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.


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]


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]


  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. 

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