Today were taking a break from the heavy stuff as we’ve ended mental health week last week and we’re giving the campaign a little rest! Thank you for everyone’s support so far but let’s get back to something a little more light-hearted! Back by popular demand… Yep that’s right! It’s time for a food review. I have been trying to decide for ages where next to go on our foodie adventures and then I was invited to The Coconut Tree in Cheltenham.
This is a sponsored post but you know me I am going to be honest. All opinions are my own.
The Coconut Tree is an award-winning restaurant in Cheltenham (Winning awards such as Taste of Gloucestershire Food & Farming Awards 2017: Winner of ‘The Peoples Choice Award’ – Best Restaurant 2017 – 2018. and Open Table – Diners Choice Award 2018). Started by 5 Sri Lankan guys. The restaurant is now the place to go for cocktails, a chill night and lots of good food. It’s one of those places which are brilliant for an alternative to a pub for a night out. They worked hard to combine family traditions and recipes to create a Sri Lankan street food restaurant, which they have now extended and have opened another in Oxford and soon Bristol! They joined up with Anna and Ollie to create an experience you hopefully won’t forget.
The Coconut Tree Mantra:
- Don’t expect a napkin, it’s a roll of paper towels;
- Do expect an explosion of flavours in our dishes and sweet and fiery cocktails;
- Do expect candles in half coconuts;
- Don’t expect a massive food bill, but do expect to spoil yourself;
- Do expect warm Sri Lankan hospitality – and don’t expect the volume to stay down too long!
The mantra definitely is a great reflection of exactly how the interior of the restaurant is set out. Now I am excited! And guess what… The majority of the dishes are veggie and vegan and start from £2.50! Yep £2.50. I decided to take the beautiful and talented Grace Perry along for the experience and as she has a gluten-free dietary requirement I am pleased to announce she is also having her boxes ticked with GF options. Oh and well she takes the photos.
When you first go in you notice all the quirky and traditional decor, I was in love with the bar table made of pennies and resin to spell out The Coconut Tree and I feel like it all just gave out the right vibe. I was then greeted by T (the guy in the fresh off the boat top). Now you know what I am like when it comes to the overall experience and having the right staff is so important for me. Every single staff member in here from bar/wait staff to the cooks were friendly, they were laughing and joking, they were singing to the music (yeah that’s right, we clocked you), they were chatty and they just added to the family style and good vibe atmosphere. I love seeing staff members who actually love what they do and actually look like they want to be there, and that was one of those situations. Because honestly if you can’t have bants at work you probably should not be there. Oh they also have a portable wheelchair ramp which the staff are happy to help out with which is something else I noticed and was very happy about.
So here’s what happens, they take you over to your table, give you a minute to look and then they pull up a chair. Yep that’s right they pull up a chair, this where I was like okay I see what you are doing, setting the tone. Obviously I would not be happy if this was a fine dining restaurant and the staff sat with you but in this scenario as it just goes with the feel and mantra of the restaurant. When it’s a casual place like this I love the fact that they join you on your level, they then chat through what they are about, give you a little back story and explain the kind of foods you’ll be expecting and what certain things are (as obviously for some people this is going to be a first time experience in Sri Lankan food), and then they recommend a few dishes based on your personal dietary requirements. Normally you would pick around 3 – 4 dishes depending on if you are going for big plates or not, I’d recommend going with someone who likes the same food as you so you can really mix and match. But Grace and I, well you know me, you’re talking to the girl who ate around 8 meals in 24 hours in Amsterdam, we had to try everything. I don’t know anything about Sri Lankan food so I was just like hey, I want veggie and vegan feed me what you’ve got, you decide. And well…
**Warning, you are about to view pure uncensored food porn.**
Ok where do I start. So they just got me. As soon as T came out with the Drunken Sri Lankan (Guys calm down this is a cocktail) I knew they had your girl. Coming in at £7.00, it was made with ginger beer, lime, turmeric, Cointreau, and coconut arrack. Arrack is a an alcohol made with nectar from coconut flowers and is traditionally found in Sri Lankan drinks. And how did they serve this? In an elephant cup. That is right people in an elephant cup. I am not going to lie, I did have thoughts about steeling this cup. Going to have to blame Grace it was entirely her idea, she’s a terrible influence. But obviously my good self was like ill just have to go online and find myself an elephant cup instead. I am a little heart-broken but. Grace had a Sri-Presso Martini which was made from coffee infused arrack, cardamom, khalua and coffee liquor which was every coffee lovers dream for £8.00.
So we had dish after dish come through and I was excited. I am sorry Kesh because I know I didn’t invite you and this is literally about to be your heaven. So because of how many dishes I tried, which was every single one apart from the fish, obvs, which was for Grace I am going to set this review out a little different from normal just to keep it simple. Are you ready?
- We have the Hoppers £3.50 V & GF. We got told this is a must have. Every single person needs to be having one. They come with or without egg. They are like a crispy pancake and they come open with a fried egg, coconut sambal, caramelised onions, and a salsa which you then stir together and roll to eat. I am not going to lie I was scared. I am a scrambled egg only kind of girl because I hate egg whites but I actually ate the whole thing.
- Then we had quite a few dishes so Bonchi Baduma £3.50 VE & GF. Which was green beans fried with chilli and these, I am not going to lie were packing heat.
- Carrot Sambole £3.50 VE & GF. This is like a refreshing salad I would eat this all the time, carrots, cucumber, shaved coconut and a bit of green chilli.
- Mukunuwenna £3.50 VE & GF. This is your greens and well I loved them. Being Jamaican having your greens with coconut was right up my street.
- Parippu £2.50 VE & GF. This is a Dahl which is something I am quite use too so didn’t really wow me.
- Cashew Nuts £6.00 VE & GF. I know what you’re thinking, £6 for cashews? But these were served cooked in a coconut cream sauce and were delicious.
- Crispy Vegetable Rolls £4.00 V. Now these were not what I was expecting, I am not going to lie I was expecting a spicy springroll but that was not the case. This was like if you mixed a potato croquette and a spring roll and do you know what? I was feeling it. I ate both of them as I literally could not stop eating them.
- Sri Lanken Mixed Fried Rice £7.00 GF. But without the chicken so it was V. And well this was what Grace was living for. I am pretty sure I had a forkful and she ate the rest .
- Parota Roti £2.50 VE. Now I am no stranger to a roti. It’s a flat bread which goes great with Curry’s and Dahl but ive never been crazy over it. Until now. I am putting it out there, it was the best damn roti I have ever tasted in my life. Like just thinking about it now makes me crave it. It’s vegan but so flakey its like they’ve used butter and just wow.
- Pineapple Curry £4.50 VE & GF. Another one of Grace’s favourites. I have never had a pineapple curry and if I saw it on them it’s not something id order so I was like we did the chefs choice because it was lovely.
- Chickpeas £3.50 VE & GF. These were stir fried in coconut oil with garlic, mustard seeds and chillies and honestly I was just happy to see someone using chickpeas other than putting them into a curry!
- Hot Battered Spicy Mushrooms £5 VE & GF. Now this is part of their only for vegans! Bit of the menu and they were good but just not my thing. They’re the vegan version of the…
- …Hot Battered Spicy Cuttlefish at £7 GF which Grace had and she was honestly just loving being able to eat battered fish as for her having something battered is so tricky.
- Finally we have my ultimate dish. This dish literally gave me life, I am actually getting emotional thinking about it and that’s not just because I went out last night. The Veg Kotthu £5.00 V, VE available! This is a luxury Sri Lankan street food and is a big plate. It is essentially fried rice but instead of the rice they replaced it with that amazing flakey roti I was talking about earlier. Honestly I will make trips from Gloucester to Cheltenham just for this dish. I can’t even explain to you how good it is you literally just have to go out and try it.
- Coconut Treacle Hopper with Coconut Ice-cream £5.00 V & GF. This was definitely Graces favourite and she was loving the coconut ice-cream.
- Blood Orange and Lemon Sorbet £4.00 VE & GF. Made with local produce this was defiantly my kind of dessert. I have never had blood orange sorbet before but it was amazing. After all that food I still managed to eat that entire dessert.
Obviously I have listed a lot of food here and yes the food did win. But we boxed it up and took it home. I was not leaving a single thing behind. I was gutted to find out my Mum and Step Dad Nathan had eaten everything. She ate the vegan and he ate the rest and I did feel a little broken inside. With these dishes you can also request them to be as spicy or for some not as spicy as you want. So how did it measure up?
So a very quick summary and rate (out of 5):
- Allergen menu 5
- My Meal 5
- Overall service 5
- Worth the money you’re paying? Yes, like if you’re going to go crazy like me and Grace you are probably going to get a £100 bill. So I wouldn’t recommend doing that, you know, unless you’re like us and food is life. However If you actually have the 3 dishes, a dessert and a cocktail you are looking around £19.50 – £23.50 each on average.
Feeling like visiting the Coconut Tree? Check them out on Insta, facebook and of course their website for full menu and info. And feel free to tweet them and tell me them to give me an elephant mug or you know just to here all their latest food updates.