Melissa Compton Reviews: The Coconut Tree, Cardiff.


Cardiff’s New Sri-Lankan restaurant has arrived, located on Cardiff’s bustling Mill Lane; The Coconut Tree officially opens its doors on Friday 28 June 2019.

From the moment you step across the threshold it’s clear that The Coconut tree is full of personalized decorations from the coconut leaves on the ceiling in the foyer to the coins embedded in the bar’s surface. The whole restaurant has a street food vibe to it, and there is plenty of staff to serve you.

The Coconut Tree already operates restaurants in Cheltenham, Bristol and Oxford. Their mantra promises: No napkins (there is kitchen roll on every table though), Candles in coconuts, explosive flavours and fiery cocktails paired with warm Sri Lankan Hospitality and music that promises not to be low in volume!

The Coconut Tree really delivered on its Mantra this evening: the warm welcome awaiting you at The Coconut Tree, Cardiff is the backbone of this   Unique restaurant, the staff were hardworking, helpful, insightful, friendly.

Upon a suggestion I tried the cocktail ‘Drunken Sri Lankan’ the cocktail is full of strong flavours that seem to get stronger the more you drink. Nick-named ‘Ruby’ after an Elephant in Sri-Lanka, one of the ingredient’s in the cocktail is Ceylon Arrack – a Sri-Lankan Liquor made from distilled coconut sap. For every cocktail brought containing Ceylon Arrack twenty-five pence is donated to supporting Ruby the Elephant, understandably the ruby is served in a charming elephant ceramic mug with a straw. The drink also contains Turmeric and ginger beer which combine to intensify the flavour, as well as Cointreau and topped with a lime wedge which adds extra fruity flavour, the only problem is you may forget you’re drinking alcohol. One of the impressive things about the restaurant is you can give them a list of allergies and they can give you suggestions on what food and drink is best suited to your needs, with minimum fuss.

The selection on offer is massive with an extensive list of wines, a selection of lager, cider, draught and a good selection of soft drinks to choose from.  The selection of Tapas-style food is as varied as the drink’s selection. There are plenty of gluten-free and vegetarian, vegan options. The Sri Lankan battered Cuttlefish was the perfect staring dish, light and chewy in texture and seasoned with Black Pepper with a spicy garnish. This dish was perfectly cooked and light enough to make it ideal for a warm summer’s day. The ‘Plain Hopper’ was an interesting dish delivering a variety of flavours, the dish combines a bowl-shaped coconut milk pancake with Coconut sambal, Seeni sambal (caramelized onions with a touch of cinnamon), and Sri-Lankan Salsa. The pancake is light and sweet is sprinkled with black pepper which I found a bit over-powering, but the pancake is delicious, and the caramelized onions were excellent, I would love to see a variation that combined the pancake and onions.

All the food at The Coconut Tree is unique and expertly cooked to perfection in their kitchen. To dishes high in flavour and unmissable while a go to for anyone who wants a milder dish are the Black pork small diced pork in a spice mix and secret ingredients. There’s something about the combination of small diced pork and the sauce that means you keep coming back for more, the chicken wings with the meat falling off the bone making them easy to eat and you suddenly realize why the kitchen roll is there.

The battered mushrooms were an unusual treat, polenta battered they taste slightly sweet, but delicious. The Coconut Tree is a great place to go to for that chilled out time with friends and to treat yourself, the unique experience is authentic and consistent. There is a large volume of seating with a small private cube shaped dining room downstairs, more tables in the main restaurant area as well as a function room and a larger dining area upstairs.

The music gradually increases in volume and is compiled from random easy listening tracks, the volume though stays just above the background noise of people enjoying themselves in the restaurant so is never too loud.

The Coconut Tree, Mill Lane, Cardiff: online booking is available via their website at