London. Another trendy restaurant. Another queue to conquer.
This time it’s the turn of Sri Lankan hottie – Hoppers.
Brought to us by the JKS team (Bao, Bubbledogs, Gymkhana, Trishna), their latest baby is conquering the culinary world at rocket speed with its delectable and inspiring dishes.
After a two hour wait, entering Hoppers felt like an achievement. I could feel a tear developing in the corner of my eye. The place was cozy and heaving! We were pointed to a couples table which turned out to be a shared table of four. Be prepared to bond with strangers over curry here!
We ordered some Lion lagers (from Sri Lanka’s largest brewery) and a selection from every section. Dishes arrive in no particular order and service is prompt but friendly.
Starters (or Short Eats) were Goat Roti, Hot Butter Devilled Shrimps and Bone Marrow Varuvial.
The Goat Roti (flaky flatbread, almost puff pastry texture) came filled with spicy goat mince and savoury dipping sauce. It was the kind of spicy that you need a fire extinguisher next to you but so good that you can’t stop eating, because it’s so enticingly good!
Hot Butter Devilled Shrimps were exactly as it says on the pack and were devoured pretty much as soon as they arrived.
I was really looking forward to my Bone Marrow Varuval. The sauce itself was delicious and less spicy which allows one to truly appreciate the layers of flavours without breathing fire every ten seconds.
However the marrow portion itself was miniscule. For a true bone marrow enthusiast like me, I wanted more ‘meat’ in my marrow.
When in Hoppers, get a hopper. We obviously had to try the dish which inspired it all!
We ordered an Egg Hopper, accompanied by a selection of chutneys. One underestimates how lovely this dish is. You start tearing off around the edges of the pancake to dunk into your spicy curries, till you reach the moist, spongy, eggy base and the yolk just oozes out – all inhaled in one go in a perfect moment.
Other dishes on the menu were Black Pork Kari, Lamb Kothu Roti and Potato Fry.
The pork was dark, semi-dry, peppery, almost gamey; a definite must try. The Lamb Kothu Roti was a medley of flavours and textures.
Potato fry – a great side dish, completely mild to calm down those meat sweats.
Kudos to Hoppers for bringing London’s attention to this little known cuisine. I know Tooting does it, but Hopper’s Soho location gives it universal access. Having never been to Sri Lanka, I cannot vouch for how authentic these dishes are. But it has definitely piqued my interest for the region and its cuisine.