In writing this piece I first had to do some research, firstly on The Coconut Tree and, somewhat more importantly, on Sri Lanka, a country I’ve tried and failed to visit three times now. I ploughed through the good, the bad, and the Instagram accounts for food reviews, googled the likes of ‘how do you eat a hopper?’ (you smoosh, apparently), and ‘history of the kotthu’. As much as I’d like to, I really don’t have it in me to just rock up, order some stuff I know nothing about, and focus on how boujee or cute AF a cocktail in an elephant is.

That elephant cocktail is cute, the drink a little less so. I’m more inclined to say you should hold it aloft and pretend you’re in The Lion King than splurge a tenner on what is mostly ginger beer. We order from a menu, paying no attention to the emoji key which haunts it, trying desperately to get a feel for the food. It ends up being almost entirely vegetarian which can only be a good thing. They have a large vegan menu which is a great thing.

I smoosh the shit out of the hopper and it’s okay, if a little flaccid and damp. The bowl shaped pancake with various sambals can be eaten (and probably should be) on its own, but I happen to like double folding it for strength and applying a little of elsewhere’s order; the stir fried chickpeas with loads of mustard seed go well with the coconut sambal, and whilst the cheesy Colombo feels like an identikit version of just about every paneer in gloopy sauce, it works really well with the caramelised onion.

I don’t like the pineapple curry. Don’t like it one bit. Thought I’d give it a try because I see part of this role is to explore the edges of the menu others might not reach, fully aware that it was going to go one of two ways. It’s not the pineapple which is the problem, it’s the base sauce which is flat and tastes like over watered down golden curry paste. It’s left to the kotthu to defeat us; the chopped veg and bits of darker chicken meat mingled with roti for substance. Is it supposed to be this muted? Every recipe I find online is heavy on the spice. We leave half for the following day where it makes a good breakfast.

The bill is £30 a head with a drink apiece for what was a hit and miss meal. I personally found it all a bit quiet and polite, lacking real depth of flavour and oomph. I have no idea if that’s what Sri Lankan street food is like, but I was expecting more technicolour. I’m sure it’s going to do very well in Birmingham, I’m just not sure that I’ll be rushing back.