Last week, myself and some of the other Bournemouth Bloggers headed into Bournemouth for a meal at the newly opened The Coconut Tree, situated in Old Christchurch Road. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, having never been in one of their restaurants, or having tried Sri Lankan food before.
I was the last to arrive and the other girls were already enjoying a ‘coco-tail’ from the extensive drinks menu. It was great that there was a selection of low or no-alcohol cocktails, giving those who aren’t drinking for whatever reason a chance to still enjoy a fancy drink. I asked for a pornstar martini but I am not sure whether it had alcohol in or was the Fallen Porn Star, as it didn’t taste like it had any alcohol in. Either way, it was really nice and fruity, with a passionfruit half for decoration.
We were introduced to the menu by our waiter, who was friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable of the food on offer, providing tips for those of us who hadn’t eaten Sri Lankan food before. The menu is set out to be enjoyed tapas style, encouraging you and your group to share dishes and have a proper social gathering. We were encouraged to select 3 or 4 dishes per person, without having too many of the same and I ended up going for a chicken on the bone curry (meant to be pretty spicy), a vegetable dish, potatoes as well as some sides – plain rice and flatbreads to go with them. I wasn’t really sure whether I would like everything, but it was really liberating to order dishes I hadn’t tried before.
When the food came out, it was clear we perhaps should have stuck to three dishes each rather than four, as there was A LOT of food, and not much space around the table for us to actually eat it! Having said this, everyone tucked in and the food was delicious. I particularly loved the curry, which was just the right level of spice for me, and fantastic with the rice. I actually ended up swapping with Katie, who is less keen on spice, so I also tried the Sri Lanken mixed fried rice, which had egg and chicken and was equally as tasty with my curry.
I tried a bit of other people’s food as well as my own, including the hot battered spicy cuttlefish, which was similar to squid, something I never thought I would like, but it was actually pretty yummy. I also had some of the cheesy columbo (fried cheese cubes with a sticky sauce) and fell in love (I may have ended up eating half a dish of this as it was so moreish). I will admit, there were some dishes which I would not like, but that can be said about every menu. There was a lot of choice, and plenty of options for those avoiding meat and/or dairy.
The meal was really laid back and we ended up chatting for hours, with no sense of hurry from the waiting staff for us to vacate our table. The restaurant was dimly lit, with music playing at the right level that we had no problem hearing each other speak, but it didn’t sound too quiet when the restaurant was a little emptier at the start of the night.
Most of our group was too full, but I managed a little pudding. I decided to go for the Treacle Hopper, which sounded nice and looked nice, but I didn’t overly enjoy as I found it a bit cold, when I was expecting a hot dish. The taste was a little too sweet for me as well, and when I go back again, I think I will skip dessert, as I wasn’t keen on the other options either, although the coconut ice cream was nice.
I had a lovely evening, with great company and yummy food. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Sri Lankan cuisine, but I was pleasantly surprised, and would definitely recommend a visit if you are local to Bournemouth or visiting the area. The Coconut Tree is the kind of place you could go for a cocktail with friends and share a few dishes along with your drinks.
I was invited along to The Coconut Tree in Bournemouth for the purpose of this review, however all words and images are my own.