After hopping around the city with regular pop ups at flea markets and events, Hoppumm has finally settled into a permanent space, and into a growing Bandra trend – the micro-restaurant. Like other recent openings, Izumi, and El Mercado, Hoppumm can seat less than 20 people indoors and outdoors. Pair this with the popularity they've racked up at festivals, and the wait for a table is inevitable – as it was for us at late lunchtime on their first day of business.
The eatery, run by chef Lakshit Shetty (who has previously sous cheffed six years at the ITC Group) and siblings Sahil and Jai Wadhwa, serves playful versions of Sri Lankan staples. There is wordplay in the name as well: the 'umm' comes from the appams of Kerela, and the 'hopp' from hoppers, the Anglicised name for appams in Sri Lanka. Pretty rattan chairs and a palm mural at the far wall complete the vibe.
Start with the cloud-centred, lace-edged, bowl-shaped crepes that give the place its name. Have them as the menu recommends, as combos. Choose between traditional plain, spinach, or multigrain (the differences in flavour are secondary, our multigrain had more crunch); pick a curry to be poured onto the waiting-to-be-soaked mound that forms the bottom of the crepe; and dig in, dipping occasionally into seeni sambol, a sweet onion relish, and the chutney of the month.
Our multigrain came spackled with a sunny side up, a veil of grated cheese, chopped chillies and podi. Bandra might have found its new favourite breakfast.
There are milky moilees, and there is Hoppumm's moilee. Half a dozen prawns are blanketed in a spicy-sweet coral-hued coconut cream sauce that's so lush it could be custard. It finds a worthy companion in the sweet-spicy alam neer, a ginger and masala spiked lemonade that first soothes then stings.
Both the paneer pepper fry and the Ceylon roasted chicken had us Googling “Chindian food in Sri Lankan cuisine”, because the sauces seemed like siblings of Manchurian and Szechwan. Indeed, Sri Lankan mutton rolls (also appetisers at Hoppumm), are famously similar in their construction to Chinese egg rolls.
Venture further into the menu on future visits, there is plenty – string hoppers (idiyappam), paratha, and a curry leaf and red chilli-flecked saucy chicken 65 that's begging to be mopped up with puffs of Hoppumm's tender, fluffy and fittingly neutral neer dosa.
We arm-twisted the brothers (they were helping with service that day, and said that their takeaway packaging wasn't ready yet) into letting us have a mutton kottu roti to go, and it was worth it. It came nestled between two of Hoppumm's sturdy disposable leaf bowls, secured with shrink wrap. At home, later that day, we were transported to Hotel de Plaza in Kollupitiya, dive-y purveyors of some of the tastiest kottu we've tasted. Strips of roti were laced through generous chunks of savoury, peppery meat – enough to make us hop right over to Bandra for more.
Getting there: Shop Number 8, Rafi Mansion, 28th Road, Bandra West. Call 099308 25268. A meal for two is approximately Rs 400. No alcohol served.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in NYC, lives in Mumbai and writes mostly about food and travel for many a publication. She’s a contributing editor at Vogue magazine, and her words have also been found in Conde Nast Traveller, Mint Lounge, Scroll.in, The Hindu, Saveur, The Guardian, and Travel + Leisure, among others. She's crazy about obscure ingredients, and she always knows where to go back for seconds. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @roshnibajaj.
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