Did you know that ‘Hoppippola’ in Icelandic means ‘hoping over puddles’? While one of Mumbai’s favourite night spots with almost the same name, Hoppipola, is thankfully free of puddles (although we had to hop over quite a few to get to it), it’s filled with other fun activities, exciting drinks and great food. Tucked away like a jewel opposite Lower Parel’s Kamala Mills, Hoppipola has a faintly Mediterranean theme, with white washed walls, white furniture and upholstered blue chairs.
Pops of colour are added with a spherical yellow bookshelf, packed with a range of genres of books and model airplanes hanging from the ceiling.
In one corner, a group of girls play jenga with a pre constructed jenga tower. As we walk in, the tower gives way and they collapse, giggling into each other.
Play By The Rules
The menu at Hoppipola is similarly upbeat, with the first page carrying ‘rules’ saying “lead a train with all the guests in tow and get a free drink” and “No alcohol for you unless you’re above 18. Age, not inches.”
Luckily for us, we qualified for the age requirement (and the inches too, had that been necessary), so we dove into their quirky drinks menu which was garnished with ‘Tippler’s Believe It Or Not’ facts that tell us more about the history of various alcohols than we could ever hope to know. As we were seated at the busy bar, we asked the bartender what he would recommend.
Walking Through Tippler’s Town
Taking his suggestions, we begin with a Kaffir-Lime and Lychee Mojito, which is a delicious, interestingly textured combination with shreds of lychee and a Wild Berry Vodkatini, which is a vodka infused tangy spin off from the original ‘James Bond’ martini. We then moved on to the refreshing Watermelon Mojito with a dash of basil and a Tamarind Ginger Bloody Mary. Somewhere along the way we realised we were getting pretty buzzed, and decided that it would be wise to call for some food.
Say ‘Yah’ To Jah Man’s Chicken
Like the drinks menu, the food menu is packed with witty jokes that tickled our funny bones as we ordered. We went for the Aila Aoli, (‘A cricketer’s favourite that’s led to this dish getting its name’), and the Jah Man’s Chicken (‘Nyman dis fowl wid me bredda, mi promise yuh will roll pon di floor). We loved the Ailo chicken which was moist, tender and generously spread with creamy spiced aioli, but the winner was the Jah Man’s Chicken; the chicken on was crisp and served with a tangy, delicious green chutney.
Eating Like Royalty
After our starters, we decided to pick up our drinks and head out to the lounge’s outdoor dining area. For our mains we ordered (no jokes) ‘His Highness’ Favourite’ and ‘The Subject’s Favourite.’ Contrary to what you’d believe, we preferred ‘the Subject’s Favourite’, which was a tasty, battered fish fry up served with a beautifully creamy tartare sauce. ‘His Highness’ Favourite’, one the other hand was a generous serving of fat pork sandwiches along with some soft mashed potatoes because the King apparently “never liked looking at a giant round table filled with food”. He’d much rather eat in front of the TV with the Queen.
Before we descended on the dessert (we were packed to our stomachs’ rafters), we ordered two brain damage shots; a delicious combination of peach syrup, vodka and decadent Bailey’s liqueur. We then asked for the ‘Rum Pum Pum’, a rich banofi pie soaked in rum that managed to remain light and airy; the perfect end to an indulgent meal.
At a little after eleven, we weaved out of the restaurant, slightly stunned by the fact that it was still catering to a fairly large crowd of what seemed to be corporate office goers who had rolled up their shirt sleeves and loosened their ties and were playing jenga, dancing, or poring over the book selection. That’s the charm of Hoppipola, we reminded ourselves. Situated in one of Mumbai’s largest industrial estates, it provides a relaxed, fun place to shake off a long day’s work and let loose. We understand the charm and see ourselves returning in the near future.