delicate palette, then perhaps you should explore the concourse in London Bridge main line station; i'm sure you won't be disappointed by the variety of choice, the splendour of the setting, and the mixture of clientle.
Failing this option, all i can suggest is that you take a blanket, and park yourself beneath 1 of the cashpoint machines along B/H/S, and collect scraps from passers by.

may you have a fruitfull and pleasant life!!
Thursday 14 March 2002 8.38am

There is always one.

I am astonished that despite receiving a refund of half of what she has paid she had the audacity to complain about the place in a public forum.

Champor Champor is my favourite London restaurant. I take many friends there and dine there often with my partner. I recently meet a friend in New Zealand who was still singing praises for the restaurant despite not having been in the country the last six months.

Natlie , I suggest to you that Pizza Hutt may be more to your liking. Lots of food (all you can eat) and a price you can afford. The décor is as bland as you are.

Thursday 14 March 2002 11.34am
Oh boy, the knives are out for Natalie, she overdone the criticism thats all, in fact she's done me a favour - it's given me a reason to go out and try a new eating establishment!
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