When Ruvanie De Zoysa was growing up in New Zealand, her mum often made dinner for the Sri Lankan cricket team. The cricketers would drop by and eat her hoppers when in town. They were regular guests because De Zoysa's father was the consul general for Sri Lanka.
Now, De Zoysa serves the dish at her own restaurant, but they're not like what her mother made. At Hopper Kade, Darlinghurst, the Sri Lankan bowl-shaped crepes are cooked with a not-so-traditional sourdough batter.
This gluten-free creation isn't the only reworking of the cuisine the restaurateur grew up with. There's a Lankan jaffle, available with curried pork or chicken, which flashes back to the buttered slices pressed with meat and pol sambol (a coconut chilli condiment) that she enjoyed as a school kid. There's also pulled pork curry, chia-infused mango lassi and maybe one day she'll reprise the Nana-tella (Nutella and banana hopper) that Hopper Kade sold at the Orange Grove Markets.
The permanent site on Crown Street follows on from the original market-stall eatery and the pop-up at the Tramsheds in Glebe, where De Zoysa's team had a surprisingly successful opening.
"We sold out of a weekend's worth of food in three hours flat!" she says.
The new space, which she runs with partner Chris Goffin, features head chef Diago Fernandez in the kitchen and evokes the feeling of a Sri Lankan street-side "kade'' (shop) – thanks to oversized Sinhala script on one wall.
Open Tue-Wed 8am-3pm, Thu-Sat 8am-3pm, 5pm-10pm, Sun 8am-3pm.
Hopper Kade, 253 Crown Street, Darlinghurst, 0404 506 223, hopperkade.com.au