Quirky Japanese Savouries And Patisserie In Ealing
We’ll do anything for a decent feed at Londonist, even making the long schlep from this reviewer's south-east base to Ealing. Though for some things, settling in for a long rattle down the District line, good book in hand, isn’t too much of a hardship.
The first time we visited WA Café, they’d run out of the egg mayonnaise buns (£2.10). They sound boring, you’re thinking; we’ve all tried an egg mayo bap, thanks. Well prepare to be amazed, because these buns have been given the Japanese treatment, and they’re now a sort of savoury doughnut with a rich egg mayo filling, which has been dipped in breadcrumbs and cornflakes and deep fried. No kidding. Yes, we’re aware it sounds like the end result of vigorously shaking a child’s lunchbox, but it really does work. The bun is lightly curried and airy of texture, the filling is creamy with smushed up yolks, and the outside is crisp and gently sweet. Someone has a very light hand in the kitchen.
Just as interesting, is the curry bun or kare-pan (£2.10). Ubiquitous in Japan, these little deep fried dough pockets are filled with sweetened curry (which is how the Japanese like it). The WA Café version contains beef and vegetables and it is fabulous. All the buns are made in small batches, which is a blessing because as we all know, deep fried things need to be consumed soon after they’ve been cooked. They arrive at the counter four at a time and are bought quickly by those in the know. Get there between 12pm and 2pm or prepare to be disappointed. We visited at 3pm on a weekday and had to leave bunless.
You’ll find it very hard to resist the patisserie, too. The Japanese, in case you don’t know, are very good indeed at making diddy, fiddly and pretty French-style sweet things, with (unsurprisingly, duh) Japanese flavours. The matcha roll (£3.60) contains a pitch perfect amount of tea (it’s so often overwhelming) and the sweetness and bitterness are expertly balanced. The strawberry shortcake (£4.50) looks like something from Alice in Wonderland — all airy layers of sweet cream, barely-there sponge and blushing strawberries. We wanted to take it to an English country garden but had to make do with a kerbside table in rainy Ealing.
There’s a range of tea, as you would expect, and we’re particularly soft on the chilled cans of oolong. The café isn’t huge, but it’s sleek without being intimidating. A little tip for you though — there’s a button to open the door. It’s just to the right as you approach. We don’t want you standing there looking all confused like we did. You’re welcome.
Our verdict: WA Café is, above all, fun, but there’s some skilful cooking happening in that kitchen, and the prices are really reasonable. People of Ealing, we envy you.
WA Cafe, 32 Haven Green, Ealing, Greater London W5 2NX
Last Updated 20 August 2015