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 overseeing 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).
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 and Sri Lankan Salsa, ‘Cashew Nuts’ and green peas soaked and cooked in coconut cream; and ‘Cheesy Colombo’ – cheese cubes fried and mixed Colombo style. ‘
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.
Garrod said: “Though trading conditions have been incredibly tough over the last 12 months, we had a good August, September, and October last year despite the restrictions, and demand for what we do is still strong. We feel now is the right time for us to keep pushing The Coconut Tree forwards.
“We are absolutely delighted to announce that our seventh restaurant will be located in Bath, a vibrant city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that we’ve had our sights on for such a long time.”
She added: “We were founded in the South West and it has been instrumental to our success; it’s where we’ve picked up the most awards and been visited by top critics like Jay Rayner, who really understood exactly what we’re all about.
“We have been looking for a site in Bath for the last two years, but it’s such a sought-after location and rents for independents are high, understandably so. Luckily, the landlord for this site is Bristol based; he knew of our brand and history, and was keen to see us in Bath. He made us a commercial offer that would make this possible. We can’t wait to bring a little piece of Sri Lankan hospitality to Bath.”