If you don’t know what a hopper is, then imagine a big, mixing bowl-shaped pancake.
Sometimes it will have an egg nesting in the middle, the yolk ready to be broken up and providing a convenient dip for the rest of the pancake, while others come to the table plain.
Either way, it’s a textural marvel: a mix of crispy edges towards the top and a soft, spongy, crumpet-like consistency at the bottom.
They’re perfect for dipping into curries, chutneys and sambols – all of which come as part of the recently launched brunch set menu at the aptly-named Hoppers.
While it’s only available at the St Christopher’s Place branch, it does mean you can book and avoid the infamously long waits at the original Soho location.
Aside from the fact you can book, the Sunday brunch also presents one of the best-value ways to eat at Hoppers.
Let’s be clear from the start: you get a lot of food with this set menu (£26pp).
If there are two of you sharing then you can easily order the entire brunch menu, selecting every option and getting a wide range of dishes.
This ranges from small plates, like the green peppercorn squid and sambhar vadai to the excellent devilled chicken sausage.
The hoppers form the headline act and possibly the toughest choice you’ll have to make. Do you go plain, cheese or egg hopper?
Or do you just impertinently skip the hopper completely and go for its crispier cousin, the dosa? To that I ask, why not both?
They all go great with the mutton curry and the omelette curry, two of the most satisfying and outright delicious curries you’re likely to find in London.
The latter is only available at brunch and almost single-handedly makes the entire visit worthwhile.
The rest of the menu also features choices that are only available at brunch, such as the bacon, mushroom and cheese kothu roti – a Sri Lankan street food dish consisting of chopped (kothu) bread (roti) mixed with vegetables and spices.
The bread gets a texture more like that of wide rice noodles and soaks up everything else on the grill. It’s slightly greasy and feels potentially heavy for brunch, but it’s remarkably satisfying.
The vegetarian version is a touch under-seasoned when we try it and misses the necessary hit of salt that the bacon provides.
In fact, the heaviness of the menu, particularly in this volume, could put off those who are more used to scrambled egg-whites and avocado toast. I say give the Hoppers brunch a chance because of its glut of great food – brunch is meant to be a big, noteworthy meal, possibly your only meal on a Sunday.
And anyway, the Sri Lankans eat hoppers and curries for breakfast and lunch respectively, and that’s something we should all embrace.
Hoppers, St Christopher’s Place, 77 Wigmore Street, Marylebone, London W1U 1QE; hopperslondon.com; 0203 319 8110
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