All fluff and good flavours from Sri Lanka at this tiny eatery in Bandra
A tiny eatery in Bandra scores big on its authentic flavour profiles from neighbouring Sri Lanka
It's a quick-fix lunch, and we've walked into a Sri Lankan pocket in the by lanes off Bandra's Turner Road. We've had our fill of kottu roti at Upali's in Colombo, and the rotis minced with meat and spices was a meal to remember, along with string and plain hoppers. We are happy to find the latter on a crisp menu that doesn't confuse us.
Having a small Sri Lankan food joint in Bandra is a unique idea, we feel, and the discerning Mumbai foodie's taste buds are curious enough to wait the wait for a table at the 15-seater Hoppumm.
The space is done up in green banana leaf wallpaper and cane-wooden furniture, making for a soothing grove in the heart of the hip suburb. We order prawn moilee (Rs 300) and mushroom Ceylon roast (Rs 250) with hoppums. The food takes a few extra few minutes more than our hungry stomachs can take, but it is worth the wait. The no-frills interiors, and the single page menu is something that we haven't spotted at an eatery in a long, long time.
The prawn moilee is a thick-set silken coconut curry; its taste makes for a pleasant memory we can hark back to later. The hoppums are fluffy, and soak the flavours of the curries they serve as bowls for. The food is served in eco-friendly leaf plates too, winning extra points from our end. Our seafood loving palate takes an immediate fondness for this preparation, and we order a second round. In fact, at the end of round 2, we are willing to claim that it is easily one of the most delicious prawn dishes we've tasted in a long time.
The lemon sharbat (Rs 100) is not cold enough, but the sweet-and-salty lemonade clears our palate as we swap between moilee and the Ceylon curry. The mushroom roast, on the other hand, has a semi-dry treatment of red paste with special Sri Lankan curry powder toasted in ghee. The red chillies combined with coriander, cumin and garlic are predominately used in Ceylon gravy, and the dish is elevated by the use of pandan leaves. The cuisine stands out for its use of cinnamon sticks. All dishes are served with spicy relishes called onion sambol.
The taste is familiar yet distinct. We order a round of multi-grain hoppum that has a coarser texture but retains the fluff, and is a great option for weight watchers. In fact, we notice that there's enough to please the vegetarian foodie here; our companion nods in total agreement.
Sated, but not stuffed as yet, we are tempted to try the vathalappam (Rs 175). It's a divine jugalbandi of coconut and jaggery made into a creamy custard pudding that makes our culinary visit to the isle nation end on a sweet note.
There's a customer chatting with co-owner Lakshit Shetty, as she waits for her parcel. "Don't open in a larger space, this is awesome," she remarks. To which he nods and replies, "For now, we are enjoying this." So are we.
AT: Hoppumm, Rafi Mansion, Shop No 8, 28th Road, Bandra West.
TIME: 11.30 am to 3.30 pm; 7.30 pm to 11.30 pm
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