Hoppipola – The Spring

For someone who loves a good pub environment, I’ve always been game for an evening at a watering hole. Though the advantage of being the only non-drinker in the gang does help at times (read as: when traffic cops stop us), for the rest of the gang, it’s a huge con as I’m the one who ends up finishing the sides. That said, the aura of a pub is something a restaurant can never give and that’s the reason I was more than happy when my foodie friends and I were invited for a reviewers meet at Hoppipola.

Owing to the rule of a pub being attached to a hotel, Hoppipola is situated inside Spring Hotel. For those who may not know, the land belongs to the one and only Thalaivar Superstar. So that’s more than enough reason for me to be there. Spring hotel is located between Kumarakom and Palmgrove. Valet parking service is available and as it was raining, the guys were well prepared with umbrellas. Hoppipola is at the basement which is accessed through a staircase that’s manned by bouncers.

The ambience and décor of Hoppipola is sure to bring a smile to that inner kid of everyone. The path down the staircase is filled with showcases of trophies that will be handed out to the winners of various contests that happen on a weekly basis here. Right at the end of that staircase is a life sized Jenga with humongous blocks, an actual beer pong table and a spherical shelf with an array of board games. That side of the wall is mounted with tape recorders and smashed records. The white theme with blue cushions brings a calm and serene atmosphere to the place. The bar counter is simple with the usual chillers stacked up with soft drinks and beers. A lighted glass shelf showcases the other drinks instore. Different shaped glasses are neatly stacked below a black board that spells ‘The bartender – A man who understands you better than your wife’. I’m sure those who come here to drink won’t disagree to that statement.

Service is really good, something that’s generally not the case when it comes to pubs. Though the place is new, the staff members were knowledgeable and the manager was very friendly. At the bar counter, they have a series of bar games and those who aren’t winning get shots in veggies such as cucumber. So they were doing a number of things to keep us engaged and to keep the rhythm in motion. Another commendable thing is their collection of crockeries and glasses. They have a really good collection and the dishes are served in differently shaped plates, which is uber cool. We tried a couple of drinks, starters, mains and desserts. I’ll leave it to my friends to explain about the different alcoholic drinks an I’ll stick to the mocktails. Given below is the list of dishes we tried and how they fared.

MOCKTAILS:

*Ginger twist: Not a fan of ginger in my drinks and this one had a strong ginger flavour. I didn’t try it but my friend loved it.

*Nutty fruity: True to its name, this drink was fruity in taste with that smoky flavour of the nut too.

*CNC: Cumin and Cucumber, sounds like a bad combination but tastewise, it was really refreshing and yummy.

*Orange passion Frappe: This drink was excellent. Not only did it look visually stupendous, it also tasted equally good.

*Minty cream: This drink, given in a cocktail glass, was pretty decent.

*Water melon & Basil Crush: What I ordered and obviously, what I ended up liking. This basic drink that’s easy to make yet a stunner when it comes to taste was perfectly made here and served in a mason jar with a watermelon wedge.

STARTERS AND MAINS:

*Totopos: This decent snack was served in a beautiful holder that had the tortilla chips with salsa and sour cream on sides.

*Paneer patty Bhurji on Taoist: This dish containing paneer patties on a garlic toast with mint mayo was served on a wooden board. The veggies loved it and we couldn’t resist either.

*Masumfali: The classic masala peanuts with crisps, a must have in any Indian watering hole. Obviously it was emptied in no time.

*The Harissian: This dish was really spicy and I guess it’s for the one who drink to have on the sides to give that extra kick. Nevertheless, I loved it.

*Fishful thinking: This milder version of a fish dish wasn’t up the mark as it felt more like frozen fish fingers rather than freshly made ones.

*Aila Aioli: Grilled chicken with Aioli, it’s a match made in heaven. Loved it.

*The Wing man’s chicken: The spiciest dish of the day I guess. A dish worthy of a contest by itself. Too spicy to even comment on the other flavours.

*Jah Mans chicken: This breaded chicken dish tasted a bit too bland but went pretty well with the accompanying dip.

*Wassa Tokyo: Subtle in taste with the mild flavour of the usually pungent wasabit, this prawn dish was excellent.

*Chiselled prawn: This lovely dish had an amazing taste, thanks to the aglio alio (garlic and oil) infusion. Completed a major chunk all by myself and not regretting it.

*Lambada: Lamb patties on pita bread with Tzatziki. The patties were succulent and juicy but a bit more seasoning would’ve made it tastier.

*Smoking Carlos: Jalapenos and corn made into the aptly named cigar shape, this dish was spectacular along with the accompanying Salsa dip.

*El classico: This Spanish must have bar food, also known as Patatas Bravas is a potato based dish made from Aioli and Brava sauce. This is one dish I don’t even remember if I saw or not. All I know is, it’s on my wish list for my next visit.

*Mojos: Spiced potato wedges with mayonnaise. Yet another classic that’s hard to mess.

*Cheesy Fries: Exactly does what it says in the name. A simple dish with a not so liberal cheese topping.

*OMG: Cheese filled crisp fried button mushrooms. Perfectly made and loved by all who tasted it.

*Cheesienos: This medley of soft cheese and jalapenos is definitely a crackling dish that a tongue will fall in love with.

*Humming bread: Hummus with pita crisps. Personally, I’m not a fan of pita crisps but loves soft pita bread with a nice serving of hummus but that didn’t stop me from trying this dish. It was pretty good.

*Lambretta, Jerking around, Pepperoni Pizza, Cheeseie Pizzness, Margarita, All 4 one: All these are pizzas with different toppings, ranging from plain cheese, 4 cheese, chicken with aioli and grounded lamb with feta cheese. Those the toppings were perfect; the thin crust was pretty bad. If it wasn’t for the cheese on top, these dishes won’t pass for the word pizzas. The Pizzas are something they have to rework on completely IMHO.

*Her Majesty’s favourite: Tender roast chicken with mash potato and gravy is a classic in its own rights. Though it wasn’t nailed here, it was really a hearty dish.

*His highness favourite: The same as above, just that the chicken is replaced with pork sausages. Pork sausages are just making its mark in Chennai and I must say that the sausages served here are really good.

*The immigrants favourite: Baked macaroni and cheese, we are never bored of classics, are we? Pretty decent in taste.

DESSERTS:

*Rum Pum Pum: Banoffee pie infused with rum. Presented in a cast iron pan, this dripping piece of pie was excellent. We licked it clean.

*Molten mouth: This super-hot dish, straight from the oven, was a chocolate fondant with baileys ice cream as a side. It’s easily one of the best hot chocolate desserts I’ve tried and a welcoming change to the boring sizzling brownie. It was delicious.

Overall, it was an excellent meet and it was a pleasure to meet a couple of famous foodies from the city. So the company was as great as the food and drinks served. It’s no doubt that Hoppipola is one of those very few places that serves good food and not just concentrates on the drinks alone. The music and lighting sets the mood perfectly and the ambience will definitely make one, along with their gang, have a whale of a time. Throw in their lip smacking food and impeccable service, this place is a perfect spot for a nice time with friends.

RATINGS BREAK UP:
Location:- 4.5/5
Parking:- 5/5
Reception:- 3.5/5
Food:- 4/5
Customer Service:- 4.5/5
Ambience:- 4/5

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