Wong Kei is a famous restaurant in London's Chinatown and once had so many dedicated diners that there was a The Won Kei Appreciation Society on Facebook.
The rudeness of the waiters has been legendary but the cheap, tasty Chinese food attracts locals and visitors so it's always packed out. Expect to see queues outside on a Saturday night even though it is actually a really big restaurant – possibly the biggest in Chinatown – spread over four floors.
When you arrive a waiter will ask how many in your party and will seat you based on that alone. (It has been said the rudest waiters usually work in the basement but I've never had any problems.)
Expect to share a table with complete strangers and don't expect long to eat your food if it's a busy night. Also on busy nights, don't expect long to see the menu as the waiters expect you to check the menu in the window before coming in.
I've always been told the key thing to remember when dining at Wong Kei is that the waiters are always right. Do what they tell you or they might throw you out!
Another tip is not to order the wine as it's not great and is not well-priced. Stick with the free Chinese tea which is brought to your table as soon as you sit down.
And have cash to pay as credit cards are not accepted.
I'd always felt quite apprehensive about visiting Wong Kei with all the stories of rude waiters but I had an early dinner with a friend on a week night, when it wasn't too busy, and we were seated in the basement.
We were given time to look at the menu, plus the staff was fast and efficient and not rude. It's not service with a smile but that's not why we dine there; we go back for the great food. I wish there were more vegetarian options but we shared a vegetarian mixed starter (spring rolls, tofu, and crispy seaweed) and a tofu, vegetable and rice dish and there was loads of food, it was fresh and tasty, and we dined for under £10 for two people.
I'd happily return whenever I'm in the area. Definitely recommended.
I've since taken my daughter a few times as she loves their noodle dishes. We visit for lunch and have never spent over £10 for both of our meals.
Address:41-43 Wardour Street, London W1D 6PY
Nearest Tube Stations
- Leicester Square
- Piccadilly Circus
Tel: 020 7437 8408
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