Food

Review: The Coconut Tree

Words and photos by Hannah Penwright

Following the return of indoor dining in Wales, The Coconut Tree kindly invited us down for a free meal to try out their new dishes. As I’m stepping down from Quench food this month, it felt like a really lovely way to end the year so we gladly accepted. The Coconut Tree has extended 50% off for all eat-in customers from Monday to Wednesday until the end of January 2022, so now is the perfect time to go and visit!

As somebody who has never eaten Sri Lankan food before, I was really excited to try out The Coconut Tree. The staff were extremely welcoming, and quickly showed us into one of the new huts. The atmosphere in these was great and made the outdoor seating feel more private.

First up we tried the hoppers. The waitress recommended ordering one each, as you eat them similar to a burrito so they’re definitely not for sharing! I loved the combination of textures that each element brought, and it was a great way to start the meal.

Hopper

Alongside the hopper, we also tried the string hopper (also known as Idyappam) as this was new to the menu. This was similar in flavour to the hopper, but the pancake is pressed into thin noodles. These are steamed and served with coconut sambol (a type of relish). As this was so similar to the hopper, I wouldn’t order both at once again. However, it was still really tasty and I especially loved the coconut sambol.

The other new menu item was the mango curry, which was large pieces of mango in a coconut sauce. In our minds it was going to be saucier, like a curry you might make at home. However, the large pieces of mango were delicious and the coconut marinade paired really beautifully.

Mango Curry, Mixed Fried Rice, and Polenta Battered Mushrooms

Although everything was enjoyable, the standout dish by far had got to be the Sri Lankan mixed fried rice. We ordered the vegan version, which was the same as the veggie version (carrots, leeks and onions) minus the egg. We definitely didn’t feel like we were missing out without the egg and it was perfectly seasoned. Perhaps naively, we weren’t prepared for the spice-level in a lot of the dishes, so the rice was a nice break from the burn!

Words by Hanna Pluck

While TCT offers plenty of delicious vegan and vegetarian options, there is nonetheless a couple left for the meat-lovers too. We ordered the Black Pork, which is packed with spice without being as hot as some menu options. This was delicious both alone and when eaten together with the mixed fried rice if you’re looking for a breather. Tender and juicy, I wouldn’t wait too long to eat it once it gets to your table, because it’s got a melt-in-your-mouth property if you manage to get to it before it cools off.

Sri-tato (a must!) and Black Pork

Due to the tapas-style menu, we were advised to order 2-3 items off the menu per person. We chose the 3-per-person option, which we then found to be a bit too much for us. Although, it probably wasn’t helped by the fact that we didn’t even attempt to restrain our love for potatoes. If anything, the biggest challenge of the evening was being spoiled for choice in regards to what to eat first, and I personally would have appreciated a more detailed spice guide just so that I could build up to the more intense items slowly.

Raspberry mojitos

The coco-tails definitely added something to the experience, with great deals when you order two. My favourite was the Beach Boy, which had delicious coconut and pineapple flavours that really complimented the flavours of the food. I really enjoyed the slice of pineapple on the side for added freshness, but that might just be because I haven’t eaten a proper vegetable in weeks. The raspberry mojitos we ordered had some technical difficulties – the running theory is that one got all the booze instead of it being split between both drinks – but that also turned out to be pretty fun. Sip the mocktail to quench your thirst, take the shot when you feel like being a little less sober!

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