Last night we went out for dinner at a Sri Lankan street food restaurant, The Coconut Tree Cheltenham, it wasn’t for an official review so I’m really sorry but I didn’t have my proper camera with me for photos so they’re not the best quality, but I wanted to share how fantastic we thought it was! The restaurant is fairly new and is run by a group of friends who say on their website that it is more then a bar and restaurant, it’s a family.
We had a voucher for a dinner for two at that we’d won at a Christmas Fair and rare babysitters and so decided to go out for dinner. We had tried booking a few weeks previously and there had been no tables but I thought booking at the beginning of the week for a Thursday would be a breeze. Er, not so much! We did manage to get a table, but not until 8.30pm. If I put that into context for you, we normally eat with the kids around 5.30pm! 😀
We decided to go for it anyway as we’d heard really really great things and it’s always nice to get a night off from slumping on the sofa.
Arriving at The Coconut Tree, it was easy to see why it was difficult to get a table, it’s not a huge restaurant, and it was packed full! There is a really buzzy, vibrant atmosphere in there, very relaxed and friendly, and we could smell the amazing food from two streets away. The staff are all very enthusiastic and helpful and seemed to really enjoy working there. It’s always nice to go somewhere where the staff are happy.
We were a little early and waited at the bar until our table was ready, it’s a very well stocked bar and although I was sorely tempted by the variety of spiced rums on offer, we both had a soft drink. No-one needs a headache on the school run!
The decor is certainly rustic. Or maybe I should say authentic! As Dave pointed out, the unfinished walls save a fortune on plastering! (Ever the builder!) And our table was a simple drop down wooden shelf, (secured by chains to the wall) that we shared with another couple. One thing I have to mention is the soundtrack of the night, I felt like I’d been transported back to my teen self’s bedroom with Outkast and Warren G playing, a very happy bunny.
The really important bit is always the food though isn’t it? Well, it is to me anyway! Being a vegetarian, The Coconut Tree is heaven for me. The hard part was narrowing down what to have, there are so many vegan and vegetarian options and I’m just not used to having that amount of choice. It all sounded amazing. We ignored the advice from our waiter, (sorry!) and just went for a lot of little dishes so we could try as much as possible.
My favourite things were the Dhal and the chickpeas. I’ve never had coconut cooked in a savoury way before and it was divine.
Oh, I’m also really sorry that the dishes aren’t pristine and untouched, this is the reason I’m not a food blogger, it was too good to wait. Plus it isn’t fast food, the whole idea of the restaurant seems to be unhurried, giving you time to sit and chat and then the dishes come out as and when they are ready, and so when they came out at about 9.30pm we were ravenous and launched straight in. 😀 In fact, it’s a miracle there are any photos at all because it was so delicious we didn’t even want to pause eating it!
In summary; We absolutely loved it! The food was incredible, the atmosphere was so chilled and friendly and I noticed too that kids under 10 eat free, so I can’t wait to go back with the children! Plus it was one of the cheapest places we’ve been to in town. As I mentioned before, we had a voucher, but if we had been paying, it would have been £28 for enough food for two very hungry people and a soft drink each.