The birthday weekend.

Now, I’ve been in a spot of bother with Mrs H recently. A weekend in London had been planned to celebrate (if that’s the right word at my age!) my birthday. However, in my usual laissez faire way I didn’t book a restaurant table for dinner with friends until it was too late. I had some very good recommendations from my friend Ed (@rocketandsquash). Out of desperation we had to choose to queue for a decent meal. I am not a fan of this queuing lark but we decided to go for it. We met up at Hoppers, a recently opened Sri Lankan restaurant in Frith Street. Hoppers is a sister restaurant to another favourite of ours called Gymkhana and Trishna, which I haven’t experienced yet.

I am really not to sure queuing is going to work here long term but we did it. You know, even queueing here was a relatively joyous experience. We were thoughtfully offered drinks by the bottle whilst waiting. Mrs H certainly wasn’t going to miss out on this and chose a half bottle of Gavi (glasses not allowed).

Sim and Pen on the Gavi
Sim and Pen on the Gavi

We queued happily for about 45 minutes as the owner/manager kept us well entertained with jovial banter.

We were all very unfamiliar with the menu and my advice would be take advice! It’s influences are Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu.

To get back to the important stage, drinks. if you want a vast wine list don’t bother coming here. The list is limited to one white (Gavi of course!) and one red (Barbera). Both perfectly acceptable but only sold by 1/2 bottle.

Please don’t give up at this point. Hoppers has a deliciously entertaining list of ‘Hards’ or Sri Lankan style cocktails, spirits such as Arak, Sri Lankan beers and soft cocktails.

So, begin with some short eats. We chose Bonemarrow Varuval, String Hoppers, Idli and Duck Roti. Now I’m not going to provide endless translations as all is explained on the menu and on the website.

We were completely blown away by the everything about these dishes – taste, texture, amazing aromas. The bonemarrow was a particular favourite. It was like one of those ‘before I go to heaven’ (or hell maybe!) dishes.

Bonemarrow Varuval
Bonemarrow Varuval

The name ‘Hoppers’ relates to one of the principle dishes on the menu. To quote the menu, a hopper is a ‘bowl shaped fermented rice and coconut pancake’. You choose this with or without egg or a dosa which is similar but made from lentils and softer in texture and more like a wrap.

The idea is that you fill your hopper or dosa with some of the delicious ‘karis’ from the menu as well as the accompanying chutneys.

Hoppers and Dosas
Hoppers and Dosas

You have the option of choosing ‘rice, roast or kothu’ from the menu for mains. We went for the roast, a whole Ceylonese Spit Chicken, which was also delicious.

We ate at Gymkhana on the same date last year, which was a great experience and this place lived up to expectations.

To sum up this was a memorable dining experience and we can’t wait to go back. The wonderful, attentive service was a major contribution. We were made to feel very welcome by all the charming staff.

Just to mention the two blokes ended up sharing a Love Cake!

Just go there! Its getting such lush reviews at the moment and is a really hot dining ticket.

49 Frith St
London W1D 4SG

We tend to stay out east when we are in London. This time we stayed at The Ace Hotel on Shoreditch High Street which was interesting and different and they allowed Ozzy Dog to spend his first night in a hotel.

Guitar courtesy of The Ace Hotel
Guitar courtesy of The Ace Hotel

Sunday morning has to be spent at Columbia Road Flower Market. It’s such an amazing place which is only open on Sundays. Probably my fave spot in London.

Columbia Road Flower Market

Whilst you are in the area, have lunch at The Marksman pub just a stone’s throw from the market. They do a terrific Sunday lunch. Make sure you book it!

I hope it can be seen that I had a brill birthday weekend and not a squeak out of Mrs H with regard to restaurant reservations.

I am not a total expert on this but I know a man who is. A local chap who knows all about food so get following.

The latest news!

i hear you don’t have to queue at Hoppers now. You cant book in advance but you can leave your name and number and they will call you when you are ready. Saves drinking out of bottles I suppose!


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