No restaurant in London forces us to relive the pain of unrequited love as much at the original Hoppers in Soho.
There was the time it was closed because of a fire in the kitchen. Or the time it closed for Mother’s Day celebrations (we didn’t even have any mothers with us - we’re not proud - but life is about savage sacrifices). There was the time we hedged our chances later in the evening only to be told that there might be a table at 11 pm. The restaurant closes at 10.30pm. ‘Do you still want to put your name down?’ And there have been many, many times we’ve simply showed up at a normal hour and have had to wait hours. Due to the no reservation policy, there’s always a high chance of straight up rejection, even when military-style strategy is applied. Nonetheless, Hoppers Soho remains ones of our favourite restaurants in the city, a testament to how great a place it is.
So naturally, we were very excited about the prospect of another Hoppers of any sort. But a second Hoppers that actually takes reservations? This love story might even have a happy ending.
The newer Hoppers is in St Christopher’s Place, and we’re pleased to report you can still expect access to the best Sri Lankan food in London while eating here. There are a few differences on the menu - the prawn fry has been replaced with squid, and there’s a new prawn kari you’ll want to dip all your roti into - but the classic dishes are all still here and shining. The famous egg hopper remains a must-order, and the bone marrow varuval still keeps its crown as the best curry in London. Any meal here is going to be fantastic, and the food really does live up to the original.
There are, naturally, some caveats. First of all, there’s space. This location is set over two floors, which includes a big bright, slightly corporate feeling space upstairs, and an underground seating area with coves and larger tables to accommodate group dinners. While it definitely has some charm, it doesn’t have the same cosy family restaurant feel of the original. And second, you should know that bookings do come with some stipulations - duos can book at lunchtime, but you have to be a minimum of four to book an evening slot. Fortunately, this is food that was designed for groups, so you’ll probably want to come with a few people anyway.
This Hoppers may not be our first love, but it’s probably the one we’re going to settle down with.
A lot of squid in a lot of spice. We don’t think it’s quite as good as the shrimp version at the original location, but it’s very good nonetheless.
Still the best curry in London. End of message.
All the karis are great, but the prawn kari is the one we remember most even in the shadows of the bone marrow varuval.
Hoppers are paper thin, bowl-shaped pancakes for mopping up curries. The egg hopper comes with an egg in the middle of the bowl, and it’s a definite must-order if it’s your first visit to either Hoppers location.