Still dreaming of that cashew curry from your travels around Sri Lanka or the eggy hopper breakfasts from your honeymoon? We’ve rounded up London’s best Sri Lankan restaurants that bring a little slice of the paradise island across the pond.
From string hoppers and street food favourites to recipes passed down the generations, read on to find the best Sri Lankan kari in London.
A London staple in itself, Hoppers dishes up some of the best Sri Lankan cuisine across their three city sites, from Soho to Marylebone and King’s Cross.
Part of the JKS Restaurant group – known for big names like Gymkana, Bridadiers and BAO – Hoppers draws inspiration from the small Sri Lankan village toddy shops. Expect an array of flavour packed dishes, including everything from eggy hoppers and crisp dosas to authentic karis.
Fancy a taste of Hoppers at home? Back in lockdown they launched Cash & Kari, a one-stop corner shop for all things Sri Lankan and South Indian. Think moreish meal kits, spices to add to your rack and gifts for the foodies in your life.
From contemporary curries to breads and hoppers, Paradise adds their own spin on the classic dishes you’ll find all over Sri Lanka. The Soho restaurant, located on Rupert Street, takes inspiration from the bistros of Colombo and Galle, and the entanglement of jungle, beach and sea that the isle is known for.
Book yourself into one of their cosy tables or booths and prepare to tuck into dishes such as Northern style turmeric dahl with cinnamon, mustard seed and Culver Farm charred spiced corn; seared whey-brined Leicestershire paneer with chervil and coriander chutney; seared Scottish king scallops and Brixham lobster kiri-hodi curry with rambutan acharu, grains and curry oil; and hand-stretched and chopped brown crab kothu roti with chilli and cashew crumble.
Colombo Kitchen is a love letter to traditional, aromatic Sri Lankan cuisine and the recipes passed down the generations of Head Chef Sylvia Perera’s family. The menu is bursting full with small plates including spicy breaded fish and jackfruit cutlets; crispy curry puffs; vadai, a mix of spiced donut-shaped fritters with a creamy coconut sambal; or sharing platters for those who want a bit of everything.
Not forgetting a side or starter of hoppers too, from plain to eggy and coconut or live kottu, a spicy street food dish which mixes flat bread with a curry and veg of your choice, served with gravy.
For main, steer your attention to the likes of devilled prawns, a spicy king prawn stir-fry with chilli and spices; pepper pork stir-fried with peppers, onions and spices; ceylon chicken curry; and Sylvia’s fragrant aubergine moju in a rich coconut milk curry.
This little spot might be a little further afield than the rest of the inclusions but it’s well worth it to experience what it’s like inside a live hopper and kottu bar.
25 Central Road, Worcester Park, KT4 8EG
Bringing a slice of the sandy isles to London since opening in 2019, you can guarantee a palette explosion with every bite at Kolomba. Home to rustic, pared-back interiors, the Soho haunt sources the best, local and authentic ingredients you can find in Sri Lanka, importing directly from the island to ensure the flavour and taste is up to par.
Their menu is centred around sharing, filled with favourites from back home and recipes passed down from generation to generation. Grab a few dishes from each section – think paniyaram – crispy bites of fermented rice flour batter served with a duo of fresh chutneys; string hoppers; Kamala’s kalu pol pork, a traditional slow-cooked toasted coconut belly of pork with lemongrass and curry leaves; breadfruit curry, a lightly flavoured dish made with bread fruit (from the jackfruit family) cooked until tender in coconut milk; and spicy pol sambol (coconut that’s muddled with red chilli and onion).
21 Kingly Street, Soho, W1B 5QA
Known for being the oldest Sri Lankan restaurant in London, Jaffna House has been serving the Tooting community authentic bites since opening in 1991. Fast forward to now, and they still dish up the best flavours this side of the city.
Named after the province of Jaffna, the restaurant feels like you’re dining in a classic Sri Lankan home – expect truly authentic and traditional fare, from string hoppers and dosas to biryanis, breads and tandoori specials. On Fridays their 12-dish thalis take centre stage – you won’t want to miss them.
For a real street food experience, look to Karapincha, the street vendor known for bringing flavoursome food from the sandy isle to London, one dish at a time.
Karapincha’s story begins with two twin sisters who decided to leave their careers in finance behind to launch their own culinary dream. Born and raised on the island, as well as growing in a family that runs Colombo’s busiest vegetarian restaurant, they flew the nest to bring an authentic taste of paradise to London.
They now have two regular spots at Old Spitalfields Market and Mercato Metropolitano, serving up dishes such as chicken kothu roti with pineapple pirattal; string hoppers with prawn curry, sothi and pol sambol; and ceylon veechu paratha with lamb or chicken curry.
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Old Spitalfields Market & Mercato Metropolitano
Handily located just minutes from Victoria, Dammika’s brings the aromas, flavours and colours typically found in traditional Sri Lankan homes to lively London. The menu is wide and varied, featuring everything from mutton rolls and fish cutlets to hoppers, kothu and currys. So fresh it’s like they’ve been plucked straight from the kitchens of Galle.