Pioneering Sri Lankan street food restaurant group, The Coconut Tree is continuing its organic growth, and has announced plans to open a new site in Birmingham.
The independent operator is a front-runner in bringing fresh Sri Lankan cuisine to the UK. The eighth restaurant in its portfolio - which follows hot on the heels of their Reading and Bath openings in 2021 - will join other branches in Cardiff, Bristol, Oxford, Cheltenham and Bournemouth.
The 1,600 sq ft two storey bar and restaurant is based in a beautiful listed building at 22 Gas St, and is on track to open in early 2022.
Brand Director Anna Garrod said, “We can’t wait to bring a little piece of Sri Lankan hospitality and our warm Island vibes to Gas Street, the heart of Birmingham's entertainment and leisure district. We’ve had our eyes on the city for a really long time and couldn’t be more excited to take on this beautiful building.”
The Coconut Tree was originally founded by Five Sri Lankan friends living in Cheltenham. Praveen Thanginah, Dan Fernando and Shamil Fernando are the Head Chefs and oversee the food side of things; whilst the Board of Directors is made up of Mithra Fernando (Financial Director), Rodrigo Rashinthe (Operations Director) and Anna Garrod (Brand Director).
Despite the massive challenges facing hospitality over the last 18 months, The Coconut Tree team is holding fast to its ambitions to put Sri Lankan street food firmly on the UK culinary map.
Operations Director Rashinthe Rodrigo explained, “In the UK, Sri Lankan food is not as widely available or understood as say, Indian or Chinese cuisine, and we want to help change that; we want to be the ones to make it mainstream. We are excited to hear Birmingham say, ‘let’s go for a Sri Lankan tonight!’”
In recent years, Sri Lankan food has been having a moment, with The Times identifying it as a key food trend, and BBC Food attributing its popularity to 'most of the food world looking towards exciting new cuisines'.
The Coconut Tree’s take on the cuisine is made up of smaller tapas-style dishes embracing plants, fish and meat - it’s an abundant menu that naturally offers something for everyone.
The menu at The Coconut Tree is made up of smaller tapas-style plates including ‘Hot Battered Spicy Cuttlefish’; ‘Hoppers’ – bowl shaped coconut pancakes served with sambal & Sri Lankan Salsa; ‘Cashew Nuts’ and green peas soaked and cooked in coconut cream; ‘Cheesy Colombo’ – cheese cubes fried and mixed Colombo style; and ‘Black Pork’ which consists of diced pork belly cooked in 30 roasted spices.
Larger sharing dishes include their signature ‘Devilled Dishes’ - meat or fish cooked in spices, then stir fried with traditional banana peppers and finished off with crushed chillies (their own secret recipe!). Finally, their ‘Kotthu’ is a fine example of a local hybrid and served all over the country as a luxurious street food. It’s made with finely chopped rotti and cooked with egg, vegetables and / or meat.
Shortly after winning ‘Best Bar’ at the Bristol Life Awards earlier this year, The Coconut Tree also unveiled its brand new cocktail menu; featuring 18 ‘Cocotails’ in total, the revamped range includes seven brand-new cocotails, along with updated recipes for some of the restaurant’s most popular drinks.
It also includes a range of prestigious brands at accessible prices, including Casamigo Mezcal, Moose Botanical Spirit, and Della Vite Prosecco.