Incoming: Karen’s

Posted 5 months ago in Food & Drink Features

Some of us are old enough to remember the abuse levelled at Soho diners by staff at the fabled Wong Kei’s in London’s Chinatown, where customers were traditionally greeted with the question, “What you want?” then unceremoniously ejected from their tables before they had time to finish their lemon chicken.

In those days ‘the rudest restaurant in London’ was a busy spot much loved by Tories and merchant bankers, swathes of whom could  be observed frequently exiting the restaurant at speed, pursued by irritated waiters aggrieved by the paltry tips they’d left.

While such scenes were sometimes entertaining to witness, we were always sceptical about the prospects for importing such abrasive hospitality practices here. In a city like Dublin, characterised by six degrees of separation, a population blessed with long memories, and politics based on century-old civil war divisions, it’s hard to see why anyone would bother to attempt it.

And yet…

Rumours persist about the imminent arrival of Karen’s, a brash new restaurant inspired by the internet meme of the same name which launched in Australia late last year. The self-styled ‘interactive diner’ has quickly garnered notoriety for its obnoxious staff interactions with customers, captured for posterity on Tik Tok.

Promising rude service and an ‘absurdly fun experience’, Karen’s website candidly promotes a menu of ‘kick-ass burgers’ and ‘most things that are cholesterol heavy’. There are some house rules, but nobody seems to have read them.

If they do eventually open up here, for the love of Karen… ask for the manager. They dare you.


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