Kothu, which literally translates to ‘chop’, is a street food speciality found on the roadsides in Sri Lanka. It is made using roti (which reminded me of paratha), vegetables, eggs, meat, and spices. Kothu Kothu (“chop chop”) have brought this concept over to London, and are now serving up their own take of the Sri Lankan specialty.
As you stand in the long queue, you can watch them work their magic as you dither between choosing the mutton, chicken, or vegetable kothus. They’ll throw on a bunch of chopped vegetables, roti, and eggs onto the flat grill, and with two sharp knives, proceed to chop it up. Your choice of curry (mutton, chicken, or veg) will then be thrown into the mixture, along with their house sauce, and chopped up even more until its all incorporated together.
They’ll scoop a generous amount into a little brown box for £6, and you can help yourself to yoghurt, chilli flakes, and limes, before you take a seat with your fresh, piping hot lunch. Trust me, everyone will be looking at you with envious eyes!
I had opted for the chicken kothu this time round, and was in love with how colourful it was. This simple meal was really, really good, and at £6 a pop, I was surprised at how filling and hearty the kothu was. The chicken was soft and tender, and the additional items like the egg, roti, and vegetables, had absorbed the flavour as well. Perhaps they could have done with a little more spice, but the heat was not overbearing and easily could have been increased with the chilli flakes.
Kothu Kothu is definitely something different. It’s an affordable and substantial lunchtime option – I could only manage half the box before admitting defeat – and I cannot wait to return to try both the mutton and vegetarian kothus.
Where to find them? You can find them rotating at KERB, a street food market that operates every Thursday and Friday at Kings Cross, West Quay, and the Gherkin, and on Wednesdays in Paddington. They’re also at Camden all week.