JKS Restaurants — the group behind Gymkhana, Trishna, Motu and Hoppers and the backers of BAO, XU, Bubbledogs, Kitchen Table, Sabor and Lyle’s — are opening a second Hoppers site in St. Christopher’s Place, off Oxford Street, in September.
The original Hoppers on Soho’s Frith Street opened in October 2015, immediately gaining a cult, queue-willing following. Even mid-week, people can wait as long as two and a half hours for a table. The restaurant, according to an article on Bloomberg, does up to 300 covers a day, six days a week. But the new site will — to the relief of those less patient — take reservations.
The new site will be bigger. To be precise, it will be over double the size of the original. with 85 covers over two floors and 16 seats on an outside terrace. (The original has 40 seats.)
Rather than just imitate on a larger scale, the new site’s menu will be 30-to-40 percent new and, say the owners, will “focus on traditional Sri Lankan spicing and flavour to include short eats like Jaffna beef rib fry and tuna and tapioca cutlets with avocado sambol, as well as new larger sharing dishes of claypot baby chicken kukul maas, string hopper seafood kothu, Kalupol black pork ribs with fennel and turmeric sambol, and a daily changing lunchtime rice and kari (curry) plate. The signature hoppers, dosas, chutneys and sambols will remain in place too.
Cocktails will take inspiration from the indigenous flora, vegetation and fruits of Sri Lanka, with an emphasis on Genever (Gin’s antecedent) and the Sri Lankan spirit Arrack, which is distilled from coconut flowers.
The restaurant’s interiors will be designed by Article Design Studio, taking inspiration from Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa and his early works on “tropical monochromatic modernism” — a concept which aimed to break down the barrier between inside and outside space.
Of the opening, JKS’s Karam Sethi says, “Following the success of the first Hoppers in Soho back in 2015, an increase in travel to Sri Lanka and subsequently the popularity of the country’s food and culture in the capital, opening a second, larger Hoppers site seemed like a natural step. We’re thrilled to expose even more Londoners to the bold flavours of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu.”
In 2016 Hoppers received the BMW Square Meal Restaurant of the Year title and Restaurant of the Year Award at the Tatler Restaurant Awards. The restaurant ended last year with a Bib Gourmand. And, just a fortnight ago, the restaurant was named in 13th place in the National Restaurant Awards.
It is thought that this second site is the first stage of a roll-out plan for the restaurant.
Hoppers St. Christopher Place will be at 77 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 1QE.
Stay tuned for the announcement of more details, including reservation line opening, opening hours and date to be announced.