Sri Lankan street food brand the Coconut Tree plans to expand the brand across major UK towns and cities.
The Coconut Tree operates sites in Cheltenham and Oxford, is understood to have agreed terms on a site in central Bristol and has appointed leisure property specialists Fleurets to explore further sites.
The concept was founded by seven Sri Lankan friends living in the UK: Rodrigo Rashinthe (operations director), Mithra Fernando (financial director), Praveen Thanginah, Dan Fernando and Shamil Fernando, who opened the first Coconut Tree restaurant in Cheltenham in 2016.
The Coconut Tree serves tapas-style Sri Lankan street food and cocktails, including hoppers, coconut sambal, chicken kotthu and hot battered spicy cuttlefish.
They have been supported by brand director Anna Garrod, who was previously managing director of Moroccan-style bar brand Po Na Na, and more recently head of brand and revenue for the Lucky Onion group as part of her consultancy business.
Garrod said: “Both Cheltenham and Oxford have been welcomed by customers and critics alike and we believe strongly in the brand, which we are confident will work throughout the UK. The quality of the food and atmosphere sets us apart and we are excited about the next phase of our growth.”
Kevin Conibear, head of urban markets at Fleurets, is coordinating the search on the Coconut Tree’s behalf. He said: “The Coconut Tree is a great example of an innovative new brand that is making the UK restaurant and bar market so exciting at present. Whilst unfortunately we have witnessed some casualties in recent times, good quality concepts from emerging operators are thriving and the Coconut Tree has quickly established itself as a highly respected bar and restaurant with the quality to grow throughout the UK.”