Wong Kei

Coordinates: 51°30′41″N 0°07′57″W / 51.511389°N 0.1325°W / 51.511389; -0.1325
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Wong Kei
Wong Kei in 2015
Restaurant information
Food typeCantonese cuisine
Street address41-43 Wardour Street
Postal/ZIP CodeW1D 6PY
CountryUnited Kingdom
Coordinates51°30′41″N 0°07′57″W / 51.511389°N 0.1325°W / 51.511389; -0.1325
Seating capacity500

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 is 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. This aspect was seen as a positive and enjoyable feature rather than a criticism of the restaurant.[2] After a renovation, the restaurant reopened in 2001 with friendlier waiters,[3] 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."[4]


Wong Kei originally occupied two shops on nearby Rupert Court but is currently situated at 41–43 Wardour Street. This building was originally built by Willy Clarkson (1861–1934), at the time a well-known theatrical wig-maker and costumier. It was designed by the architect H. M. Wakeley in a mixed Baroque and Art Nouveau style. Sarah Bernhardt laid the foundation stone in 1904 and Sir Henry Irving laid the coping stone in 1905.

Clarkson's business operated there from 1905 until it ceased trading in 1940.[5] The building retains an original clock over the entrance, advertising it as the premises of a Costumer and Perruquier (one who makes and sells wigs). In 1966, a blue plaque was fixed to the façade to commemorate Clarkson.[6]

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

See also[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. Archived from the original on 11 November 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  2. ^ Hao, Lu (29 September 2011). "Wong Kei – Leicester Square W1D – Restaurant Review – Time Out London". Timeout.com. Archived from the original on 10 September 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  3. ^ Campion, Charles (8 August 2001). "Rude awakening at Wong Kei". Evening Standard. This Is London. Archived from the original on 9 December 2009.
  4. ^ Dent, Grace (11 September 2020). "Part of the Capital's folklore". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 11 September 2020. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  5. ^ "Rupert Street Area | Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32". British-history.ac.uk. pp. 111–15). Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  6. ^ "English Heritage". Archived from the original on 8 January 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2007.
  7. ^ "Catalogue: Pencil: 43 Wardour Street, London W1; Producer: Dalley, Terence". Museum of London. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016.

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