Happy n Hoppin’ at Hoppipola

In early August, a new spot raised it curtains on 100 Feet Road. Not that unusual an occurrence on a stretch that boasts quite the line up of dining and drinking options. But what sets this place apart, aside from the fact that its made a name for itself in a few short weeks, is that unlike most of the other places in Indiranagar, its light on the wallet and going for a fun and easy vibe, with no airs and plenty of happiness. Hoppipola – All Day Bar & Bonhomie, is so aptly named, I can’t better the description! Hoppipola, by the way, is a real word, not made up – its Icelandic for jumping in puddles. The decor is Mediterranean meets funk, cool whites and blues, with white pebbles strewn around on the floor, in the outdoor part, while the indoors has a bar against one side, a multicolored glass panel, and a section with comic books and board games for your entertainment. Beer games, including Chugathon competitions for guys and gals, where the quickest get their names up on the bulletin board in the lobby as well as vie for actual trophies, make for quite the entertainment.

Doodle-time
Doodle-time

We were there on a Saturday evening (place was already packed and noisy by 6pm!) and the music was a tad deafening, which only served to remind me that I’m getting old, ’cause none of the young crowd seemed to have any problems! We seated ourselves inside, and soon got a-scribbling on our table, No, you didn’t misread that, we actually were doodling away ON the top. Each table serves as a blackboard, and a cute box of colored chalk and even a mini eraser await your pleasure. The menu is heavy on finger foods, as yet there are no desserts, and the mains section has been kept simple, with burgers, pastas and pizzas. The long alcohol section made my jaw drop – the range is extensive, and the cocktails have a starting price of INR 150! Sure, you can get a margarita for INR 325, and there are numerous wines (including bubbly) available as well. I saw the Kaffir-Lime and Lychees Mojito (150) and just had to try it; balanced flavors and a decent amount of alcohol made this a winner. My friend tried the Watermelon and Basil which was not as good. For our second round, she ordered the Spiced Pomegranate Vodkatini (165) and I, having seen the word guava, unhesitatingly asked for the Guava Balsamic Mary (150), though the Tamarind Ginger one was appealing too.

Captain Haddock
Captain Haddock

To keep us company as we drank, we ordered the Peanutty Wings (175), a delectable combination of spicy peanut and caramel BBQ flavors, that had us reaching for more. I will be trying the Rasta Chicken (150) and Beer Batter Shrimps (195) on my next visit – they sounded rather delicious, and the latter had a rather saucy description (battered by waves of beer on the frothy cape of good ale). For our mains, we ordered a pasta and a pizza to share. Captain Haddock, a carbonara pizza with chicken bacon (220), was nothing to write home about; thin crust, mildly flavored. Our pasta, on the other hand, was pure genius! There were 3 sauces on offer, and we went with the Pesto Rum (185), choosing spaghetti and adding chicken (30). Between us, we pretty much licked the bowl clean on this one. Dessert would have been the perfect ending, but since that’s still a work in progress, we contented ourselves with a special mixed shot, served in a test tube. This happened to be our second shot of the day, since we both won ourselves a free one, after opening the right doors (they have a cool and colorful wall of 72 mini doors outside, and behind most doors is a little treat, or an empty shot glass that you exchange at the bar for a full glass of whatever the bartender whips you up). We left just as the Chugathon was reaching its pinnacle, quite happy with our new find and vowing to return soon. For the young set this is definitely a place to go; if, like me, you want to be part of the fun without being in the thick of things, I suggest heading to Hoppipola in the early evening.

Natasha Ali

Natasha's first foray into food writing has been with Chef at Large. Who knew all those years spent eating food, reading about it and looking for the next restaurant to try or watching cooking shows would have left such an indelible impression?! She's back in India after having spent over a decade in the US where she studied as well as taught in academia and now works as a content writer seeing as she can write about pretty much anything. Movie mad, obsessed with the English language, and never one to turn down a glass of good wine, cup of tea, or a good book, she's open to trying any dish once, she enjoys a variety of cuisines with favorites being Ethiopian, Thai, and Lebanese. Natasha covers Bangalore for Chef at Large and can be reached at natasha.ali@www.chefatlarge.in