‘Cry babies' - Giles Coren attacks whole of Liverpool over food review

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The Times food writer took umbrage with LiverpoolWorld and then disparaged the whole of Liverpool with the usual stereotypes.

Thin-skinned: sensitive to criticism or insults.

Does attacking an entire city with lazy slurs because someone disagreed with your purposefully provocative restaurant review fall into that category?

The Times food critic Giles Coren labelled Liverpool "the most hysterically oversensitive city in Europe" and branded Liverpudlians thin-skinned, cry babies who take everything the wrong way and never let you forget (you know, all the usual clichés we’ve heard for years) after LiverpoolWorld had the temerity to write a story off the back of his claim that a kebab shop chain was ‘the worst restaurant in the world’.

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Our crime? Well, we pointed out that German Doner Kebab is actually pretty popular in Liverpool and some people in the city actually like it. You can read the full article here.

“Well, I’ve found the worst restaurant in the world,” writes Coren. “It’s called German Doner Kebab. You’ve probably heard of it. They’re everywhere.” Before adding his verdict: “Hideous. Utterly hideous.”

The review certainly got people talking - including ourselves. We do love a kebab in Liverpool and so we dug out some other reviews. We didn’t say Giles was wrong. We didn’t say we disagreed. We didn’t offer an opinion. We simply picked out some reviews and ratings that held the opposing view to add a bit of balance.

“Diners have described the food as 'awesome' and 'delicious' but Giles Coren of The Times wholeheartedly disagrees,” LiverpoolWorld wrote. Adding that German Doner Kebab on Whitechapel "has a Google rating of 4.2 stars from over 1,300 reviews ... with one person even calling it the 'number one place for doner' in Liverpool.”

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Giles, however, was not impressed. The Londoner made that clear in Monday's column: “Any hack will tell you that the First Rule of Journalism is “never write about Liverpool”. It’s just not worth it. They are the thinnest-skinned people in the world and however nice you try to be, they take it the wrong way, square up to you, then start crying, then hate you forever and ever and ever."

Adding that Liverpool is "the most hysterically oversensitive city in Europe". Wow! Even taking into account the whole point of the column is to irk people and divide opinion, that’s still pretty out there. But nothing original.

Giles was particularly perturbed by our headline: Times food critic calls popular Liverpool restaurant chain ‘worst in the world’

Okay, so maybe we could have said ‘popular restaurant chain in Liverpool’ rather than ‘popular Liverpool restaurant chain’ to make it clear - as we explained in the article - that the German Doner Kebab chain is owned by Glasgow-based duo Athif and Asim Sarwar and that the first of more than 140 shops across the UK, Europe and the Middle East was opened in Berlin.

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But is it worth getting so worked up over the local media focusing on the local angle? Some might call that being ‘thin-skinned’. While others might point out that denigrating an entire city with a string of listless stereotypes is acting in a ‘hysterically oversensitive’ manner.

But thanks for the long overdue publicity Giles! And you should really visit Liverpool - it's that bit on the coast, not far from Manchester, in the north of England.

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