Hopumm, Bandra, Has Us Hooked On | All The Deets
I love appams so much, I would print it on a t-shirt. I had heard so much about Hoppumm before I visited, my hopes were sky high. I’m a big fan of South Indian curries: so much so, that I’d rather have a fish curry instead of butter chicken and I eat dosas for breakfast at least three times a week. If that’s not an indication for just how much I was looking forward to this meal, then I don’t know what is.
Hoppumm is a brand centered around Sri Lankan food, which is very similar to South Indian food. For an eatery inspired by an island nation, you’d think it would be very seafood heavy, but it isn’t. They dabble in meat and seafood equally, and every dish has a vegetarian option. Mainly, though, Hoppumm is all about its hoppers. A hopper is basically the same as an appam, the only difference being the etymology. Being a Sri Lankan food eatery, everything from the menu felt familiar, yet new at the same time.
Hoppum is a small spot in a quiet Bandra lane. They have an air-conditioned section with an open kitchen, and an outside seating area as well. The walls have been painted with massive palm leaf prints which instantly transported me to a more tropical state of mind.
My advice is to go straight for the hoppers. You can get four variants: traditional, wheat-basted, spinach-based and string hoppers (idiyappam). Other than hoppers, you can also choose from neer dosa, paratha, kottu roti and brown rice. Pair them with their skillfully crafted curries. They serve a great onion sambol and a chutney of the month with everything you order. My companion and I went with the traditional Hoppers and String Hoppers with small portions of all their curries so we could taste the variety.
It’s not hard to see why their hoppers are the star of the scene. Soft and fluffy in the middle, and increasingly crisp and thin on the edges, I thought the consistency was perfect. I could have eaten the whole thing on its own! When you go for a combo (hopper + curry), the curry comes in the middle of the bowl-shaped hopper. However, we were served four curries in separate recycled palm-leaf bowls to be able to taste them all.
My personal favourite of the lot was the Prawn Moilee, which was a thick, coconut flavoured, delicious curry. My personal bias believes that this one was the best curry of them all. The prawns were plump and succulent, just the right size, and the curry was super creamy, too.
Next up was the Chicken Stew, which was as creamy and rich as the Prawn Moilee, but had a much milder flavour profile. However, the blandness of it wasn’t a bad quality, but a rather comforting one.
Ceylon Roast is a traditionally Sri Lankan blend of spices, which we had in the form of Curry Chicken. This one was a bright red colour which prepared us for how spicy it was. The last curry we had was the Mutton Pepper Fry, again spicy but in a peppery way, rather than the hot chilli spice from the Ceylon Roast. All the curries we ate had a vegetarian, and equally yum version.
One of the more unique things we had was the Egg Chilli Cheese Hopper, wherein an egg was cooked with cheese and ultra-fine chillies in the middle of a hopper. It was an absolute delight, and was so different from the more traditional things we had been eating so far. If you want to mix things up and stray away from hoppers, you can have any of their curries with their kottu roti, where in a shredded paratha is mixed with eggs in the curry of your choice: a different choice, but not one you’d regret!
We also tried a bit of their starters like the Chicken 65 and Mutton Rolls which I had absolutely no complaints with, they were both meaty, spicy and delicious, but I think you should go straight to the hoppers and prioritize them according to how large your appetite is (go with a big one so you can eat everything!).
Lastly, we were onto my favorite part of any meal: dessert. They have two on the menu: the Vathalappam and the Coconut Milk and Jaggery Hopper. That day, we were only able to try the Vathalappam, which was a coconut pudding of sorts on top of a crushed cashew base. Very unlike anything I’d had before, and the sweetness was balanced expertly.
After I visit a new place, I usually list the dishes I would go back for, and with Hoppumm, I’m wondering what I wouldn’t go back for. I have already planned my next visit. The venture by siblings Sahil and Jay Wadhwa, and Head Chef Lakshit Shetty is a recipe for success. And, it’s not just me, but everyone I’ve spoken to who’s gone there so far has raved about Hoppumm so much, which is honestly admirable since it has been just week or so since it opened. Bandra really gets all the new openings, and I’m so jealous. I need a Hoppumm near me!