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New Khar restaurant and bar offers comfort food at its best

Hoppipola All day Bar & Bonhomie at Khar is a friendly, happy place that offers comfort bar food at affordable prices

It is my turn. I tentatively pick up the chalk and put a cross in one box. The second I do that, my friend smirks, makes a nought in another box and wins the game. But before I can swear at him (or at my own stupidity), a voice behind me says, “M’am, here’s your Watermelon and Basil Mojito.” I hastily try to rub off the game we’ve played on the table. But there’s no one here to chide. After all, we are at Hoppipola All Day Bar & Bonhomie, and the chalks and duster are there on the table for a reason.

The Sergeant Peppers Lonely Roasted Bell Peppers has pickled bell peppers on garlic croute and topped with cream cheese
The Sergeant Peppers Lonely Roasted Bell Peppers has pickled bell peppers on garlic croute and topped with cream cheese

The latest welcome entrant to Khar’s neighbourhood is an eatery you should be familiar with, if you’ve been to Pune or Bangalore in the past year. With spacious interiors done up in white and blue and trees and potted plants in colourful planters in the outside section, Hoppipola All Day Bar & Bonhomie transports you to a restaurant in Greece. And if you’re the kind who thinks chalk games are too childish, well, there’s no dearth of entertainment at this place. From board games, such as UNO and Pictionary, to a mini library and even video games, this place has it all.

Patrons can win free alcohol shots at the ‘Post of Hoppiness’ wall at Hoppipola
Patrons can win free alcohol shots at the ‘Post of Hoppiness’ wall at Hoppipola

The games keep us occupied while we wait for our order to arrive. The sight of the bright Red Watermelon and Basil Mojito (Rs 225) and Whisky Sour (Rs 195) makes us take a break. We raise our drinks and clink them with a loud “cheers!”

While watermelon and basil leaves add their freshness to the white rum in the former, we can’t get enough of the latter with its perfect blend of whisky, lemon juice, sugar and the dash of egg white that gives it an extra creaminess.

The Basil and Watermelon Mojito
The Basil and Watermelon Mojito

To go with the drinks, we order Sergeant Peppers Lonely Roasted Bell Peppers (Rs 160) — pickled bell peppers on crunchy garlic croutes, drizzled in olive oil and topped with a dollop of cream cheese. Strictly non-vegetarians, we would happily forgo every other starter on the menu for this truly flavoursome and delicious vegetarian dish. The Wassa Tokyo (Rs 265) we order next would have tasted bland in comparison, but the wasabi mayonnaise dip gives it the much-needed kick. We devour the prawns within seconds.

Our server suggests us to try the quirkily named OMG (Rs 170), which has crisp fried button mushrooms, stuffed with cheese and jalapeno. We know exactly why he asked us to go for it. The mushrooms are cheesy, spicy and we don’t feel the need to dip them in the accompanying mayonnaise at all. Pretty full by now, but feeling the need for another drink, we ask for an Apple and Curry Leaves Mojito (Rs 225) — the curry leaves making their presence felt with the tangy aftertaste that lingers in our mouths.

I look around and spot a group of teenagers sipping a couple of beers and engrossed in a game of Jenga. The mood is light and jovial, and we decide to order the mains.

From the pizza section, we choose Jerkin’ Around (Rs 265) and find ourselves reaching for a sip of water after a bite of the thin-crust pizza. Jerk chicken is a style of Jamaican cooking in which meat is dry-rubbed with a very hot spice mixture. Each slice is topped with hot, sweet and spicy blend of the jerk chicken. His Highness’ Favourite (Rs 275) arrives next. The pork sausages with mashed potatoes and creamy gravy is comfort food at its best, and we relish the taste of the cooked sausages and creamy potatoes, sopping in a nutty, onion-based brown gravy.

We finally get up to leave, but the sight of a group of boys and girls standing near what looks like a cluster of colourful mail boxes on a wall, makes us stop. As we watch, one of the girls opens one and squeals triumphantly. She reaches inside and takes out a shot glass. Having won a free alcohol shot, we watch her prance her way to the bar with her friends in tow. We also try our hand at this, and lady luck seems to be on our side, too. But we have already had our fill and wisely decide to skip the free alcohol shot. There’s always a next time at Hoppipola.

We cannot rate the experience as it was a preview.

Hoppipola All Day Bar & Bonhomie
At: 757 Ramee Guestline, MD Ali Quereshi Chowk, SV Road, Khar West
Service: Friendly
Food: Delicious
Ambiance: Cheerful
Call: 26487365

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