Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Food: Wong Kei aka London's rudest restaurant


 "Upstairs!"
"Downstairs!"
If the above doesn't mean anything to you, then you have not yet had the Wong Kei experience in London's Chinatown. I consider it Chinatown's most infamous restaurant and I have realised the only time I actually eat at the restaurant is with my non-Chinese friends. It's widely known that you can judge on how good a Chinese restaurant is based on how many Chinese people eat at the restaurant and a quick glance through the window will give you a good indication. Maybe it is the super cheap prices or the infamous service from the waiting staff but it is one restaurant I find myself eating at time after time.
Popular with students for the prices, there's not many other restaurants in the vicinity or even London town that will allow you to get a hearty meal for around the £6 to £7 mark and sometimes even cheaper. The free refills of the green tea is definitely favoured upon (just leave the lid open if you want a refill and a server will instantly replace it for you), and food comes in next to no time. Spaced out over five floors (including the basement level), upon entering the premises, you are instantly asked how many people are in your group to be then followed by either "Upstairs!" or "Downstairs!" telling you where you will be sitting and probably where the famous rudeness of the restaurant stemmed from, so famous you can buy T-Shirts with the slogan printed on.
The decor is cheap. The table and chairs are basic. The menus are wipe clean. Despite having a refurbishment earlier this year, they clearly didn't focus on the walls or the floor but who cares? Bring me my plate of food and my green tea!
As for the location? Smack bang on the edge of London's Chinatown on Wardour Street opposite Les Miserables (so perfect for pre theatre dining), a hop away from Soho, skip away from Piccadilly Circus and a jump away from Covent Garden.










TIPS
  • Wong Kei is cash only, so make sure you bring enough with you to cover the bill. They have a copy of their menu in the windows so you gain make a guess on how much you will need.
  • Do not be shocked or surprised if you come as a group of two and you do not get an individual table - it's Wong Kei style! On the floors upstairs they have large circular tables which will seat people who have no idea who the person next to them is. Just be prepared if this happens to you.
  • Don't ask for a knife - Chinese food is always cut in bite size pieces that you can easily pick up with a pair of chopsticks so there is no need for a knife. Knives belong in the kitchen!
  • Try and embrace the Chinese culture and use the pair of chopsticks on the table. If all else fails, ask for a fork - they normally give it to customers who are non Asian (sorry!), my OH automatically gets given a fork when his food arrives!
  • If you can handle your spice, help yourself to the chilli oil. Every table has this and it is literally just chilli and oil. Add as little or as much as you want to your dish
  • Don't sit in the restaurant for hours after eating your food. I believe this is probably the same across all restaurants, but if you have finished eating, pay for the bill and leave. Don't sit around helping yourself to the free tea long after you've eaten. At least order another item on the menu. 
Other than that, take the plunge and experience London's "rudest restaurant". Go on, I dare you. 
Website: http://wongkeilondon.com/
Address: 41-43 Wardour Street, London. W1D 6PY
Phone: 020 7437 8408 

Enjoy,






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