As you may have read in my most recent post, I have just made the move from Hong Kong to England and, although we are still yet to find a permanent abode, the hunt for good restaurants in London has, of course, already begun! You might have expected me to start my London restaurant reviews with a typical English pub, but, instead, I am starting with a review of a lovely Sri Lankan restaurant called Hoppers.
Having been to Sri Lanka about five years ago for the wedding of some very good friends, one of the things I loved most about that beautiful country was, of course, the food. The colours, the flavours and the fact that it was encouraged to enjoy curry even for breakfast (which I did, if not every day, then at least most days!).
Hoppers has two locations in London, one in Soho and a larger one (that takes reservations) just off St Christopher’s Place, which is the one I visited. Upstairs, the space is lovely and bright, dotted with greenery, whilst downstairs, where we sat, is much darker and moodier.
We were recommended to try two dishes from the ‘short eats’ section to begin with. These should, perhaps, have been called ‘quick eats’, as the mutton rollsarrived what seemed like seconds after we ordered them. These crispy rolls, stuffed with deliciously spiced minced mutton, were excellent, served with a zingy Sri Lankan hot sauce to really spice things up.
The green peppercorn chicken, also from the short eats section, was excellent, with a richly flavoured sauce, juicy chunks of chicken and crunchy fried chickpeas and onions that added a lovely contrasting texture.
We couldn’t dine at Hoppers without trying the egg hopper, a typical Sri Lankan bowl-shaped fermented rice and coconut milk pancake, with an egg cooked into the bottom. This, together with the podi dosa, a cone-shaped fermented rice and lentil pancake, served as the perfect vessels to transport the pol sambol(a dry mix of shredded coconut and onion) and the coriander chutneyto our mouths.
From the ‘Kari’ section (Sri Lankan for curry, in case you couldn’t guess), we started with the aubergine, bean and okra kari, before realising that, since it was only a small portion, we should also try the chicken kari. Both were wonderfully flavoursome, with a gentle spicy kick, and also paired beautifully with the egg hopper and podi dosa.
There is only one dessert on the menu at Hoppers, the Love Cake Ice Cream Sandwich, which, of course, we had to sample. It consisted of creamy frozen yoghurt sandwiched between round slices of spiced ginger cake that ended the meal off perfectly.
Our meal for two, including too much food and two non-alcoholic drinks, came to GBP30 a head. I promise I won’t compare prices to Hong Kong restaurants forever, but, for the moment, I’m still in the honeymoon period and can’t help but be a little smug about how a meal like this would have cost me a lot more in HK! I thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Hoppers and will certainly be back.
77 Wigmore Street
London W1U 1QE
Tel: 020 319 8110
Lunch reservations for 2 guests or more; dinner reservations only for 4 guests or more at St Christopher’s Place location only. (Note, no reservations at the Soho location at all.)