If you think ‘Hoppipola’ doesn’t sound like a word that you would find in the Oxford Dictionary, you’re right. In Iceland, it means jumping in puddles (a quick Google search threw up a very nice track by Sigur Rós you can enjoy here), but the young and restless of Bangalore will soon know it as one of the prettiest, quirkiest place to enjoy a drink in Indiranagar.
This place is spanking new – it’s only been a week since it first opened doors as I write this. But it’s one of those places my partner-in-crime and I instantly fell in love with the minute we stepped in on a windy Saturday afternoon. We couldn’t help ourselves – it was like walking into the garden of one of our favourite fairytale princesses – if she grew up, moved out of the castle, into a cool beach-side villa in the Mediterranean and developed a taste for serious funk, that is.
The bar is divided into two – an indoor space and al fresco area. We settled into one of the tables outside, surrounded by tiny pots of flowers, white furniture punctuated with cool blue accents, little sections with pebbled floors and several touches of whimsy: a toadstool, tyres sawed in half, splashed with bright paint and hung from pretty chains, and a wall dominated by 72 tiny, ornate doors (more on that later).
Sometimes, a restaurant can focus too much on the décor, and not give the menu the attention it deserves, but a quick glance at the pages attached to the smurf-blue clipboards in front of us assured us it wasn’t the case here. Hoppipola is from Speciality Restaurants, the group behind Mainland China and Oh! Calcutta, and they’re definitely thinking out of the box with their latest venture.
The bar menu features all the usual suspects, but more than a few inspired choices. Ever had an Apple & Curry Leaf Mojito, or a Tamarind Ginger Bloody Mary? Or even Brandy Toddy? Well, you can get them all here – oh, and guess what? They’re all deliciously easy on the pocket, with most cocktails being around the 150-200 mark. No kidding!
We decided to start off our afternoon with a Kaffir-Lime and Lychee Mojito and Spiced Pomegranate Vodkatini. The mojito was a revelation: the two dominant ingredients were perfectly balanced and in harmony with the alcohol. A super refreshing cocktail we’re both definitely going back for! The Spiced Pomegranate is a well-made drink, but didn’t do much for me. P loved it though, and it’s going to find favour with those like her who don’t like their drinks too sweet.
The food menu is equally experimental, borrowing spices from all over the world: Jamaica, Asia, the Med and American. A great touch is the inclusion of one-liners that precede the more traditional descriptions of the dishes. We started with The Harissian (a waltz the Tunisians dance while waiting for the fish to marinate) chunks of firm, perfectly grilled fish coated in the traditional North-African sauce.
Next up was The Mexican, described as crisp ‘empanadas’ with a bit of an identity crisis – they looked more like wontons to us! But we absolutely had no complaints when it came to how they tasted. The crisp little parcels contained an indulgent stuffing of gooey cheese, corn and jalapenos, speckled with chilli flakes. Great finger food for sure.
My next drink had arrived by now, a lovely Guava Balsamic Mary. I loved the fact I could smell the balsamic before every sip I took. This is a gamble that paid off.
Our last appetiser, Peanutty Wings, was another hit. The plate that arrived was piled high with sweet, sticky Buffalo wings with a spicy peanut rub. It’s a great Asian-inspired interpretation of an American classic and a dish that stays with you.
Hoppipola has a few main course options as well. Burgers, pizzas and a section called ‘The Drinking Man’s Food’, a range of pastas with alcohol-based sauces. The Pesto Rum looked interesting, but we decided to save it for another day. Instead, we chose Captain Haddock’s, a carbonara pizza with chicken bacon. No mention of blistering barnacles, though. Oh well. The thin-crust pizza could be considered a little too bland by some, but the cheese and egg yolk came alive when we added splashes of the wonderful garlic-infused olive oil to it.
It had been a lovely afternoon and we were on our way out when we decided to open two of those secret doors that had caught our attention. Each revealed a tiny glass. Before we knew what was happening, we were ushered indoors and presented with electric blue shots in test tubes. Turns out, these doors are called ‘The Doors To Happiness’, with something special hidden behind each. You can win shots, badges, and even candy.
A wonderfully creative inclusion by the designers of the space, Smriti and Keith, and that’s not all. Hoppipola has indoor games, comic books and even beer games. And the tables indoors double up as blackboards if an attack of the doodles sneaks up on you!
Will Hoppipola be a success? It certainly has a lot going for it – and we’ll sure be watching!
Address: 2nd Floor, 4032, 100 ft Road, Indiranagar (above Mainland China)
Ph. No: 93795-44303