The Coconut Tree Launch Night

Sunday, 25 November 2018

hoppers at the coconut tree bristol
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One of Cheltenham's best-loved restaurants, The Coconut Tree, has finally opened its doors to the likes of Bristol with two site launches - Gloucester Road and the Clifton triangle. The Coconut Tree is the South East's answer to Ski Lankan street food. A quick google search and a few food blogs later, I prepared myself for lots of fish, curry and rice, and lots of smaller dishes you can pick and choose from. On Thursday myself and Chloe went over to their venue on Park Street to try it out.

the decor at the coconut tree bristol

the coconut tree traditional sri lankan mask

The venue was a vibrant mix of an urban and traditional style. The room was decorated with wooden benches, newspaper print ceilings, traditional Sri Lankan masks and totem pole style cocktail glasses. I especially loved the unusual 2p covered bar top!

Ruby mum cocktail at the coconut tree
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the coconut tree cocktaill menu

ceylon arrack bottle at the coconut tree

My first drink of the night was called Ruby's Mum, on the recommendation of the bartender. It consisted of coconut rum, arrack, guava and passionfruit, and I was told that the coconut rum was made from the flowers of the coconut tree. I was a little apprehensive at first because if you've been following my blog for a little while you will have remembered that I am not a rum person by any stretch of the imagination. I spent most of my summer touring Bristol with a gin and tonic in hand. But (and I'll have to channel my inner Janice here) oh. my. god. This cocktail was probably one of the best I've had all year. It was fruity, light and the perfect answer to a pina colada if you're not a pineapple fan. Also a quick side note, have you ever seen a more beautiful cocktail glass? 

sri lankan devilled chicken wings
Devilled Chicken Wings

sri lankan devilled crispy pork
Devilled Crispy Pork
The food was a lively mix of pork, fish, chicken and vegetables. One of my favourite dishes was the Kotthu, a dish I hadn't even heard of before visiting the coconut tree. It's a blend of shredded roti bread, with vegetables and chicken. It felt like the ultimate bowl of comfort food... carbs, veg and meat all served together with a second Ruby's Mum cocktail to wash it all down. I also recommend the chicken wings and the warm bowl of lentil soup. Another new dish I tried was the cuttlefish, a salty cup of battered cuttlefish accompanied by a tangy onion mix.

sri lankan hoppers with egg

One of the cheaper options on The Coconut Tree menu were the egg hoppers. They're small gluten-free coconut pancakes served with a poached egg and three dips. The waitress told us to break the egg and mix everything together before wrapping it up and eating it like you would a traditional pancake. I made an absolute mess of it and ended up with yolk everywhere, but nevertheless, I completely agree with the menu's note about hopper's being a must-have for newcomers.

the five c salad coconut tree
The Five C's Salad

sri lankan spicy cuttlefish
Spicy Cuttlefish
All in all, visiting The Coconut Tree was a really great introduction to Sri Lankan street food. I could see myself going for one or seven of the 'Ruby's Mum' cocktail, and a bench table full of hoppers and Kotthu feels like a really budget-friendly way to have a relaxed meal out. If you've got any suggestions for Sri Lankan recipes I could try out at home, let me know in the comments!

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