Wong Kei

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Coordinates: 51°30′41″N 0°7′57″W / 51.51139°N 0.13250°W / 51.51139; -0.13250

Facade of Wong Kei, 41-43 Wardour Street

Wong Kei (Chinese: 旺記; pinyin: wàng jì; Jyutping: wong6 gei4) is a Chinese restaurant in London's Chinatown, once described as "the rudest restaurant in London".[1] It was one of the largest Chinese restaurants in the UK with seating for around 500 diners.

Restaurant[edit]

Wong Kei was once known for the rudeness of its staff, who would shout "Sit down with them!" or "Go upstairs!" to arriving patrons,[1] insult customers who asked for a knife and fork, and chase those who failed to leave a sufficient tip.[2] This aspect was seen as a positive and enjoyable feature rather than a criticism of the restaurant.[3] After a renovation, the restaurant reopened in 2001 with friendlier waiters,[4] and when it reopened under new management in March 2014, new owner Daniel Luc said: "Maybe there was an issue with rude staff 20 to 30 years ago, but I don't think so any more. I don't know whether that's a good thing or not."[2]

Building[edit]

Wong Kei is situated at 41–43 Wardour Street, in a building previously owned by Willy Clarkson (1861–1934), a theatrical wig maker and costumier, as attested by the 1966 blue plaque on the façade.[5] The building was designed by the architect H. M. Wakeley in a mixed Baroque and Art Nouveau style; Sarah Bernhardt laid the foundation stone for the building in 1904 and Sir Henry Irving laid the coping stone in 1905. Clarkson's was there from 1905 to 1940.[6]

Plaques on each side of the entrance of 41–43 Wardour Street

When Terence Dalley sketched the building in 1972, another Chinese restaurant, Lee Ho Fook, occupied the ground floor.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Williams, Zoe (24 February 2014). "Goodbye to the rudest restaurant in London - Wong Kei is finally ditching the bad attitude". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "London's 'rudest restaurant' to get friendly revamp". AOL Travel. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Hao, Lu (29 September 2011). "Wong Kei - Leicester Square W1D - Restaurant Review - Time Out London". Timeout.com. 
  4. ^ Campion, Charles (8 August 2001). "Rude awakening at Wong Kei". The Evening Standard (This Is London). Archived from the original on 9 December 2009. 
  5. ^ English Heritage
  6. ^ "Rupert Street Area | Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32". British-history.ac.uk. pp. 111–15). Archived from the original on 27 September 2009. 
  7. ^ "Catalogue: Pencil: 43 Wardour Street, London W1; Producer: Dalley, Terence". Museum of London. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. 

External links[edit]