When we arrived in Cardiff for the second chunk of our travel year I looked up some local bloggers on Instagram. It’s usually a good way to find some places to see that are a bit off the beaten track and also what new places there are to eat! I found some fabulous accounts, which I will tag in a #followfriday before we leave. What I also found was an ad/review for a new Sri Lankan restaurant just opened in the town centre from @wild.and.free.in.5d.
The Coconut Tree has a couple of branches in the UK and specialises in small tapas-style plates of Sri Lankan food and delicious, boozy “Cocotails”. So when my little sister decided to head down for a visit, I figured we should go and check it out.
A big shout out to the staff, they were great; welcoming and friendly, they knew what to recommend on the menu and why, suggested the best ways to eat the food and were confident in telling us what was good to order. Grace and I ordered a couple of cocktails off the 2-for-a-tenner menu and then chose a whole bunch of food. The food really was fantastic. It felt authentic and was varied and moreish. We tried a daal, a couple of curries (seafood and pork belly) and an egg hopper (coconut pancake with an egg and different sambal). Our waitress said we had to try the Kotthu, which is a sort of salad/stir fry made with chopped up rotis. It doesn’t sound great in writing but she was right to push it, as it was delicious.
The decor is very photogenic: tuktuk to pose by, modern murals of Sri Lankan masks, traditional masks hanging on the walls, a newspapered ceiling. The cocktails are also as pretty as they are tasty. What I liked though is that the food was less stylised. If it looked good in a picture, it was because it was going to be yummy, rather than being designed to look a certain way. The dishes arrived when they were cooked, served simply and ready for eating not looking at!
It was a bit quiet at lunchtime and I’m not sure if that’s because it is new to the scene, as it should definitely be popular. I have heard good things about their evenings as well and it does look as though they get a lot busier later on. Their cocktails are obviously a big pull and they have lots of great ones on offer, including some sharing options.
Overall we were impressed and went home to make Tom very jealous of what we had been eating!