TIL of the Wong Kei, one of the UK’s largest Chinese restaurants and once described as “the rudest restaurant in London”: staff would shout at customers, insult them if they asked for knives and forks, and chase them down the street if they felt they had not tipped enough

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We ate there a couple of times; I’d never heard of this reputation but it makes sense. They made us change tables halfway through the meal one time and stood there grumbling because we didn’t move fast enough…


There used to be a German restaurant near me. Most nights, if you didn’t finish your meal, Oma would come out and berate you for it. That was part of the fun. Take an unsuspecting person there, get them to order something big, and wait for grandma to come out and give them shit for not cleaning the plate and wasting food. When Oma stopped showing up, the restaurant went away shortly after. Food was good, but it lost that charm.


I dropped my chopsticks by accident at Wong Kei and got yelled at for being clumsy and stupid and the elderly waitress told me not to expect a new pair of chopsticks. The food certainly isn’t the apex of Chinese food. But it’s a clear step above your usual takeaways in term of quality and flavour. And the portion sizes/value for money is pretty insane.


I think this was ruthlessly efficiency taken so far it became a feature. Wong Kei’s was great for a meal before a show or film. It’s a short walk to the theatres. Instead of slow service and waiters trying to be polite to idiot customers the waiters actively managed customers to get you fed and out ASAP. You always got seated quickly, served good food and the bill arrived as you finished so you could get to your show on time. Large groups would sit downstairs, small groups were sent upstairs to share the big round tables. If you wanted to discuss your food choices and linger over coffee then choose a different restaurant, but it was great to have at least one that was not “fast food”, but was fast service. And it was fun taking friends when they were not expecting the military discipline…….


I’ve eaten few times when I was a student (probably 20 years ago). It was definitely known for the ‘wonky’ experience at the time – but was also cheap which was it’s main attraction from a student perspective. Their business model seemed to be to get people in and out as fast as humanly possible. They were literally taking your order as you were sitting down, and clearing away stuff before people had finished; I’m not sure what you got had too much relation to what you ordered either. I remember the waiters being more abrupt than rude.