House of Curry II (Rosemount, MN)

Let’s get this out of the way right off the top: House of Curry is the best South Asian restaurant in the Twin Cities metro area; and it’s not even close. Now you may say that comparing a Sri Lankan restaurant to the Twin Cities’ Indian restaurants is misguided but you’d be wrong. Sri Lankan food is closer to South Indian food—especially of Kerala and southern Tamil Nadu—than either are to North Indian food of any kind. And Sri Lankan food is also closer to North Indian food than North Indian food is to the cuisines of the states of the North East. In South Asia political geography does not always map on to cultural connections. And though the food served at House of Curry is some distance from the Bengali flavours of my own home state, it still checks most of my boxes; when I eat it I feel at home. And this makes sense also because the food at House of Curry tastes like good home cooking. If you haven’t been, you should go. And if like us at the first of the two meals covered here, you haven’t been in a couple of years you should go soon. We are happy to drive 20 minutes to Rosemount to eat there and we’d happily drive further as well. So should you.  Continue reading

Hoppers, Again (London)

While in London last August, I ate a few very good South Asian meals. My lunch at Trishna was excellent and while I thought Dishoom was a bit overrated for what it is, it was quite good too. But the only place I ate at that I knew I was going to come back to for sure with the missus this spring was Hoppers (see here for my review of that first meal). This despite the fact that they don’t take reservations and have an ultra-kitschy interior. Indeed, the only thing I hadn’t liked about my first meal was that as I was dining alone I wasn’t able to try very much. Well, on this occasion we overate; but we were very happy indeed. Continue reading

Hoppers: Sri Lankan in Soho (London)

Hoppers (London)
Well, most people say Hoppers is Sri Lankan but their own website says their food is “inspired by Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu”; and in reality it appears that the food is a hybrid of Sinhalese, Tamil and Malayali cuisines. Operated by the same people who own Trishna (and the more expensive still Gymkhana), Hoppers is a tiny restaurant with a tiny menu and it’s quite hard to get into: no reservations and the lines can apparently be quite long. You give your name and mobile number to the hostess and she calls you when your table is ready. However, I got there at 1.30 on a weekday and only had to wait about 10 minutes before being seated at the bar with other singletons and duos. And by the time I left, about an hour later, there were plenty of seats—the bar had cleared out and many tables were vacant as well. So the thing to do is to eat late; but you really should go whenever you can because the food is quite good and a pretty good value.  Continue reading

House of Curry (Rosemount)

House of Curry
If you’ve always wanted to eat at a Sri Lankan restaurant located between a lacrosse store and a H&R Block then Rosemount, a southern suburb of the Twin Cities, is the place you want to be. Lucky for you, House of Curry also serves very good food. And despite the name they’re anything but a standard curry house (and heaven knows, we have enough of those).

As those who’ve been following my weekly food reviews may recall, in September I launched a slow-motion survey of Indian/South Asian food in the greater Twin Cities metro area. Prior stops have included Bawarchi, Dosa King and Malabari Kitchen, and the experience has been variable. One of the sources of recommendations that I’ve used is the Minneapolis-St. Paul forum on Chowhound, which steered me both to Bawarchi (good) and to Dosa King (very, very not good). Thus I was not entirely sure about House of Curry even though it was recommended highly by everyone who mentioned it. However, its relative proximity (we live 20 minutes south) and its sudden raised profile (apparently MSP magazine has listed it among its best restaurants for 2014*) overcame our trepidation. And a good thing too. Continue reading