We have got a soft spot for great Indian food. Places like Gykmkhana, Trishna and Dishoom are up there as some of our favourites in London. When the Sethi group (guys behind Gymkhana and Trishna) announced the opening of a new venture serving the food of Sri Lanka, we were beyond excited. One thing we should mention about the Sethi empire, is that all of their restaurants really shine when it comes to hospitality. All their staff are passionate about the food and concepts that they are a part of; and Hoppers is no different. From the warm lady outside taking our details, to the servers inside who share their favourites with us – we were handled with care.
We knew that Hoppers, being non-reservable, would be busy, so we hopped (get it?) on down by 5.30pm to put our name down for a table. The cheery Maitre’D said it would be a modest 45 minutes wait, we didn’t mind this at all. The added bonus is that they take your number and text you once your table is free (something that has worked wonders for Homeslice) so we headed off for a cocktail.
Once seated we looked over the menu and decided to share a couple of short eats, a Hopper a Dhosa and a couple of Karis. The idli sambhar was divine and by no means a small eat. Idli is a small savoury sponge ‘cake’ and is accompanied by daal (sambhar). A generous portion of that sambhar with idli happily swimming in it that is packed with so much flavour and heat. It was a tad spicy for us, but tasty nonetheless.
We went for the egg hopper purely because we have been told this is a staple, so had to see it for ourselves. A bowl shaped pancake made from fermented rice and an egg delicately cooked in the middle. We also had a podi dhosa (spicey to you and me) and shared sides of potato fry, fish kari, their special of devilled Paneer and an array of chutneys. We were very happy indeed.
The lightness of the hopper and dhosa was unbelievable. So thin and crispy and great with all of our side options. The dhosa took us back to when we would visit india as children and eat hot dhosa for breakfast. Heaven! The devilled Paneer was outstanding. So much so we practically begged them to add it to the menu permanently. Sweet and sour with a great kick and the paneer was freshly made in house. A winner in our books.
There were several dishes we still wanted to try but just had no room. But guess that means We will just have to go back? Oh go on then.
49 Frith St, London W1D 4SG