Sri Lankan food isn’t hugely easy to come by in London, but places are starting to spring up so I have a feeling the tide may be turning on that one…
Enter Hoppers, a new and dare I say “trendy” (by which I mean you can’t book and have to queue) Sri Lankan restaurant slap bang in the middle of Soho. I normally end up not-completely-deliberately avoiding restaurants that you have to queue for because it’s becoming a bit of a thing and I know I’ll end up hangry and there are enough other places to go. This time I made an exception because I had heard so many great things about this place and had an inkling that it might actually be worth it…
The queueing situation that I had been slightly dreading in the end really wasn’t so bad. We had been queueing for a short while before a member of staff took down a name and number and we were told we would get a message when a table was ready. Turned out the text contained a link to a neat little tracker page where we could see where we were in the queue. It was a glorious day (lucky because we don’t get many of those!) so we went and sat in Soho square to pass the time. It ended up being just over an hour of waiting which didn’t feel too bad.
Once we were inside, first up were the Lion beers and starters. Between us we ordered string hoppers (thin rice noodles served with curry sauce) and mutton rolls and both were so full of flavour and were absolutely amazing. Those mutton rolls alone were worth the wait!
The signature dish at Hoppers is obviously its namesake, the hopper, of which they do a plain and an egg version. Hoppers are a sort of rice pancake that are cooked in a deep bowl-shaped frying pan (already on my shopping list for my trip to Sri Lanka this summer) which gives them their distinctive shape. The egg version has an egg cooked into the bottom. You tear sections off the hopper and dip into the curries and chutneys. The curries we tried were all delicious, and the black pork curry with its aromatic, spicy flavour was definitely a stand out.
In case the hoppers didn’t fill us up (which of course they absolutely definitely did) we also ordered some kothu roti. I am a massive fan of kothu roti since trying it last year so I couldn’t come to a Sri Lankan restaurant and not order it! Kothu roti is a dish of shredded godhamba roti cooked with curry spices and often egg or meat. For me, the seafood kothu roti was the best of the bunch and was served topped with a crispy soft shell crab.
I can’t rate this place highly enough! We all left feeling disgustingly full after our enormous feast and seriously glad we had waited – it was absolutely worth it and I’d go again even if it meant waiting for hours in the rain!