Journalist Giles Coren faces Press Complaints Commission over restaurant column

By Marcus Dysch, June 14, 2012
Journalist and critic Giles Coren

Journalist and critic Giles Coren

Journalist Giles Coren has been reported to the Press Complaints Commission by a Holocaust survivor who was offended by a column about a restaurant popular with Jewish pensioners.

Mr Coren’s colourful attack on the Oslo Court restaurant in St John’s Wood, north west London, featured in his Times column last month.

His piece came days after Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha dined at the old-fashioned French eatery and questioned why the pair had chosen the venue.

Mr Coren wrote that Oslo Court was “the last place” which he would have suggested to the Camerons.

“Oslo Court, as you will almost certainly not know unless you are an elderly Jew from north London, is a restaurant in north London very popular with elderly Jews on account of its warm central heating, thick carpet and food that has not changed in 40 years.

“In North London, we think of Oslo Court as a hidden treasure. And we tend to think, ‘Better, like poor Anne Frank, it should have stayed hidden’.”

In his complaint to the PCC, Peter Eden wrote that Mr Coren had “mentioned the Jewish religion 12 times — Oslo Court has never been a Jewish restaurant, nor are the residents or clientele predominantly Jewish.

“I served in the British armed forces for over six years during the last war to ensure the liberty and freedom of decent people – this does not include Mr Coren.”

Oslo Court owner Antonio Sanchez said customers had been vexed by Mr Coren’s comments. “Obviously I don’t agree with what he said, but there’s nothing we can do about it. A lot of customers have said I should sue him. They have been very upset, but I don’t want to do that.

“Everybody is free to say what they like. We do not depend on his comments for our business. We have very faithful customers.”

The restaurant regularly hosts famous faces. Lord Sugar and Joan Collins ate there last month.

Mr Coren declined to comment.

Last updated: 10:13am, June 14 2012