Hoppers on Frith Street, Soho, is one of those no-reservations place with perpetually long queues. Each time we went, we’d be told that there is a 2-hour wait for a table. We finally got in last Wed - an evening when most Londoners would rather be watching the World Cup football match where England was playing Croatia. In Soho itself, the pubs with TV screens were packed, whilst over at Hoppers - no queue!
Mind you, even then, the dining room was 90% full.
Service was brisk and efficient, and our orders came pretty fast.
Egg Hoppers The hoppers here seemed heavier than those I’d had elsewhere (South India, Singapore) - probably the batter used here.
Mutton rolls Crispy, breaded rolls with a spicy minced mutton filling. Pretty addictive, but fills one up pretty quickly.
Bone marrow Varuval, served with Roti. Stupendous sauce, although the marrow itself seemed overwhelmed by all the flavours.
Fish fry These are probably herring fillets, marinated in pretty chili-hot spices before being coated in either rice or tapioca flour and deep-fried till crisp.
Okra & plantain curry
Beef Chili Fry Full-bodied dry beef curry.
Crab Kari (Curry) Milky and mild, with a hint of turmeric - my fave dish for the evening. The flower crabs do not yield much meat, but it’s the rich flavoursome sauce that is the winner.
String Hoppers (Idiyappam) with Pol Sambol and Kiri Hodi A Sri Lankan staple. A bit toothsome and heavier here than the versions I’ve had in South India or back in Malaysia & Singapore. I’ll need to try these in other South Indian eateries in London to surmise if the denser texture is to cater to local palates here.
Masala Buttermilk - stirred salted yoghurt with shallots, curry leaves, ginger and green chili Very refreshing cold drink - perfect accompaniment to the curried dishes.
Overall, pretty average Sri Lankan food, with the spicing significantly dialled down to suit local tastes. Service was fantastic and the place has a nice vibe.
49 Frith Street, Soho
London W1D 4SG, UK
Tel: +44 20 3319 8110
Mon-Thu 12noon-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm
Closed on Sunday