What's the draw?
It would be much easier to ask what isn't the draw here, really. Back in pre-Covid times, you'd be lucky if you could get a table at Hoppers, such was the popularity of their modern Sri Lankan food served in seductively low-lit surroundings first in Soho, and then at their Marylebone and Kings Cross sites. Now, you can cook up their signature mix of kothus, roasted meats and karis (deliciously thick curries) along with their smaller 'bites' from the comfort of your own home. They'll even pop in a bottle of their signature floral cocktails in the form of their white ruby punch, a fragrant mix of jasmine, white port, white tea and Ceylon arrak (coconut liquor), should your heart desire.
How it works
Everything comes in easy to navigate (and reusable) containers with an excellent contents list and cooking instructions in idiot-proof sections for each dish. We went for the ultimate meal kit, which is a feast worthy of sharing with your most favourite friends, but does require a bit of prior planning and time keeping. Take a quick squiz at the instructions a few hours before you want to eat and just work out what you want to do first, that's all that's needed. Everything else is done for you and it couldn't be simpler to see at a glance what’s required.
First, the kalupol chicken (a perfectly spiced pre-marinated whole bird) goes into the oven, then you sit back, have a glass of Ruby Punch and wait half an hour before needing to do anything else at all. Next, while the chicken is still cooking, it's prep for the bone marrow varuval. We'd never cooked bone marrow before but this couldn't be easier (or more worthwhile, the thick rich gravy sauce really is something else). The lamb kothu – delicate, tender lamb curry cooked with chopped roti and vegetables - is incredibly simple to put together and before you know it you're serving up three hearty main dishes with crispy mutton rolls and rotis on the side. Not to mention the carrot sambol and chilli sauce to heap on top should you wish. It says it serves four but really, you'll have leftovers, which is ideal as that lamb kothu really is something you'll want to come back to… Oh and did we mention there's pudding? Chocolate layered mouse with sponge and spices. Just in case you're still hungry (spoiler: you definitely will not be). If you're after something more seasonal, Hoppers has just launched a grill-at-home box, too, with sea bream wrapped in banana leaves, and Jaffna lamb chops – and we can tell you it sure beats burnt bangers on the barbecue.