Saturday, 13 July 2019

The Coconut Tree, Cardiff City Centre, Sri Lankan restaurant review

Some restaurants are more suited for getting the party started than others. 

Places like Curado Bar, Bar 44 and Sticky Fingers are all cracking options if you’re out for a night in Cardiff and want to line your stomach before, during or after your boozing session.

The recently opened Coconut Tree joins the list of places where you could have a raucous night out. 

This Sri Lankan restaurant is located on Mill Lane amongst some of Cardiff’s most bustling bars. Their upbeat playlist of tunes creates a party mood. And their extensive menu of two for one cocktails (including the Sriki-TIki and Not So Cosmo) mean it’s an ideal place to get faced whilst stuffing your face.

Their menu of Sri Lankan small plates naturally focuses on spice-packed vegan and vegetarian food with most dishes weighing in between £3.50 and £7.50. 

A can of Lion lager (£4.50) tasted like summer holidays sat by the pool whilst a Mango nectar (£3.50) was thick, fragrant, sweet and refreshing. 

A thin and crisp coconut milk hopper (£3.50) cradled an oozy egg. It was the ideal vehicle for a trio of spice heady accompaniments - a sweet and ferociously spicy Sri Lankan salsa, caramelised onions with a hit of cinnamon and chilli, and grated coconut sambal. 

A generous mound of crisp nuggets of paneer (£5) with a nice chew were coated in a filthily tasty, vivid red, sweet, sticky and ferociously spicy sauce. It reminded me a bit of Chinese takeaway crispy chilli beef (in a good way). 

Vegetable kothu (£5) provided a welcome carb element to mop up the various curry sauces. Soft and light shredded roti was flecked with egg and fresh veggies including shreds of carrot and onions. It was a lovely side dish but perhaps a little light on spicing in its own right (unlike Ponnuswamy’s version which takes centre stage all by itself). 

Deliciously tender pieces of cuttlefish (£7) were coated in a delicately spiced light crumb and garnished with soft and sweet red onions. 

A curry of spoonably tender pumpkin pieces (£4) were bathed in a thick gravy heady with coconut and turmeric. This is the kind of veggie food which ticks all of my boxes. 

Clay pot fish curry (£5.50) was loaded with tuna in a delicious hot, sour and pepper sauce. But, the fish itself was sadly quite dry and chewy. We mentioned this to our excellent waiter who spotted the barely touched dish and it was taken of the bill without asking. 

Watalappam (£4), a traditional Sri Lankan dessert, reminded me of creme caramel. Warm with a lovely wobbly texture, it was a comforting concoction of coconut milk and sweet molasses topped with the crunch of cashews. 

We really enjoyed our meal at The Coconut Tree. It’s a fun and flavoursome independent addition to Cardiff City Centre. Our food wasn’t faultless but the warm and enthusiastic service more than compensated.

The Details:

Address - The Coconut Tree, 10 Mill Lane, Cardiff CF10 1FL
Web -
Telephone - 029 20343266

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