Le Petit Parisien respond to criticism

Note: This was left as a comment for the previous post, but I thought it deserved a post of its own. — Peter

Hello all.

My name is Matthew, and I am the FoH Supervisor at Le Petit Parisien.
I’ve been reading with horror some of the stories on this post, and would like to address some of the points raised, if I may.

Firstly, to Peter, the writer of this popular blog, you were correct that when we first opened, just over two weeks ago, we did not have any French or Belgian beer on tap.
Sadly, we are tied to Punch Taverns on our beers and ciders, and Punch’s only French beer is Kronenbourg, which we now stock in place of Carlsberg.
We also have (this morning in fact) installed Leffe Blonde, and Hoegarden, much to our excitement.

We are hoping to start a revolving selection of Real Ales (I am an enormous Real Ale fan), on our single beer engine, and some interesting Ciders on draft from the fridge. This will hopefully be ready by this weekend!

Thankyou for your well wishes, it does mean a lot to hear reserved judgement and constructive criticism! I am very glad that you enjoyed your steak baguette, we are very proud of the meat that our butcher provides- we have worked with him for many years.

Monkeycat: I am sorry that your Mixed Grill didn’t live up to your expectations.. The Parisien owner has assured me that it is something that one does see in authentic Parisien brasseries, and *I* can assure you that the grill is cleaned every evening, but I apologise if you way you were spoken to upset you- you’re quite right about us needing to listen to our customers!

Yak: Oh dear! There are only three staff members Front of House, including myself and the Owner, so it seems as though you
must have asked about the crepe to our young trainee barman.. I will arrange a staff meeting to discuss the menu in detail again. Also- I really do believe that our food does represent good value for money.. Everything we produce is fresh, made on the premises, and never frozen (well apart from the frites and the ice cream 😉 !).
Our Nicoise Salad has a fresh tuna steak on top, our Cote de Boeuf is over 1kg for sharing between two people and can be cut with a butter knife! I do hope you try us again soon, and haven’t been put off completely!

Copeywolf: I don’t really know what you mean by saying that we’re a gimmick.. We’re owned by a Frenchman (the ’small
parisien’ himself), and our Chefs are both French, one from Paris and the other from Algeria. I assure you they all speak French! I do not speak much French, but the Owner is teaching me slowly! We do now have Punch’s only French beer, as discussed above, and I can whole heartedly assure you that none of our food is ‘plain crepe’, unless you ask for one 😉 .

Vix: I’m so sorry! You seem to have had a dreadful experience! I suppose your feelings about the painting, interior design, and the staff are subjective, but I’m sorry that you hate it so much.. I am confused about how you could have waited an hour for an omelette(!), and have been told there was no sparkling water when we have cases and cases of it downstairs. This is all a mystery to me. However, it is entirely likely that our barman hadn’t heard of a St Clements, or even bitter lemon. He is young and has not worked anywhere before in his life. However, what he might have lacked two weeks ago in knowledge he makes up for in enthusiasm and hard work. We are giving him a chance and training him up; ‘Employ enthusiasm and teach skills!’, my father used to say!

Just a couple more things before I go (for fear of monopolising this post!!): I think Mark Dodds is right about hitting the ground running. We have experienced teething problems, and we are ironing them out. We are planning on rolling out some new menu items (FISH!!), a cocktail list and NHS discounts. We are also going to start opening our upstairs room for private hire, doing live Jazz on Sunday evenings, and getting our Algerian Head Chef to prepare delicious Cous Cous nights.

One last thing: It is very easy to read and write bad reviews of a place online. I speak to as many customers as I can, and as far as I can tell, nearly all of them are very happy.. I really am sorry for the bad experiences that some of you have had, and appreciate that some people won’t like that way we have decorated the place, but we DO care about what people think, and WILL respond to your feedback, so come in and see me (I’m the ‘non-french’ speaking guy with red hair) and we can have a a glass of wine and a chat.

Thanks for your feedback, hopefully I will have the time to be a regular visitor to the Camberwell blogosphere (I have lived in Camberwell myself for almost 4 years).

Sorry for taking up so much room!


Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

169 thoughts on “Le Petit Parisien respond to criticism”

  1. Voted on my way into work. Suprisingly busy at the polling station. Maybe a dozen voters there at the same time as me.

    Dagmar has a point, voting Labour is worthwhile if only to annoy the Dail Mail types and uptight whingers. That didn’t overide my GREEN VOTE.

    Go Green!

  2. For Alan on link above re global warming: “Since 2007 no scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion. A few organisations hold non-committal positions.”

    Harriet was a heavy wet blanket on the Today programme. David was a chinless self serving wonder as usual.


  3. @ Gabe, I don’t know whether you know this already, but there’s actually a Camberwell community orchard that has all sorts of fruit trees and nut bushes. It’s between the green and the courts. It’s not really looked after that well and is often used as a litter dump for the residents of the Green but the blossom was nice a few weeks back.

  4. @Matt, I think the community orchard is due for a face lift with some cleaner greener safer money, which would be great. That patch of ground between the Courts and the Green could certainly do with a makeover. Not sure on the details though.

    @everyone: vote vote vote!

  5. Was surprised at the number of interesting and wonderful parties on offer this time. Peace Party anyone? Also a whole list of independents. Must have been some 25 potential boxes to put an X in.

    Those shouting vote Labour, why not back one of the “real” socialist groups on the list? There are a few.

    Was at a dinner party last night with smug civil servants, some of whom have worked with our Harriet. The general view was quite nice, but bats, and not that impressive. These people are quite harsh though…

  6. “When they say they are going to change their lives now and spend more time with their families, that’s not a code for jumping ship.”

    - Harriet Harman, speaking yesterday on Tuesdays departures of Jacqui Smith, Beverley Hughes, Patricia Hewitt and Tom Watson. Shortly after this interview was posted on the BBC website, Hazel Blears resigned and more resignations are rumoured to be imminent.

    If that is NOT a code for jumping ship what the uck is?

  7. Sarf East London in the news and for once without any teen gang violence.

    Peckham bloke one of a pair convicted for the shocking New Cross attacks on the students.

    And the pregnant girl in Laos on the drugs charge lived in Camberwell for a period.

  8. Voted Conservative down the line. A lone voice in these parts no doubt. At least do vote Labour if you still can’t go centre right…the silly parties further left and towards socialism/communism* are the last thing we need now.

    Good news on the lady in Laos. Any country with ‘Peoples Republic of…’ in the title are bad news*

  9. Whilst I am rightly sceptical about the link between man’s actions and global warming I do believe that our fear of global warming has positive by-products like encouraging sparing use of resources and limiting pollution.

    I voted green.

    Worried that the Libertas guy is a crank. I do think the EU is a waste of money though. And corrupt.

  10. Yeah if you thought the MPs expenses thing is a bad joke on us then check out MEPs. You’ll puke.

  11. I read this website daily and love it. However, it seems that function has outgrown form? Is there any way to make it a bit more (*shudder*) web 2.0? ie can we have something more like se5forum where there are proper discussion boards?
    It just seems that everything goes off on a tangent under a heading from a month ago.
    Perhaps (after parsing the last few months’ usage), there should be a more generic header — like — 4th June — or something? Ideas anyone? I do like the feel of this forum but would like it if it had a more structured feel. (call me old-fashioned .. go on).
    Please take this as positive feedback 🙂
    I think this forum is the most important for camberwell (se5 is a bit more generic, regardless).
    Anyone agree? Or am I (again) mad?

  12. @peacock_house I certainly take your point. I did try to introduce more structured commenting before, but it wasn’t really popular. I might have another go in the near future.

    As for the month between updates, I’m afraid that’s solely down to me; I’d love to have more regular updates, but I think I’ll need other people’s help to make that a reality.

    What does everyone else think?

  13. Could not agree more Rob.

    Sometimes you’d think it was the buyers guide to eating in Camberwell.

    A politics only slot would be greatly welcomed.

  14. THERE IS STILL TIME TO GO AND VOTE LABOUR. The tangents on this site are good. Boxes would just get ticked instead of scribbled and doodled in. Beware ideas or imagineering. They are false gods. Anyway, there is still time to go and vote Labour and kick the bum of the chintz-and-tonic folk in the distant suburbs with their “Ooh-er” and “I say”. IN THE NAME OF GOD, GO!

  15. Ok now I am annoyed. (That doesn’t happen very often trust me!)

    I really do suggest that if you think that the EU parliament is a waste of time you haven’t a clue what it is it actually does.

    Everything from crime to trade relations and at the other end of the scale, the hugely successful Erasmus scheme and an end to frontiers across most of Europe.

    If you like cheap wine and much improved employment rights amongst other things I cannot see how you can complain about the EU as a concept.

    As I have said before, I do wish people in Britain would stop being so negative and whiny all the time, stop putting everyone and everything down, and start looking at the positives in life. Of which there are many…including some very good policies that have come to fruition as a result of the EU.

    Of course some EU politicians are corrupt. But some are not. Some are good some are exceptional some are incompetent. So, all in all they are a pretty good spread to represent society as a whole. Ditto, the UK and all parliaments really. What is more important? That someone is corrupt? Or that he or she is doing a good job. To me, that is a no brainer. That is not to say that I want them to be corrupt, I just prioritise it differently.

    Sorry Peacock House. A case in point. This has nothing to do with Camberwell!

  16. I voted Green

    It’s 4 years and counting now…and I am sticking with them — lets see where it goes 🙂

  17. @Monkeycat; I am, and have always been since a nipper, completely pro European. Perhaps because I was brought up in Nigeria and when I came back to this fair isle I was utterly culture shocked forever, Little seemed sensible to me. And have never been able to understand the way we work in England particularly as opposed to, say, Scotland where I’m from ancestrally.

    As for the blog I think there needs to be some kind of heavenly union between this and SE5 Forum. I’m always amazed at the activity on ED forum which is boring to look at but very lively in its doings.

  18. Erasmus is a joke. It’s three months out from your degree to get drunk and go on holiday.

    Being anti Europe is not the same as being anti cheap wine and employment rights. That said I am against the working time directive.

    I used to be very pro European but then I worked there. Some of the European working cultures (and they are all different) are not compatible with ours. I’d prefer to see a union with the USA.

  19. Erasmus was the best thing I ever did, and I managed to stretch mine to an entire academic year in Madrid. Studying at a spanish university, working as a nanny and yes, going out and getting drunk with my multinational group of friends, I was 21, working part time and spending my earnings, I’m not going to apologise to anyone.

  20. @peter, @peacock_house, I like the comments how they are. Imagine a thread dedicated to local politics.

    Disqus works OK some places. Best thing about it is you can delete your comment history. Everything we’ve written here is archived for as long as Peter wants to keep it.

  21. Erasmus was good to me. I had a lot of fun and got an education that’s now supporting my tax-paying habit.

    I like working with Europeans. At a meeting in Munich once (during Oktoberfest) they offered us wheat beer at the 11:00am coffee break.

    I like Americans too. Obama had it right in Cairo.

  22. I enjoy a chat about local politic(ian)s as much as the reviews of local food. Although to me the latter is more satisfying, interesting, and is something I can exert choice on much more regularly.

    Some sort of discussion stranding may be helpful but the danger is lots of threads with few replies. I found the Erasmus comments interesting but if you’d titled a thread Erasmus then who’d have looked at it, and what’s SE5 about it?

    The stream of consciousness approach here is quite unique nowadays and also ‘forces’ you to read everything, which is good.

    That said, the format could do with a change. Great job though Peter.

    Nobody has mentioned my GX Gallery recommendation for the current show. Do it tomorrow. It’s good.

  23. A planning application dropped through my door this week. 116 to 120 Coldharbour Lane, next to All Stars food and wine convenience store (and of course pet supplies — a fantastically bizarre combination).

    It’s currently a meat supplier to catering firms called ‘Wilson’s (Sloane Street)’ — I love the idea that somewhere along the line someone would confuse dear Coldharbour Lane with Knightsbridge!

    Application is for 108 flats, in two buildings 5 to 8 storeys high, by the Notting Hill Housing Group. 100% affordable housing, but only a mention of 8 extra disabled parking bays and some cycle racks, so potentially loads more cars in the area.

    Plans available at Tate Library by the Ritzy. What do you all think?

  24. No need to change this website.

    The individual recipients of Erasmus windfalls think it was fun! Great use of public funds. I’m sure Hazel Blears enjoyed her Kit Kats.

  25. Back to local politics (well, Bellingham). Here’s a link to a video of Boris Johnson falling into a river:

  26. Hi, they’re enchanting paintings of travels round the world which concentrate on the variety and bustle of the human zoo.

    He’s done similar stuff about Elephant and other spots in S London.

    Love it, but not sure my budget stretches to a print.

  27. I don’t think you should change the structure of the blog. At present discussions are pleasantly random, as they are in real life. Discussions on the SE5 Forum are dead by comparison.

  28. @blog type. Agree there is nothing to fix — the unstructured flow of conversation works well. Although there are tumbleweed moments they are few and far between compared to the Forum — Carole is right there.

    In fairness the Forum site really needs a dedicated team providing regular updated content, for the type of site it purports to be. For that to happen, the Board needs new members, as there is a lack of capacity currently.

    Apply here to put yourself at the centre of diplomacy between and scrutiny of decision makers from various local authorities in Camberwell. It could do something for your portfolio, with minimal time commitments.

    http://www.se5forum.org gets a fair few visitors, as does Peter’s blog — both would benefit from improved links.

  29. Gabe wrote “well, Bellingham”

    That has nothing to do with Cambewrwell.

    It has a lot to do with Boris our mayor but of course he’s Tory.

    Ken would never have got that involved.

  30. My problem is that I have tried the Petit Parisien by phone over and over again to reserve a table but no-one answers the phone. Nor is there an answer service. Not great for a nascent business.

  31. Off topic:

    The next general meeting of the Brunswick Park TandRA will be held on Monday 15th June from 7pm at Southwark Town Hall.

    Two interesting topics being discussed:

    - Camberwell Baths — an update from Councillor Lewis Robertson on current situation, plans and so on

    - Brunswick Park — an update from the Council on anti social measures, lighting, possibility of reopening the cafe and so on

    Meeting open to all local tenants and residents of the area

    (And early notice of our forthcoming fete, on 19th September!)

  32. The Brunswick Park fete last year was great. That’s a nice village community feel round there.

    Gabe, in his defence, has mentioned Bellenden in this thread as well as Bellingham. Bellend we know about. Bellingham is an interesting 1920s social housing area — interesting for its colloquial style of domestic architecture and street patterns — vernacular, maybe, not colloquial.

    The Quaggy River revival project is great — the wetland reserve they’ve made in the middle of the suburban wilderness is quite something. The river runs through Manor Park, a great place in the middle of Camberwellish streets. That area and Ladywell, the uplifting Hilly Fields, round there, make Penge look as weird as it is. Round the Cray River has the air of Kent, too, and Bexley old town — with its ancient signpost pointing nervously towards “THE CRAYS” — is quite postcardy. The folks there are so genteel they’re postcardy, i.e. wear big patterned jumpers instead and take post-cardiac catherization medicine.

    Penge. The very name is redolent of an Orwellian nightmare — aspidistras, triffids — that makes one feel quite unwellingham.

    Lynda Bellingham is a national treasure. She was the Oxo mum in the adverts and is as saucy as you like.

    What this has to do with Camberwell is this: there is Boris Johnson photo-opportuning when he should be adminning, pen-pushing and meeting-wonking, like Ken did. Harriet Harman is our local MP, ergo, er…

    Maybe ‘er go.

  33. @Matt, nice one on the community orchard – I didn’t know that’s what it was, but cool. Like the concept.

    Spent quite a bit of time hanging around Camberwell Green on Sunday morning. It was great. The rainstorm gave it a clean and fresh feel. Some fantastic trees and landscaping. No broken bottles or drink cans in the playground, either. Then we went to Lucas Gardens. Fantastic.

    Went to South London Gallery. The kids started whispering as soon as we got inside. The idea (I think) is the artist does stuff in/around the installation as though you are not there watching her. Impressive that she pulls this off. Kids were impressed with her long, red, hair.

    Bellingham is 12 minutes from Denmark Hill by train. You could probably bike it in under half an hour. It makes Camberwell look like Paris.

  34. Heard about the diving. Someone was going for a world record hold-your-breath attempt. Did she pull it off?

  35. Dagmar wrote…

    “What this has to do with Camberwell is this: there is Boris Johnson photo-opportuning when he should be adminning, pen-pushing and meeting-wonking, like Ken did. Harriet Harman is our local MP, ergo, er…

    Maybe ‘er go.”

    Firstly if ‘er goes I shall ask Mark to put some Champs on ice so I can get *issed on the demise of a countess.

    If Boris was to spend all his time in THE OFFICE you’d all be saying he never gets involved simply because he’s a Tory.

    I was really hoping to hear a bottle of scotch being busted open and a single pistol shot ringing out from Ten Downing Street last evening but of course the Prime Mentalist couldn’t make that desistion for him self.

    The Labour Party is dead. Live with it.

  36. “I’d like to see Harriet Harman as Labour’s candidate for PM at the next election.
    She’d be just like Margaret Thatcher -
    a female party leader who convinces millions to vote Tory.”

    Guardian Commenter

  37. Course, a lot of people are blaming Harriet for not doing enough to stop the landslide. Someone in her role should’ve been doing more, they say (Prescott, other Labour figures, analysts etc).

    I don’t blame her though. I blame Bliar.

  38. I blame Brown. I can’t believe his vanity.

    This whole period has been about the realisation of his prime ministerial dream to the detriment of the party and the country.

  39. Very true, Alan. The stubborn get is going to plod on and on and over the cliff edge. All for the sake of a deal with Bliar and him getting a go at the wheel.

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