Moti Mahal, Bombay Brasserie, and now Hoppers. I don’t really indulge in Indian cuisine that often, and now it seems that I have somehow visited three within a single month – not that I’m complaining.
Hoppers on Frith Street in Soho is the latest venture from the Sethi family (Trishna/Gymkhana – both of which I appallingly have not been to yet), centrally located at the site which was once the much-loved Koya.
I had made a mental list of what to order whilst we were waiting outside in the cold for them to open for dinner service – yes, I was ‘one of them’…
One of those new-opening/no-reservation situations where you can either choose to wait for 20 minutes before opening time, or over an hour whilst staring at people eating through the window. I definitely know which I‘d personally prefer.
Once we were seated I fired away with our order and sat waiting in anticipation whilst we sipped on warm and comforting Sweet Frothy Kaapi, a South Indian filter coffee, served in a stainless steel tumbler. This was placed within a ‘dabarah’ which is meant to help cool it in, but as I seem to have lips of steel when it comes to hot drinks, I didn’t make use of it. The cup was quite small so we also ordered the Sweet Dilmah Metre Tea. Both drinks were really sweet and tasty, but best consumed in small quantities – don’t want to end up having a sugar high or diabetes…
Having tried the Cashew, Cassava & Ash Plantain Fry, and the Bone Marrow Varuval with Roti on my first visit (both of which I would recommend), I ordered the Mutton Rolls, Chicken Heart Chukka, and the Duck Roti this time, which I had heard good things about.
The Mutton Rolls were really crisp and coated in golden breadcrumb batter, containing steaming, hot and flavourful mutton filling. The duck roti was equally as moreish and I would definitely order it again on my next visit. I was initially quite hesitant to order the chicken hearts, which actually didn’t taste too bad. I still feel a bit queasy about certain foods, but there was a lot of onions and spices going on that it sort of distracted me away from the thought of it…
We had an Egg Hopper each, a Sri Lankan food made from fermented rice and coconut batter, with the little pots of Pol Sambol, Seeni Sambol and Coriander Chutney on the side.
Just as we were about to order the Black Pork Kari, we were informed that there was a special kari available, which was the Whole Crab Kari. We both love crab so we both pounced at the opportunity to try it – so deliciously spicy, and one of the best curries that I’ve had in a while. Surprisingly, I didn’t really see many tables order it whilst we were there, but I would definitely recommend it.
We were quite full by that stage, and then the waiter came towards our table with another huge tray of food. At first I thought that it was a mistake, and then I remembered that in my state of hunger, I had also greedily ordered the Ceylonese Spit Chicken with gotukola sambol and pol roti. Clearly I should not be left to be in charge of the ordering when I am hungry. The chicken was really well marinated with lots of spices and tender, and I was a bit sad that I had to leave some leftovers as my stomach was pretty full to the brim – one of those days where my tummy is not quite so bottomless. We both weren’t that much of a fan of the pol roti, which is a coconut flatbread, but the pennywort salad on the side was refreshing and had a nice sharpness that cut through the richness of the food.
I had my eyes on the milk hopper with kithul treacle, jaggery and durian ice cream, but was slightly disappointed when the waitress informed us that they had run out of milk hoppers (at 6.30pm – rather odd?!). Thankfully I still managed to get my durian ice cream fix – it was only a small scoop, but the taste was satisfying enough.
Service was really quick and the whole meal cost us about £38 each (including service). I was sad when Koya closed for good a few months back in May, but I am now glad that the site has been taken over by Hoppers which offers something quite different and exciting.
Great food, good value, and the perfect location that will surely become one of my regular haunts.
The Cheekster, signing out x