Mr Kong

21 Lisle Street , London, WC2H 7BA

2 reviews

28 Chinese Soho

SquareMeal Review of Mr Kong

Mr Kong closed permanently in January 2016

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Established in the 1980s, Mr Kong is a stalwart of the late-night Chinatown scene. It’s a Cantonese of the old school, with an exhaustingly long menu, white tablecloths, carpeted floors and green dining chairs – so why is it “still absolutely heaving” after all these years? Apart from the fact that it keeps long hours, it’s blessed with a legendary manager, bags of atmosphere, low prices and a full vegetarian line-up – plus a daunting array of esoteric chef’s specials alongside its spare ribs, baked lobster and roast duck.  Try sautéed pea shoots with dried scallop, stuffed fish maw with baby clams and prawn paste or spiced pig’s knuckle with jellyfish (served cold).  The lengthy wine list is also well worth exploring. Mr Kong’s loyal clientele ranges from Soho night owls and Asian corporates to Buddhist monks in search of strict vegan cuisine.

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Food & Drink: 5.5

Service: 4.5

Atmosphere: 4.5

Value: 5.0

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Al K. 25 October 2013

There is often a cachet in discovering a restaurant that looks like a cheap cafe but offers excellent food and charming service. Mr Kong used to be all of that. But this year there is no longer anything counter-intuitive to appreciate. The places still looks a bit of dump, the waiters and waitresses behave like those you find in a dump and the food is in perfect harmony with that – somewhat congealed and served lukewarm onto cold plates, with no hot trays on to which to place the serving dishes. The bill is very small. But as my grandmother used to say: “what's cheap is cheap”. It takes all of about 10-15 minutes before you realise this place is not fit for taking anyone except your worst enemy or some oaf or child where anything better would be a waste. The head waiter or maitre d' is full of smiles and laughter, touches your elbow as if you are a long lost buddy or regular patron. But he does this to everyone. And to think, we used to eschew the Chinese restaurants in Gerrard Street, believing we were being clever and connoisseur-ish about eating just one block way, on on the wild side

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Amy M. platinum reviewer 07 March 2013

There is nothing glamorous about Mr Kong except the food. As far as the Chinatown old guard goes, this is head and shoulders above the rest. My favourite restaurant closed a couple of years ago and my dad and I spent a year eating in every restaurant left, so I can categorically say this is the most outstanding. Their chicken in black bean on crispy noodle is so moreish that you will want two plates, the Hot & Sour soup has a fantastic piquancy without the MSG gloop you are sometimes served elsewhere and the soft shell crab is just amazing. The portions are really quite large and so there is the danger of over ordering, but this does give you great value for money. It is generally packed to the rafters with Chinese folk, which is always a good sign and it's particularly good if there are a lot of you. 6 of us for about £100 including booze. Highly recommended.