1979 has been a YAMU favourite for the past year or so, simply for their impressive spread of Chinese treats with a Lankan twist, and the BYOB facility. Therefore, obviously, we were excited to visit their new branch in Dehiwala.
It's all Asian Fusion. Their menu is massive, and each and every dish has a Sri Lankan touch to it.
The 1979 Special Rice (Rs. 920) was easily enough for three. Packed with chicken, prawns, seafood and cashew nuts, the rice was seasoned well, and we're happy with its flavour.
This is the Sichuan-style Prawns with Cashew Nuts (Rs. 1200). Batter-fried prawns tossed in with chopped up spring onions, carrots and cashews, it was spicy, slightly oily too, and tasted all right. However, we expected it to have a wet texture, as opposed to the dry one we came across.
The Golden Garlic Fried Chicken (Rs. 850) was an assortment of batter-coated chicken, curry leaves and spring onions. While the coating was beautifully golden-fried and crispy, it was way too salty for our liking. Plus, we quite couldn't detect the garlicky hint here.
The most likeable part of the experience was this Sweet & Sour Pork (Rs. 850). There were chunks of carrots, bell pepper and pineapple adorning the dish, with the promised sweet and sour flavours, and the pork pieces seem to have been pan-fried to have a crispy texture.
The 1979 Dehiwala has BYOB too, but you're expected to spend around Rs. 1500 per head to make it free of a corkage fee. However, they do serve fruit juices. We opted for the Pineapple Juice (Rs. 300) and Orange Juice (Rs. 300).
The Pineapple Juice was the better one out of the two, as it had the sweet and sour balance on point, and was not watered down. Unfortunately, the Orange juice tasted a bit watery, a tad too sweet too, while the orangey notes were quite mild.
It's an old house converted into a restaurant, and therefore carries a very homely vibe. They have both indoor and outdoor dining, as well as a private room or two for small events, gatherings and parties.
The staff was accommodating and happy to help. They had a lot of customers on the day we visited - the outdoor area was almost full. But despite that, the food and drinks landed on our table within around 15 minutes.
We enjoy the fact of having another BYOB restaurant in Dehiwala, but this branch of 1979 has room for improvement in terms of food and drinks, especially in comparison to their Boralesgamuwa branch.