This was my second visit to Hoppers but my first visit to the Soho Hoppers. We arrived just before 6pm and were seated immediately, we had arrived early expecting a wait but I guess the hype around Hoppers must have cooled down a little now. At number 8 in Time Out’s Top 100 restaurants in London, this is definitely worth a visit…
I find it hard to find restaurants in the UK which stick to the true authenticity of the cuisine of food they are representing. After visiting Sri Lanka twice, I feel that Hoppers was a brilliant example of a restaurant who have accurately provided an insight into the amazing flavours of Sri Lankan cuisine.
The service was quick and attentive but we didn’t feel as though we were being rushed either which is always a plus, especially when there are so many people wanting to eat here every night! My Step Mum has a gluten free diet and they promptly provided her with a menu where the dishes which were gluten free were highlighted, which was very accommodating!
This was my second time at Hoppers and they had changed the menu since my last visit – I was sad that the Crab Kari no longer featured on the menu as this was one of their most spectacular dishes! However there were plenty of tasty and unique alternatives for us to choose from which I quickly became excited about.
Chicken Lollipop Chukka
This is one of their short eats, and the portion size is tiny but the chicken tastes amazing! This is also a good option if you prefer something less spicy. If you are in a group definitely order a few portions though as there are only 3 small chicken wings per portion.
This is what Hoppers is renowned for so it is essential to order this! A perfectly cooked egg nestled in a typical Sri Lankan Hopper (a type of pancake made from fermented rice, batter and coconut milk, there is a great recipe on how to make one yourself here!
Root Vegetable Kari (V)
This isn’t a dish I would have ordered myself but my Dad didn’t like the sound of the okra and plantain kari (I know right..?!) so we ordered this. I was pleasantly surprised as this turned out to be one of the nicest dishes we had ordered! When I usually think of root vegetables I think of carrots and potatoes, but the kale and turnip worked well and it was a nice change in this fragrant coconut curry.
This dish was a little spicier than the rest (I LOVE spice so I was happy about this)! The fish in this curry was mackerel which provided a rich and flavoursome curry. Because the fish was cooked whole in the curry, it stayed together nicely and didn’t disintegrate into tiny pieces (which is usually what happens with fish curries unless you use Monk Fish or maybe Hake)! Mackerel isn’t of course a typical Sri Lankan fish but then I think I would have been concerned if they had imported fish 6000 miles away from Sri Lanka.
Black Pork Kari
If you go to Hoppers and this is still on the menu, this is an absolute MUST! The pork was cooked to perfection and was a great contrast to the fish and vegetable curries we ordered.
A perfect accompaniment for the egg hopper. However I would definitely order more chutneys next time!
Pumpkin Spiced Cider
I chose to have this after my meal as it felt as though it would be more of a dessert… I was certainly right about that! It came topped with whipped pumpkin spiced cream. I’m not a huge fan of cream so I passed this bit to my dad but underneath the cream was the most delicious, warming, festive mulled cider with arrack (a leathal Sri Lankan spirit).
All these dishes were spectacular but my absolute favourite was the black pork kari and the root vegetable kari. Next time I will definitely be ordering off one of their set menu’s though, the couple next to us had ordered from this and I have to admit I had a bit of food envy!
Advice: There can be a wait as they don’t take bookings but you can book online in advance for groups of 4 at the Hoppers at St Christopher’s Place!