Does Colombo need more pubs? Arguable, but I'd say yes. This is why I was excited to spot the logo for Which Way West while passing through Duplication Road. This was months ago. Since then, I've been patiently waiting, checking as their Facebook page appeared and they promised to open soon. Finally, it's open, with a launch and everything. Since Poppy Hana moved to Urban Kitchen, I figured the space would be transformed, billed as a "cafe", "pub" and "carvery". I was looking forward to some good cuts of meat, a tall glass of beer, and a change in scenery. Unfortunately, the ghost of Poppy Hana's past still lingers around the premises.
We were struck by cuisine offered by the Which Way West menu, mostly because it resembled that of Poppy Hana far too much. Sifting through the menu, we searched far and wide for British pub grub, but all our endeavours mustered up was a Traditional Fish & Chips. Amongst the cornucopia of Japanese items, we also spotted peri peri chicken and devilled meats. Perhaps these were the items they referred to when they promised a 'carvery'? Sadly, this is not the case. Apparently this British pub is the kind that panders to rice and curry, devilled chicken and oreo milkshakes. Go figure.
For our appetisers, we dived straight into the dumplings. Our Deep Fried Chicken Gyoza (Rs. 495) were super crisp on the outside, but very clumpy on the inside. The skin was pretty much a wonton skin, and unlike those you'd find at Naniyori or Min Ha. While the plating style was appropriate to the Japanese dish, we felt we hadn't quite let go of the past when the Poppy Hana logo popped out. Unlike an acid flashback, though, it didn't leave a bad taste in our mouth.
Next up, amused by our sudden ability to be in two places at once, we pulled the Poppy Hana nostalgia card and ordered the Salmon Sushi (Rs 450). We got four pieces, and it even came with the price-indicative plates! And our tables were already equipped with a box of chopsticks. Imagine that from a British pub! Far out. The sushi rolls themselves were not particularly amazing.
The California Roll (temaki) for Rs 295 is quite good. There's plenty of crab meat and just enough avocado. I wouldn't mind having one of these for lunch, once a week. Though Bhagya says you could get more value for money at Zen.
Sticking to the script, our final order was the Traditional Fish and Chips (Rs 995). I loved the presententation, particularly how the lime garnish looked like a little fish. I'm not sure how traditional a tempura batter is, though. The chips themselves were soggy, not very crisp, and had that soapy texture that doesn't bode well for potatoes. There was plenty of fish and the tempura worked for the most part, save for the bottom which had lost its crisp under the weight of the fish.
Walking into Which Way West is disorienting, as its reads Poppy Hana above the door. Once, you enter, though, you see the Which Way West logo on the wall and the stocked bar, glowing at the back. I asked the staff, just to be sure, whether this was indeed Which Way West. He gave me an awkward smile, seeming to second guess himself, and said "yes, yes, come in."
There's also shisha available, because a cafe, pub and carvery couldn't possibly do without it. They probably won't let you smoke inside, though, but there's an outside section for that. The service is quite average, but we didn't have any issues.
Which Way West has been 'opening soon' since pretty much October. They had their opening just a while ago, with even Ashanthi making an appearance to serenade its coming into existence. Sadly, though, the whole thing seems to be stuck in a timewarp. They're using the same furniture, the same cutlery, the same printed napkins and even the same bills as Poppy Hana, including most of the menu. Added to that, there's a wine list, plenty of booze, rice and curry, shisha and peri peri chicken. While the place isn't a rip-off, it doesn't live up to its promise, which to me initially sounded really good! I was really disappointed. Don't go here just yet. We'll be sure to re-review this place once it's figured out its true identity.
Which Way West is a new entry into Colombo's pub scene. The food can improve, but there's plenty of booze to keep you busy, anyway.
Serving up sushi and shisha, Which Way West isn't quite as Western as we expected.
This place has closed down
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