Pioneering Sri Lankan street food restaurant group The Coconut Tree has announced plans to open an eighth site in Reading.
The independent boutique operators are front-runners in bringing fresh Sri Lankan cuisine to the UK. The eighth restaurant in their portfolio – which follows hot on the heels of their Bath opening in May – will join other branches in Cardiff, Bristol, Oxford, Cheltenham and Bournemouth.
The new restaurant is on track to open on Kings Road in Reading town centre later this summer.
Brand Director Anna Garrod said: “Though trading conditions have been incredibly tough over the last 12 months or so, demand for what we do is still strong. After the wonderful reception to our new Bath opening earlier in the Spring, we feel now is the right time for us to keep pushing The Coconut Tree forwards.
We are absolutely delighted to share the news that our eighth restaurant will be located in Reading, which has a thriving student population and vibrant community feel. The site is perfect for us, being less than 15 minutes walk from the train station. With over 3.8 million passengers passing through every year, there’s a massive opportunity for us to introduce our style of Sri Lankan street food to a brand new audience.
We can’t wait to bring a little piece of Sri Lankan hospitality to the town centre!”
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).
What’s on the menu at The Coconut Tree?
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; and ‘Cheesy Colombo’ – cheese cubes fried and mixed Colombo style. ‘Jaffna Goat Curry with potato’ is also a firm favourite, as is the ‘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.
Despite the massive challenges facing hospitality over the last year – The Coconut Tree team is holding fast to their ambitions to put Sri Lankan street food firmly on the UK culinary map in 2021.
Anna continued, “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.”