Cardiff gets taste of Cheltenham-born Sri Lankan restaurant

coconut tree cardiff

One of the UK’s leading Sri Lankan restaurant chains, The Coconut Tree, has just opened its fifth restaurant within three years, thanks to the help of Gloucester-based Target Catering Equipment.

Since opening its first bar and kitchen in Cheltenham in 2016, the award-winning company has taken the industry by storm, expanding to Oxford, Bristol and now a new venue in Cardiff, all of which have been installed with a state-of-the-art kitchen designed by Target.

The Coconut Tree belongs to five friends who first met at school just outside Colombo, Sri Lanka when they were 11. They moved to the UK to study and some ended up in Cheltenham. They soon persuaded the others friends to relocate to Cheltenham. What simply started off as finding a place to call home above a pub, they sought permission to lease the bar and kitchen of 59 St Paul’s Road, after a renovation project was carried out at nights while working full time jobs. And so The Coconut Tree was born.

The team deliver fabulous Sri Lankan street food, sweet and fiery Cocotails served with warm hospitality, in a stripped back ‘street style’ interior – and it’s loved by thousands (including the editor of this magazine), including food critic Jay Rayner, who said in a review earlier this year: “The Coconut Tree manages that rare trick of being totally laid-back and completely on point at the same time. It also happens to tell a terrific story about Sri Lanka; one that comes with a small bill to finish. That’s a perfect happy ending.”

coconut tree oxford

The team at Target, a Gloucester-based family-run business that has been providing bespoke catering equipment to the foodservice industry for over 30 years, has installed a range of modular equipment including wok induction hobs, ovens and grills throughout each restaurant, helping the chefs to serve up the authenticity of its renowned Sri Lankan tapas-style dishes.

Rodrigo Rashinthe, Operations Director for The Coconut Tree, said: “Our restaurants were getting busier and busier so we needed equipment that could cope with the growing demands of the business. The Target team offered a friendly, knowledgeable service and we couldn’t rate them highly enough for their exceptional induction equipment.”

coconut tree with kitchen towel

After their initial opening in 2016, it became clear to the team at The Coconut Tree that the outdated and disorganised gas-powered kitchen needed upgrading in order to keep up with demands and make a safer, more comfortable working environment.

Having been recommended to the team by a friend, Target recommended they should consider switching to induction cooking technology due to its benefits within a small kitchen space and minimal extraction requirements.

Following trials of the equipment at Target’s demonstration kitchen, The Coconut Tree engaged the company to upgrade the entire kitchen, installing the latest energy-saving induction wok technology along with bespoke fabricated items, specifically designed and manufactured to meet the restaurant’s unique requirements and ensure customers would be treated to only the very best Asian cuisine.

Rodrigo said: “The equipment has allowed us to provide a better quality of service to our customers and our chefs are finding the innovative catering equipment technology a lot easier and safer to use.”

Target Catering Equipment is widely known for its commercial induction ranges, which have been recognised as highly sustainable products by industry body CESA/FCSI and the Carbon Trust.

The company also specialises in designing sustainable commercial kitchens including kitchen ventilation systems, assisting customers with overcoming difficult kitchen ventilation and layout issues.

David Pedrette, Managing Director of Target Catering Equipment, said: “We’re delighted Rodrigo and all the team at The Coconut Tree are enjoying our equipment as much as their customers enjoy their tasty Sri Lankan dishes.

“We hope they continue to enjoy the many benefits of sustainable induction equipment in the many years of successful business to come.”