I got married in Sri Lanka and subsequently honeymooned there so I’d like to think I have some handle on Sri Lankan food. So when my girlfriends (who conveniently finish work super early) talked about dinner on a weeknight, I thought Hoppers might be a good bet.
The reason why finishing work early was such a big part of my venue choice is because for those who know about Hoppers, you may well know its one of those annoying places that don’t take bookings. Therefore one must queue, something that us Brits do really well, but when you’re hungry and cold, is not ideal. This is the exact reason why my sister in law Mrs T has tried and failed numerous times (up until her hubby took my advice and showed up early that is!).
Anyhoo, I was the lucky bugger that showed up at 6pm to a table that had already been claimed by my two friends *smug look*…
Upon arriving, I had a quick look at the menu…
The friendly waiter came over to take my drink order and we decided we may as well get a move on and order starters too.
My drink of Masala Buttermilk arrived shortly before the food and because I was obviously so thirsty from the long weight, I failed to take a photo. I can however tell you that it was very refreshing, perfectly seasoned and I would have happily gulped it down in 3 sips.
Next our starters or “short eats” arrived. First up:
Hot Butter Devilled Shrimps
The Sri Lankans love Devilled everything and whilst the truly authentic version is fairly spicy, these were well flavoured and actually quite good. Luckily the String Hoppers arrived at the same time, so we were able to use them to mop up the sauce.
String Hoppers, Kiri Hodi, Pol Sambol
So for those who have never tried string hoppers, they are a kind of rice noodle pancake which you can use in the style of a roti or naan to mop up sauce. I remember during our first planning trip our wedding planner took us for a traditional meal and whilst I loved these, Mr R wasn’t as keen. These were really very good.
Along with our starters we decided to try the Calamari Fri which I must say was amazingly seasoned and super delicious, so delicious in fact that I was too busy eating and didn’t manage to grab a photo!
As one of my lady friends is a veggie, she decided to try Idli, Sambhar, Podi:
Idli, Sambhar, Podi
Idli again is something I am very familiar with, having grown up with my dad making these on a regular basis. This version was very soft and the sambhar was well flavoured.
For our mains we decided we must try the Hoppers. Whilst I’ve always been a fan of the plain hopper, Mrs P decided to try the egg version.
We also decided to try one each of the sambal and chutney sides which can be seen in the photo above along with the Root Vegetable Kari which again can be seen in the photo above alone with the Chicken Kari.
I have to say the Root Vegetable Kari was delicious and had a mix of vegetables and cashew nuts so tasted truly authentic. The Chicken Kari was ok, not hugely flavourful and definitely not a delicious as the Veg Kari.
Given that I didn’t have to stand in a queue for 1.5-2 hours my opinion is slightly biased, however word has it they’ve set up an electronic queuing system so you can pop off for a drink whilst your waiting.
The space is small, dimly lit and slightly cramped and to top it off, our waiter did need us out in 2 hours. However I can honestly say the food was good, it was authentic and really did encapsulate some of the great dishes hailed from Sri Lanka.
If you have a few hours to waste and don’t mind queuing whilst your build up an appetite, give Hoppers a try!