Sober for October; the Nosecco experience

Everyone was off for an Indian and the BYOB policy meant we were in for a heavy night. A trip to Tesco left everyone with crates of beer and wine whilst I straggled behind with my single bottle of Tesco’s finest nosecco. I was particularly grateful for my antibiotics as this was the first night I could have been tempted to break my sober stint and have a night off.

Interacting with drunk people whilst being sober is a key skill to possess, and definitely not one I’d previously mastered, so I was curious to see how much I would enjoy it and whether it would be boring. Turns out, sipping on a few glasses of nosecco whilst eating completely satisfied me! The energy was high, and the conversation flowed, and, although everyone was slowly getting more and more drunk, it almost felt like I was too. By instinct, I finished my bottle (what a lot of grape juice) and I had felt a similar satisfaction as I would have from polishing off a bottle of wine.

The nosecco didn’t taste exactly like prosecco, but by drinking it out of the champagne flute, my mind was able to transport me to an alcohol-soaked destination. The carbon dioxide infused grape juice made my taste buds tingle as their cravings for alcohol were satisfied by the placebo effect. It was very sweet, and it was best to try and not smell it, but it was the perfect replacement as everyone else was drinking.

I will definitely try a nosecco night again this month as I continue my sobriety and I would even recommend it to others who are attempting the same thing. I was able to feel like I was joining in whilst maintaining myself and it’s fair to say, socialising with drunk people whilst sober is not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be!

The Mallorcan covid holiday experience – part 2

Port Andratx offered everything I could want and more. Stunning views were supplied everywhere you looked, and the endless restaurants did not stop providing gorgeous food and drink.

The location proved to be perfect. At the top of the hill, I was treated to 180 degrees of uninterrupted views of the sea and beautiful mountainous terrain. This was perfect for a Covid holiday as it meant you could enjoy the surroundings and Mallorcan lifestyle away from the crowds. Many more amazing benefits of the location came from the amazing spots to view the sunset just a short walk down the other side of the hill. We spent many cheap evenings lazing down the side of the hill in an orange hue with a bottle of wine and a disposable barbeque watching the sun disappear behind the sea. I also enjoyed exploring the hills during the day and we found many amazing viewpoints and spots that felt a million miles away from civilisation.

Amongst all the incredible restaurants, my favourite was one that we visited on my third day in Mallorca. It’s called Verico. Located at the bottom of the hill with beautiful views of the Port, they offered a dining experience that was first class. Attentive waiters, delicious food and drinks to die for, the Italian restaurant had offered the perfect start to our holiday. I would recommend it to anyone who visited the Port, and, although it’s a big treat, it’s definitely worth it!

The coastal road from Port Andratx to Soller is regarded as one of the most beautiful in Mallorca and it didn’t disappoint. The bendy roads wrapped their way around the side of the mountain, traversing through beautifully scenic villages such as Valldemossa and Banyalbufar. The scenery almost overwhelmed me at parts as my viewpoint was contrasted between the extremities of a severe drop into the ocean and the dominating mountain on the other side. When we reached Soller we took the tram down to the port, which was beautiful. Quite different to that of Andratx, the port was wide, with beaches and lots of swimmers. It was distinctly less busy which offered a welcome change from the bustling life of Port Andratx.

Everyone in Mallorca was wearing masks and there was talk of a fine if you were caught not wearing one. It was hot, sweaty, extremely uncomfortable but very necessary in order to keep yourselves and others healthy. The news of the two-week quarantine came out on the 25th July and it hit hard. I wasn’t due to come home until the 5th August, so I was faced with the fact that I was going to be stuck inside for two weeks when I got home. This was the reality of a covid holiday. But, overall, although it wasn’t quite as glamorous as normal, it was an amazing experience, and we were still able to do everything we wanted. I wouldn’t have changed any of it!

Sober for October; the story so far

10 days in and it’s fair to say that my sober October has already come with its ups and downs. The support I’ve received from my friends and family is undeniably the thing that has kept me going and my motivation up. None of my friends have attempted to peer pressure me into drinking (not that I would budge) and my mum is singing my praises at home!

The combination of the local lockdown, closed nightclubs and an increased workload has also worked in my favour. My motivation has been so happy to see the back of binge drinking, getting home in the early hours of the morning and writing off whole days at a time! I’ve been able to get up early and straight to work on most days. The third-year workload, Quench magazine, my blog and new food Instagram account has demanded all my head space, so, the no drinking couldn’t have come at a better time. My life has been absolutely filled with reading and writing!

Another interesting turn of events which has added to my sober October is a round of antibiotics! For the first time in my life I have been forced into a 9-day dry spell due to medication and it couldn’t have coincided with a better month. It has only added to the motivation and reasons to stay sober, so I’m extremely grateful for my ailments!  

Bring on the next 20 days!

Tips on how to use your Autumn produce

Adapted from my article for Quench magazine

As we welcome the Autumn months and say goodbye to the hot sun, home growers and farmlands find themselves inundated with all those wintery fruits and vegetables that we all know and love. My family absolutely love growing their own produce and each year our garden is swamped with apples, pears, blackberries and butternut squash. We have become well versed in how to get creative in the kitchen and make the best of these foods without getting bored too quickly! Here are some of my faves.

APPLE FRITTERS

I love an apple pudding, and, when it comes to apple season, we have apple crumbles and apple cakes coming out of ears! I love an apple fritter because its quite different to a classic apple pudding and can create a refreshing change. The soft yet crunchy apple encased with a crispy, sweet batter and dosed in golden syrup is a deliciously unhealthy method to switch up your apple pud rotation! Here’s how you make it:

Firstly, put enough vegetable oil in a saucepan to reach about a third of the way up and put it onto a high heat. In a large bowl, mix; 180g flour, 35g sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, 1 tsp salt and 2 ½ tsp of baking powder. Then add 2 eggs and 180 ml of milk and whisk until combined. Peel about 4-5 large cooking apples, cut them into good size chunks and stir into the batter so that all the pieces of apple are well coated. You will know when the oil is hot enough when you drop a tiny bit of batter in it and it floats up and cook within 30 seconds. When it has reached this temperature, use a slotted spoon to drop the pieces if apple in and leave them to cook for about a minute. Remember to turn them as they cook so they brown evenly. Pat them dry with kitchen roll, put in a bowl, cover with syrup, and enjoy! You won’t regret it!

ROASTED SQUASH AND FETA SALAD

My favourite salad ever is this butternut squash salad and it’s absolutely perfect for Autumn as it’s so warming and makes perfect use of mum’s endless squash produce. It’s the perfect healthy accompaniment to a lasagne, fish meal, or even pasta! Its hearty, warming and here’s how you make it:

Set your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and cut up your butternut squash into 2cm cubes. Once cut, place on a baking try and toss them in olive oil, salt and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for a subtle heat. Put it into the oven and leave for about half an hour until soft, but remember to keep checking it so it doesn’t go to mush! Whilst this is in the oven, pour about half a packet of pine nuts into a small frying pan and dry fry for a few minutes until they begin to brown and soften. Set these aside. Take a packet of rocket salad and lay out on a large serving dish. Add the squash and pine nuts and then crumble over half a packet of feta. Mix together 1 part vinegar to 3 parts olive oil along with a good grind of salt and pepper to make a basic vinaigrette, drizzle over the salad, toss and enjoy!

POACHED PEARS WITH A CHOCOLATE SAUCE

I love a pear and, when perfectly ripe, can easily be one of my favourite fruits. The pears that grow on our tree at home are delicious, but its easy to get bored of a plain pear. My brother has been known to make a killer poached pear that acts as a perfect ending to a good meal. It’s sophisticated and a good way to get in one of your 5 a day! Here’s how he makes it:

Put; 1 litre of water, 300g of caster sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 vanilla pod and the juice of 1 lemon in a saucepan. Then carefully peel 8 pears and place them into the saucepan. Bring the pan to a boil and then let simmer until the pairs are nice and soft. Meanwhile, melt 100g of dark chocolate in a bain marie until completely smooth. Then add 50g of butter, 250 ml of cream and 2 tbsp of caster sugar and stir until well combined. When both pears and chocolate sauce is done, serve together with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

The Mallorcan Covid holiday experience – Part 1

After endless months of being trapped inside and tied to my hometown, I was eager to get back to travelling the world. Like many others, my plans to travel far had been shot down. I had set my sights on South East Asia and Sri Lanka, but this trip would have to be postponed. However, despite the restrictions on travel, I was lucky enough to be able to visit my boyfriend at his home in the Mallorcan port of Port Andratx. I was able to say hello to sun and sea along with a firm goodbye to the British rain and fields!

As I entered the airport through their temperature measuring facility, I was worried that I would be turned away. I didn’t possess any symptoms, but I couldn’t help but feel intimidated by this dystopian procedure. However, I sailed through and made my way up towards security. The airport was nearly empty due to the number of flights having been immensely cut down and I got through security in a record time. Off – duty was closed along with any pub or restaurant which gave off an eerie vibe as it felt like I was wondering the corridors of an abandoned, shut up building. As this was early July, mask wearing had not yet been made mandatory in British shops, so this was the first time I had to wear one for a long period of time and it was definitely taking some getting used to.

The plane itself was a lot fuller than I expected. Everyone was clearly eager to get back to their holiday making and the Spanish regions were offering the best deal. There had been no lockdown restrictions put in place (yet) so the British public were clearly ready to get their warm weather fix.

As I stepped off the plane in Mallorca that evening I was hit by a wall of heat. It was so refreshing to finally be able to feel proper sun once more. I had landed at around 8pm local time which was perfect to watch the sunset as we drove from Palma airport to Port Andratx. We went straight out for a quick dinner as soon as we got there, and I had my first taste of the Mallorcan Covid experience. Masks were required to be worn as you walked around the town, which, coming from Britain, was an alien experience for me. All restaurant staff had to wear masks and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them. It was an average of 30 degrees Celsius in the daytime and they were constantly moving around on their feet so it must have been a real struggle for them.

Port Andratx itself blew me away. Located on the coastal stretch of a sprawling mountainous region, the port sits in between two large, green hills speckled with villas and apartments. Restaurants line the promenade, allowing a gorgeous view of the scintillating ocean as you tuck into your lunch. I was so excited for the weeks to follow! Sun, sea and the perfect company. What more could you want?

Sober for October; The first hurdle

“The university climate can be brutal and intense, but nothing I can’t rise above.”

My alcohol consumption may be deemed as marginally unhealthy by the average person (I go to University), and I’ve decided to make a change. On the 1st of October my co-editor, Indigo, from Quench magazine pitched her article idea of ‘Sober for October’ and her plans to write about her experience of a sober month. I thought it was a brilliant idea. That night as I was lying in bed my mind was consumed by this pitch.  Was this the inspiration I needed? Was this the perfect excuse to test myself? I am someone that lives for goals and I truly struggle to achieve without something to work towards. I sat upright in bed as it dawned on me. I needed to be a part of this. I text Indigo straight away to let her know that she had inspired me to follow suit. She immediately responded with the idea to co-write the article. I agreed. Suddenly, I was committed and had the ultimate goal to work towards.

It’s been three days and it’s safe to say that I have had no issues so far. The current social climate of Cardiff and the lockdown measures is definitely helping me due to the forced removal of all club suggestions. I watched my housemate enjoying a couple beers as we watched a film together last night, but, surprisingly, I found it to be light work. I am someone who thoroughly enjoys a casual drink as I genuinely love the taste of alcohol and the gentle buzz generated from that first drink. So, for me to have no inclination to participate in the beer drinking was my first win.

My boyfriend and my mum are my biggest supporters so far. They are both keen for me to cut back my drinking and put my physical and mental health first. This has added an enjoyable amount of pressure as I know that if I fail, I am not just letting myself down, but the people who care about me and I really don’t want that to happen!

I have never felt so inclined to achieve a goal, nor so at one with my decisions. Although many people would not believe a month sober is a big deal, it will be a big deal to me to know that I can do it. The university climate can be brutal and intense, but nothing I can’t rise above.

Stay tuned to find out how I get on!

Review: Mowgli

“In 2014, founder Nisha Katona had a nagging obsession to build an eatery serving the kind of food Indians eat at home and on their streets.”

Walking into the Cardiff branch of Mowgli, we were met with a dazzling spectacle of fairy lights and warm colour. The staff were so incredibly welcoming and helpful that we couldn’t help but feel instantly at home in this treasure cave. On their website they describe themselves as “not about the intimate, hushed dining experience [but] about the smash and grab zing of healthy, light, virtuosic herbs and spices.” This became apparent when sitting amongst the warm light as it felt like we were all together, enjoying a family meal.

The smells coming from the kitchen flirted with our senses as our eyes flickered upon their menu, swaying our temptation and making our mouths water. The menu is so interestingly varied it was so hard to pinpoint what we wanted. After much deliberation, and some help from the waiting staff, we opted to share; yoghurt chat bombs, the ruby wrap, gunpowder chicken, one of the office worker’s tiffin and some roti.

The yoghurt bombs were the first to arrive and set an extremely high standard for the evening. The Pani puri spheres held a perfect mixture of spiced yogurt, creating a beautifully cool sensation in the mouth. They were topped with pomegranate seeds, adding a refreshing sharp after taste which complimented the spicy tang well. The only regret we had was scoffing them straight away and not saving them for when the rest of the food arrived, as they would have acted as an ideal relief from the harsher spices of the curries.

The Yogurt bombs topped with pomegranate and coriander

The gunpowder chicken is described as a spiced chicken popper in a gluten free chickpea batter, and they were unlike any battered chicken I had ever tested. I can’t recall ever trying chickpea batter before, but after this experience, I would be reluctant to shy away from it if I ever see it on the menu. The chicken was succulent, the batter was crisp and the coriander and basil accompaniments were perfectly balanced, what more could you want?

The paneer in the ruby wrap was juicy and delicious and matched the “rainbow of Mowgli chutneys” well. I absolutely adore paneer in Asian cooking and this dish did not disappoint. However, if you are one of those unfortunate enough to not enjoy the taste of coriander, this dish is not for you as it was scattered in abundance!

 The curries we were given in our tiffin box were; Temple dahl, House chicken curry and Mowgli House Keema with a side of rice. The sauce from the chicken curry was my favourite and suited their description of “tame but tantalising”. I love a Keema and it is rarely seen on the menu, so I was really excited to try it. It was rich in flavour and almost reminiscent of Lebanese cooking due to the domination of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. I think of a keema as relatively dry curry due to the cohesion of the meat and sauce as one, so I was pleased we had ordered roti to go with it. The Temple Dahl was not my favourite as the lentils had a little more bite and the sauce was little wetter than I would have liked, however, the flavour was still delicious. I enjoyed the presence of the roti and they went down well, but they were a bit thin and my partner and I both agreed that we prefer a thicker flat bread.

The overall meal was stunning and a really enjoyable experience. The setting was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the staff were attentive and friendly. Although the curries were delicious, I favoured the street food dishes and when I return, I will be eager to sample as many more as I can! I would recommend this restaurant to anyone and I cant wait to show it to all my friends and family!

Review: wahaca

Written by Indigo Jones, Hannah Penwright and Sasha Nugara for Quench magazine

Last week our section editors were offered the chance to review Wahaca Cardiff, a Mexican chain which can be found across the UK. The restaurant prides itself on sustainability, and its new menu explains how it’s the most sustainable yet. After having been to the restaurant our editors decided to write a collaborative review to discuss the highs and lows of the visit, whilst showcasing the wonderful food they were able to indulge on.

Indigo Jones

When I opened our mailbox and noticed an email from Wahaca, I was jumping for joy! I had never been to the restaurant before and have been itching to go due to my fascination and devotion to Mexican food. This love for the cuisine stemmed long before my trip to Mexico in 2017, where I experienced authentic food full of colour and flavours. Having travelled there myself, I had extremely high expectations for our meal at Wahaca.

I ordered the mushroom and feta tacos, chargrilled steak and cheese tacos and the Devon crab tostada. I decided on these options as I wanted to try the variety of things that Wahaca had to offer. All three dishes were full of flavour and were very appealing to the eye. My favourite out of the three had to be the Devon crab tostada as combination of the crab and pink pickled onions tasted so fresh and worked almost like a palette cleanser to the other dishes. My only complaint is that I would have loved a bit of a kick to the plates, having developed quite a tolerance for spicy food, I felt like that’s what these dishes were missing.  I would have asked one of the wait staff for some hot sauce to add to my food, but similar to Mexico unfortunately the service was slow, and I was unable to ask.

The highlight of the night had to be the £5 margaritas which they offered the week we attended to celebrate Mexican Independence Day. We ordered a variety of passion fruit and hibiscus flavoured margaritas, and these fruity drinks made the perfect accompaniment to our meals. I personally highly recommend going to Wahaca for both food and cocktails, and I would definitely attend again but perhaps next time I’ll ask for some hot sauce when I order!

Hannah Penwright

When limited to the vegetarian options, I love it when a restaurant serves tapas-style small plates as it means there’s likely to be a lot more choice- and Wahaca did not disappoint. My favourite out of the three small plates I chose was the mushroom and feta tacos; they were nothing short of incredible. The star of the tacos was definitely the mushrooms, as they were meaty (in a good way for a vegetarian), with a beautiful flavour. The smokiness of the ancho paired with the tangy feta was heavenly. The only disappointment was that there were only two- I could have happily eaten my weight in them.

Hannah’s three cheese quesadillas and cauliflower bites

The only dish out of the three I wouldn’t pick again was the black bean and three cheese quesadillas. For a small plate, I found them almost too filling that I struggled to finish the rest of my food. I’d also have liked some more flavour from the filling, as even with three types of cheese I found it quite bland. Regardless, the meal ended on a high note, as the last dish to arrive were the crispy cauliflower bites. Think perfectly crisp, well-seasoned batter, and a punchy aioli for an added kick to dip in. The cauliflower flavour wasn’t overpowering (which often seems the case with dishes like this), but it was just enough that the flavour still shone. It’s a shame these aren’t vegan so that more people can try them, as they’re too good not to order.

Often, being vegetarian in a restaurant means you have only a couple of options to pick from, which means eating there often can get a bit dull. However, there’s so many meat-free options at Wahaca that I don’t think I’ll ever get bored about eating here. I’ll definitely be returning to try more of the dishes!

Sasha Nugara

Today’s Covid climate has forced many restaurants to change their entire eating out experience in order to accommodate strict health and safety regulations. It is safe to say that Wahaca is no exception. Drip fed into the restaurant, we were given a comprehensive run down of the companies new policies and all the actions they were taking in order to ensure a safe experience. A one-way system had been formed around the restaurant and sheets of Perspex fixed onto the tables. If we could be confident about one thing, it was that they cared about our wellbeing.

The menu itself offered a dazzling selection of Mexican bites and the small plates option meant that I was able to sample as much as I could. I ordered the pork pibil tacos, the grilled chicken club quesadillas and the new cheese and chilli croquetas. The highlight of the meal was definitely the pork tacos due to the combination of succulent meat, tangy pickled onion and soft taco shell. The portion size was generous for a small plate – which I appreciated as I could eat them all day! The croquetas were perfectly round and perfectly cheesy but I would warn you to proceed with caution! Fortunately, I’m a huge spice fan and I absolutely loved the chilli wave, it was a perfect contrast to the mild quesadillas. They came with a tomatillo apple salsa which complimented the chilli perfectly and offered a refreshing after taste. Overall, the food did not disappoint, and I would recommend all that I ordered!

There’s nothing better than being able to enjoy your food with the comfortable knowledge that the journey it took to your plate was sustainable and had little effect on the environment. Wahaca have made moves to ensure their fish and meat come from trustworthy sources, making the special effort to become one of the first restaurants in the UK pass an audit by the Marine Stewardship Council and stock their approved fish. Equally, Wahaca was the first restaurant to become carbon neutral and they use renewable energy throughout their restaurants. They also help to fund the Improved Mexican Cookstove project which donates efficient cookstoves to low income households in Mexico, improving their livelihood and reducing fuel use as much as 58%. Its things like this which can help improve the eating out experience by tenfold as you guiltlessly support a company that are doing so much to give back. I will definitely be returning to Wahaca.

Tips for cooking in a Uni/shared kitchen

Over my years of uni kitchen cooking I have continuously struggled with the entire experience. The surfaces are always dirty, you can never find the right equipment and there is always way too many people in the kitchen at once. Here is a few tips to help you stay level headed in a chaotic environment!

Plan your cooking time

If I’m cooking something a little more time consuming like a lentil dal or risotto, I like to cook it during the day at an odd time when no one else is in the kitchen. I can spread myself out and dominate the room for an hour and make as much mess and use as much cooking equipment as I possibly can with little complaint. This means when I go to eat at a regular dinner time and there’s multiple people crowding up the room, I can just heat up my pre-prepared food! Also, I would have been able to wash everything up and clean the surfaces beforehand! I can enjoy my food coma in peace without being nagged to clean up all my stuff.

Make sure you wash everything up on time

When you live with 6 people who are all cooking for themselves throughout the day, it doesn’t take long for the kitchen to become absolutely crammed with dirty dishes. This creates such a nasty environment to live in and really puts anyone off from entering the room and cooking in there. If you live with messy people, it’s a good idea to set the example of doing your washing up early and keeping a tidy space. This encourages people to follow suit and removes at least one lot of washing up from the kitchen sides.

Hide any special things you don’t want anyone to use

I can become particularly attached to certain items of kitchen equipment and easily irritated if they are left used and unwashed. A microplane is my favourite item of kitchen equipment ever. It is so versatile and grating garlic and ginger has become a daily activity for me, so I want it to be in perfect condition. As soon as I started storing it at the back of my cupboard, preventing anyone using it to grate cheese on their bolognese, I never had any issues with locating it ever again. All had been restored to natural order once again.

Keep the kitchen cupboards well organised

A lot of equipment can be accumulated in a shared kitchen of 6 and it can become overwhelming when rooting through a cupboard to locate a saucepan among multiple cheese graters and colanders. If you’ve made the decision to share culinary equipment with your housemates (like we did), it is important to get a good system together. Stack the plates and bowls together in the same cupboard. Group together all saucepans and frying pans in a way that feels natural. When you need a cheese grater you want to be confident that you’ll find it before your pasta gets cold! Most importantly – make your system make sense! We all know that a kitchen knife doesn’t belong anywhere near a baking tray.

Be easy going

It is nearly impossible to completely change someone to having the same clean mindset as you and the best you can do is just go along with it. If you are forced to live in a messy kitchen, you don’t want to fill it with animosity. There’s nothing worse than having to co-exist in such a small space with someone who you’ve had consistent arguments and issues with. Uni students are not the cleanest of people and that is something you have to get used to!

The Coconut tree

Originally written for Quench student mag

As someone who has grown up immersed in Sri Lankan food and culture due to my father’s heritage, the opening of The Coconut Tree in Cardiff was an exciting moment for me. When I walked into the restaurant for the first time, I remember being instantly hit with a cultural punch reminiscent of those lazy days spent in Sri Lanka. The menu offered everything I could have asked for in order to acknowledge a true Sri Lankan foodie experience; parippu, kotthu, slow cooked tuna in goraka spices, coconut sambol and of course… hoppers. I enjoy making my own egg hoppers at home but it is a laborious task and will often result in me spending the whole morning slaving over the hob for my family, so, ordering them from a restaurant is a nice change! At Quench we wanted to get in touch with The Coconut Tree, delve into the background of their restaurant and find out about the inspiration behind their Sri Lankan theme. We were also interested to learn how they had coped with lockdown and what effects COVID 19 could have on their future.

 I was put into contact with the brand director Anna Garrod who was able to shed some light on The Coconut Tree’s origin story and the five young Sri Lankans who wanted to ‘bring Sri Lankan streetfood to the masses.’ The beginning of their journey was accompanied by calls to Ceylon to attain secret recipes from their mums and handmade furniture from their dads. This authenticity is so prevalent in their restaurants and creates such a refreshing experience. They made sure that the menu offered variety with the abundance of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as affordability with the pricing starting at £2.50. This way they have been able to fulfil their mission of ‘true Sri Lankan hospitality that ‘Everyone is welcome to the Table.’ ’ Anna says that Sri Lankans were born making food for an occasion, and, if my family are anything to go by, this is definitely true!

The Coconut Tree own six different branches across the UK, but they don’t see themselves as a chain. They are a group of owners who work in the business every day and night, from cooking to finance, to operations. After their initial opening in Cheltenham, they were picked up by the Guardian as one of the best ‘cheap eats in the South West’ and their business exploded from there. Since then they’ve opened branches in Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford and Bournemouth. Cardiff attracted them as the ‘lifestyle capital of Wales’ and the Welsh’s friendliness and love of eating out! Anna commented on the fact that both Lonely Planet and The Sunday Times listed Sri Lanka as the No1 ‘Best place to visit’ and the benefits it subsequently had on The Coconut Tree’s success and profile. The Coconut Tree are going to be a part of the Castle Eats project at Cardiff Castle, so Cardiffians will be able to sit outside the castle and enjoy a takeaway from TCT al fresco! TCT is located on Mill Lane, next to Côte Brasserie and opposite John Lewis. This is a perfect foodie location, as it is surrounded by some of Cardiff’s finest restaurants and TCT acts as a unique addition to this collection. It stands out with its bold, dark branding and its outdoor seating and bar creates a welcoming vibe, encouraging passers-by to pop in for a legendary cocotail!

An image provided by TCT of their delicious food

On the topic of lockdown and COVID19, the lack of business proved to be a struggle for all small to medium boutiques. TCT’s Cardiff location had only been open for six months, so for them to have come through the worst of lockdown and survived it is a big success for them! Social media acted as a positive method to keep in touch with their costumer base and give updates towards reopening. They started doing takeaways on Fridays and Saturdays throughout lockdown, but have now extended to every night thanks to the extreme popularity they received. They’ve recently opened their outdoor space with plans to start trading inside as well, so it’s onwards and upwards for TCT! They are participating in the August Eat Out to Help Out offer Monday – Wednesday, so it’s the perfect opportunity to get down there and try out their amazing food!

I asked TCT what they would recommend to a first time coconuter and they responded with two new hybrid dishes that they’ve recently added to their menu:

  • Devilled Pork & Pineapple: Mixing two famous Sri Lankan dishes, this spicy, sweet, tangy and sour dish is a vibrant mix of juicy belly pork, red chilli, onion and banana peppers with garlic, spring onion and seasoning. The pork is cooked in the spices, before the veg is finished on a hot plate with the pineapple ‘Achcharu Style’. 
  • Chicken Curried Kotthu: Two of The Coconut Tree’s best-loved and best-selling dishes come together for the first time; Vegetable Kotthu (finely chopped roti cooked with egg and vegetables, cooked on a searing hot plate), topped with juicy chicken off-the-bone in a rich curry sauce made with fennel, cardamom, cloves, cumin, house curry powder, onion and cinnamon. 

They sound delicious and I can’t wait to try them! Everyone should get down to The Coconut Tree to sample their amazing food and cocotails!