A sweet treat for an Erith family ended up very sour after they were “humiliated” and threatened with segregated dining at a Chinese restaurant.
Angela Heneghan, 43, visited The Real China in Bexleyheath Broadway on Sunday afternoon (October 12) with her 66-year-old disabled mother and eight-year-old son.
When the Avenue Road resident plumped for the set menu while the other two had the all-you-can-eat buffet they were left soy-ley disappointed.
Miss Heneghan said the manager told her she had to sit “far away” from her family if she ate from a different menu.
The mum-of-two told News Shopper: “It does seem really bizarre whichever way you look at it - it’s just not normal.
“I wasn’t keen on going on the first place but my mum fancied Chinese.
“The manager didn’t seem happy when I asked for a set menu when I went in
“The buffet was £10.95 or you could have a single dish for £5. I ordered the King Prawn dish with Szechuan sauce.
“Then the manager came down and said I’d have to sit separately from my mum and son if I wanted the single dish, because I was ‘cross-dining’.”
Miss Heneghan, who has taken early retirement due to epilepsy, was flummoxed by the situation.
She said: “I asked if I just sit on the table next to them, and I’m annoyed at myself for being so reasonable now.
“He said ‘no, you have to sit on the other side of the restaurant, you have to sit far away’.
“The place is around 100m long, and I could have been 40 or 50m from where they were sitting.
“I said, ‘I’ve come out with my mum and my son, I’m not going to sit on the other side of the place’.
“I asked him to explain and he said, ‘I don’t have to explain, it’s my restaurant and my rules’.”
Things got even more awkward as her mother came back, unaware of the situation, with food from the buffet.
Miss Heneghan said: “My mum had gone to the buffet while all this was going on so she came back with a plate of food and I said, ‘we’re going’.
“The manager said ‘no, you have to pay for your food first’ and I refused.”
“He held the door open for us to go and said ‘go back to school’ and pointed to some kids sitting outside and said, ‘you should learn from these.”
“I was confused and embarrassed and I could feel myself getting upset as people were looking.”
The family were left red-faced and starving after the dining debacle.
She said: “We ended up going to Wimpy where my son had wanted to go in the first place.
“He said, ‘I told you so’.”
“The food at the Real China didn’t look very nice anyway.”
The Real China manager Andy Lee told News Shopper: “Why are you asking me stupid questions?
“She said, ‘I want to share their buffet and not pay’. She changed her mind about having the single dish.
“A lot of people try and do that round here. We’re not a charity shop, we’re a restaurant.
“We don’t do cross-dining.”
‘Worst Chinese Buffet’ ever?
The restaurant has a score of 1.5/5 on popular ratings site TripAdvisor.
Here’s what punters had to say...
jade131510, said: “It's disgusting in there - mould growing on the walls, the smell is nasty, the glasses smell like dirty sink water.”
Ashes A, said: “Lack of atmosphere, lack of air conditioning and lack of any actual Chinese food left me wondering what exactly the name of the restaurant refers to.”
Southwellinganna said: “I could not find any faults, now this is back in the hand of Chinese owners I will use this a lot more, a very good place to eat if you want something reasonable priced.”
Lee287778 said: “This restaurant has to be the worst buffet ever. The squid dish had a really funky taste not sure what the taste was but definitely not squid.”