Monday, 1 February 2016

Hoppers

Something Sri Lankan

Hoppers has created quite a storm of late, one of those ‘once you pop’ places that will draw you back time and again. In what used to be Koya on Frith street, the general concept is that of spruced up Sri Lankan with spicy DIY curries in thin pancake-esque rice-based .. pancakes called dosas and bowl shaped hoppers (it’s all in the name)!


While it is another addition to Soho’s no reservations quota, they have joyfully signed up to Qudini which lets you leave your name and number for them to alert you when your table is ready. Hurrah, then you can slip in a sneaky pre-dinner dram from Milroys or a glass of vino from the recently opened 68 & Boston just round the corner while you wait.


Adding Hoppers to their seriously successful lists of accolades (Lyles, Bubbledogs, Bao and Gymkhana to name just a handful), restauranteur trio Karam, Jyotin and Sunaina Sethi have brought Soho something it never realised it was missing and let’s all be glad they did!


We tumbled inside out of the cold and were greeted by a menu that required some explanation. Lucky for us and thanks to Hoppers, a handy little glossary is written to assist in those less well versed in Sri Lankan dialect.



The interior was immediately enveloping. Warm wooden panelling and cascading pot plants surrounded the wicker woven chairs and dimmed lighting kept everything cosy. It's the sort of place you can slip into and disappear amongst the buzz and bustle (if you can get a table that is)!



To start our adventure, we chose a couple of numbers from the "Short Eats." Some steamed rice noodles aka String Hoppers which were served with little bowls of a coconut fish sauce or Kiri Hodi and Pol Sambol, a kind of relish with coconut, onion and a hint of chilli. Part dip, part sprinkle, part pour, part mush. This set the trend for the rest of the meal.



Duck Roti with some dunking Rasa was munched up, slightly crispy and just the right amount of kick. It's exciting to taste a totally new cuisine, not to say that you can't find Sri Lankan elsewhere in London, (in fact I hear it's also great at Apollo Banana Leaf in Tooting) but for me, this was time number one and I bladdy loved it!



Before embarking on the main name of the game, I spied this superb wall of fun. Entering sneakily into my subconscious, I definitely dreamt about crazy carnivals and freaky creatures that night, but I digress. 



Enter the Hopper's and the Dosa's, fermented rice batter and coconut milk pancake/ crumpet bowls and wraps. You've really got to taste it to work out exactly how it works, because it does work; it works very well indeed!

Step 1) - Choose your hopper or dosa base (plain or egg)




Step 2) Pick your Kari (curry), for us it was lamb (£10) and fish (£9.50) 



Step 3) Add the chutney and/ or relish 



Step 4) Probably don't pay £1 for a tiny bowl of yoghurt and ask them to lay off the spice a bit instead (Sri Lankan's like it hot)!

So there you have it, some dunking, dipping and splodging later, we had our DIY curries, wrapped in the coconutty pancakes and dripping all over the shop. Don't throw all caution to the wind, this isn't quite finger food, but a happy, be it messy middle ground of half fork/ half hope to make it to your mouth in time kindof deal.

To round everything off and being the curious types we are, it had to be the Durian Ice Cream (surely they wouldn't put it on the menu if they hadn't found a way of persuading sceptical diners that it wasn't in fact the smelliest fruit in the world)! Served inside a Milk Hopper with a treacly Kithul & Jaggery, it was really pretty delicious.



And there ended our little trip to Sri Lanka in Soho. Along came the bill in a coconut shell which we definitely didn't send flying across the table to one another.



Winning rave reviews from all over the internet, Hoppers has quickly planted itself in the hearts of all who visit. A return trip is certainly in order to navigate further through the menu!


Location
49 Frith Street, W1D 4SG (no bookings)

Opening Times
 Mon-Sat noon-2.30pm & 5.30pm-10.30pm

hopperslondon.com

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