Thursday, 15 December 2016


Nestled away under the shadow of the Shard is Champor Champor. Much like the time we visited Grafene in Manchester, we had no idea how we found out about this Thai-Malay restaurant but we had bookmarked it for a visit next time we were staying in Southwalk. That time was this weekend so with a reservation made for 9pm, off we trotted! The entrance to Champor Champor is very unassuming but once you walk through the door you are instantly transported to the east. An array of Malaysian/Thai inspirations decorated the red walls; Buddhas, masks and even the cow that acts as their emblem was brought to life right above us.

The eastern adventure continues when you browse the menu. All the usual Thai suspects are there (green curry, yellow curry!) and I decided to go with the soft shell crab to start. This is one of my favorite starters of all time and it didn't disappoint again. The crab's legs were all crispy and satisfyingly crunchy whilst the body of the crustacean was plump and piping hot. There was ample crab meat which was so fluffy and moist whilst the salt and pepper seasoning was spot on, with a smidge of five spice mixed through to really bring home those Asian flavors. A fabulous beginning to our meal! 

Onto mains now and for our vegetarian option we went with the rather original creation of baked shiitake mushrooms with baked edamame potato dumplings. If there was an Asian version of mash and gravy then this is it. The "gravy" in this dish though was a sweet Asian (I think miso?) broth that houses the shiitake mushrooms which have the smooth and creamy potato dumplings scooped inside them. The edamame in the dumplings and the pine nuts add some much needed crunch to the dish whilst the pak choi give a hint of green freshness that really brings the whole dish together. Interestingly different but still a tasty treat! 

Our other main of the night was the beef Rendang. Well, we couldn't go Malay without giving this a try now could we. The dish is presented in a pot served over a candle heater to keep things hot. It's a bit of theatre but it works! The curry itself was a simple sauce and beef combo but the beef was perfectly cooked and the curry sauce was so fragrant and flavorsome with a sharp kick of lemongrass tickling the palette once the initial mild curry heat has subsided. Perfectly balanced flavors, make sure you get some jasmine rice to go alongside it so you can scoop up every last drop. 

After the heat of the Rendang and the heat in the restaurant (seriously, wear light clothing - it was most roasty toasty when we visited!), a cooling dessert was what was needed. For those just wanting a few scoops to finish off the evening and to cleanse the palette, there is a selection of ice creams and granitas to choose from. We went for a mixed berry granita which was beautifully presented when it arrived at the table. It's more sorbet like than it is a granita but it still does the job of being light and refreshing. The perfect way to finish a three course meal.

For those who still have a bit of room after their mains should definitely give this green tea and pistachio parfait a try. That vibrant green color of the parfait isn't an indication of how strong the green tea flavor is, the amount of green tea is subtle enough to just come through without being overpowering. The silky smooth texture of the parfait is incredible whilst the crushed pistachios sprinkled over the top add a touch of crunch which is needed. The added fresh fruit served on the side ties everything together to create what I thought was the highlight of the meal!

Leaving on such a high note was the best way to wrap up this Friday evening of fabulous food so we paid our bill and headed back to our hotel for a nightcap. There must of been a reason why we had made note to visit Champor Champor and having visited I can confirm that it was well worth the trip. If you love the more fragrant vibes of Thai/Malay food you are going to be in paradise. They just need to invest in some good air conditioning to cool down the dining room but other than that, it's easy to say that when it comes to Champor Champor, they really are the champions of Thai treats!

Fancy making your own reservation this weekend? Head on over to Champor Champor's website here to check out their menu and book that table! 

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