Hop and Spice
This place is called Hop and Spice for a reason, and the smell that greets you when you arrive makes you want to never leave!
Food: Cutlet, Patty and Pan Roll; Curry Special; Kattu Roti;
Value: 5/5 (can I give it a 6/5?)
Although it’s been around about 7 years, Hop and Spice is undergoing a bit of a revamp, as after a long career heading up other people’s venue’s the chef/owner is now taking the helm at his own establishment. They are focused on giving as many people as possible the chance to try the food they grew up eating – and with mains starting from $10 you’d be hard pressed to find a reason not to take them up on their offer! It’s a little nondescript from the outside, however, inside it offers a comfortable casual dining experience, popular with a wide mix of diners. There’s lots of nice details to the decor, and we loved the thatched roof on the service area.
We were led entirely by the staff’s recommendations – as we’re pretty sure it’s the first time we’ve tried Sri Lankan food – sampling a range of entrees, the Kottu Roti, their curry special and some Sri Lankan dessert. Portions are so generous we had plenty to take home and feed us both for dinner too – not bad for $10 and $12 for the mains!
While affordability is definitely a key draw card at Hop and Spice, it shouldn’t be confused with low quality. For Sri Lankan newbies like us, I’d describe the flavours as a combination of Thai and Indian, and every dish we tried had it’s own unique spice blend and flavour.
For appetisers we tried the cutlet, patty and pan roll. My favourite was the cutlet which was a little like a fish cake and had a very slow burn spicy flavour to it, that allowed the fish flavour to shine first. The pan roll is quite unique and is definitely one to try, while the patty gives you a milder option.
The curry special comes with so much choice, you won’t know where to start. We loved the different flavours of all the curries, as well as how they highlight the vegetarian options; they show off the different veggies really well. I eat a lot of kale, but I loved how they’d blended it here and liked their inclusion of okra. Neither would have been go to ingredients for me in a dish like this, so it was great to see how and they could be used.
The curries were spicy, but nothing blew out our taste buds and you could still enjoy mixing up the dishes without worrying you wouldn’t be able taste anything. The beef in our curry was very tender – and there was lots of it – and we were both really satisfied after this.
All I can say, is thank god for take away boxes. I enjoyed this Kattu Roti so much – made with chopped up roti bread, the flavour almost had a smoky consistency and while difficult to pin down, was very very moreish! I loved how it had been stir fried, resulting in a wonderfully light dish and an ideal change from our curries.
Finally we sampled a couple of Sri Lankan desserts (also in take away boxes). The first, a more traditional cake tasted like Parkin cake with a syrupy, treacle flavour – it was another surprise and we enjoyed it. The second dessert was more of a chocolatey, biscuit flavour – this one was richer but neither had that very sweet sugary flavour that I thought they might, and I could certainly eat a lot more of these than I could Indian sweets.
On a final note, we tried the Falooda – which I can best describe as a Turkish Delight milkshake – and we loved it. It perfectly complemented our afternoon of new flavours and exciting dishes. Every single thing we ate brought something new. It kind of made me embarrassed by how boring English food can be, and eager to try more Sri Lankan cuisine in the future!
Address: 284 Ballarat Road, Braybrook
Mon 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Tue 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Wed 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Thu 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Fri 11:30 AM – 10 PM
Sat 11:30 AM – 10 PM
Sun 11:30 AM – 10 PM
Parking: We had no trouble finding parking on one of the nearby side streets.
Getting here on PT: Depending on where you’re coming from it’s probably one that’s best visited by car, although the 410, 215 and 220 bus routes stop pretty much in front of the establishment on Ballarat Road.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Hop and Spice, Braybrook. Reviews are honest and based on our own personal experiences. We cannot guarantee things at a restaurant won’t change including, but not limited to, menu items and opening hours, so please confirm any details with the venue before visiting.