Hopper Joint: A Greville Street Gem Celebrating Sri Lankan Culture

Drink, Eat, Melbourne, Restaurants / 2 April 2024

Hopper Joint lights up Greville Street, offering a unique dining experience that mirrors the warmth of Sri Lankan hospitality.

This venture, by the visionary restaurateur Jason M Jones and designer Brahman Perera of hospitality group Caboodle & Co, transforms every evening into a hopper party. Here, the essence of Perera’s childhood memories takes centre stage. In a touching nod to these roots, his mother occasionally graces the floor, welcoming guests with the traditional bindi. They’ve refined the art of crafting hoppers to perfection, with a mix of meat and meat-free curries ensuring a welcoming table for all with a selection of vegan and gluten-free options.

EAT: Sri Lankan Street Food

Central to Hopper Joint’s appeal is its homage to the traditional Sri Lankan hopper – a delicate, bowl-shaped pancake made from ground rice and coconut milk. ‘Short Eats’ or appetisers include some truly fun bites such as their Roadside Pineapple or Pan Roll, their answer to the classic Aussie’Chiko Roll. Under the culinary direction of Chef Ronith Victor Arlikatti, these traditional recipes receive a contemporary touch, blending seamlessly with the diverse tastes of the local dining landscape. The result is a menu that resonates with authenticity, offering a taste of Sri Lanka’s rich tradition in every bite, ensuring that everyone, regardless of dietary preferences, can join in the celebration.

DRINK: Spirits Infused with Island Flavours

At Hopper Joint, the beverage menu, carefully selected by Venue Manager Zachary Riggs, perfectly pairs with the vibrant flavours of the food. Offering everything from a broad selection of gin and tonics and arracks to innovative cocktails like a clarified mango lassi and a coconut slushie, the menu extends to include an exquisite wooden box selection of Dilmah teas. Infused with the island’s rich fruits and spices, these drinks take guests on a refreshing exploration of Sri Lanka’s lush environments, adding a spirited zest to the adventure at this bustling eatery.

PLAY: Eat with Your Hands

Hopper Joint champions the tactile pleasure of eating with one’s hands, a practice steeped in Sri Lankan culture that brings diners closer to the essence of the meal. This shared joy is encouraged through communal washbasins and helpful guides, making the dining experience delightfully interactive. The playful inclusion of an antique brass bell at each table adds a layer of fun, with a gentle reminder that a mistaken ring contributes to a good cause, reflecting the venue’s commitment to community spirit and shared laughter.

Hopper Joint stands as a vibrant tribute to the stories, flavours, and communal bonds of Sri Lanka. Positioned on Greville Street, it offers a glimpse into the rich traditions and joyful gatherings that define Sri Lankan culture.