A Spotlight on Monkey Tree Deli

Jun 23, 2019

Monkey Tree Deli in Wigton was the very first place in Cumbria and the Lake District to offer freshly roasted Carvetii coffee, proudly making it Carvetii’s longest serving customer and a trailblazer for specialty coffee in Cumbria. 

Where is it? 

Wigton – a traditional market town in Cumbria, just 11 miles south of Carlisle on the edge of the Lake District. Monkey Tree is tucked down a small alley just off the high street. 

How long has it been there? 

Monkey Tree opened in 2011 in a smaller venue but moved to its current premises on Westmorlands Lane in 2012. 

Who’s in charge? 

Co-owners Ishka Sanderson-Dickson and Jil Barke. Plus a fabulous team of local women – Kim, Helen & Jeanne – that they couldn’t do without.  

What’s the vibe? 

Kind of quirky. Monkey Tree is inside one of Wigton’s oldest buildings and much of the furniture has been upcycled from other places around town including solid apothecary drawers and an oak counter from the old chemist. Outside, eye-catching shutters are painted Mediterranean blue and inside a deli counter with fresh food and cakes, and a giant blackboard of specials tempt the tastebuds. And its Cumbria, so of course there’s an abstract painting of a cow on the wall and shelves of pots showcasing talented local artists and craftspeople. 

Who goes there? 

A lovely mix of regulars and people discovering it for the first time. Monkey Tree is a bit of a hub and is especially popular with ladies dining on their own but like to share tables and chat to one another, giving it a comfy, relaxed vibe. 

What’s the food like? 

Mediterranean inspired dishes with lots of different flavours and a good range of healthy, vegan, veggie, and gluten free options. Everything is made from scratch by Jil, Ishka and their small team including all breads; from pitta breads to seeded wheat & rye breads, plus lots of salads, pies, flans, tapas, sharing platters, and delicious cakes. 

What cake should we order? 

Current favourites are the gluten free dark chocolate brownie or orange & apricot cake with orange cream. Ishka has really cracked a recipe for fantastic gluten free pastry with Parmesan & Thyme, currently going down well as various savoury flans. 

And washed down with..?

Seasonal blend Carvetii coffee. Jil’s a hardcore espresso drinker and Ishka plumps for a cortado. In terms of popularity, Monkey Tree customers tend to be split between americano’s and lattes.

Why Carvetii Coffee? 

Monkey Tree Deli is Carvetii’s longest running customer and they first started supplying the coffee in 2011. Jil loves the fact that their specialty coffee is seasonal so she can tell customers when the beans have changed and chat to them about the differences in notes and flavours with each new seasonal blend. 

What do people say about Monkey Tree? 

Ishka and Jil get lots of fantastic comments about both the food and coffee and people are struck by the warm, friendly atmosphere when they first walk through the door. 

Any interesting facts about Monkey Tree? 

The building next door (now a hairdressers) was once a pub and Monkey Tree was believed to be the stables and storage for barrels of beer. Its had many uses over the years; from an antique shop to a hat shop. 

Where did the name ‘Monkey Tree’ come from? 

Sitting in the garden at home with a glass of wine and debating what to call it, Jil and Ishka noticed that their next door neighbours had a monkey tree in their garden and realised that their neighbours in their previous home also had monkey tree… and so Monkey Tree deli was born. 

What else should people do in Wigton? 

Visit the Fountain Art Gallery – it’s a really special place owned and run by the artists whose work is exhibited there. There’s lots of unique pieces for sale from paintings, jewellery and pottery to ceramics and woodwork. Wigton is still a really friendly traditional market town with lovely individual shops, and even has three, yes three (!) butchers and a greengrocers. 

Anything else? As well as running Monkey Tree, Jil is also a music agent and Ishka a qualified hypnotherapist and counsellor. The pair used to hold sell-out music concerts at home with supper thrown in, which honed their love of combining food and music. Occasionally Monkey Tree opens for small musical events and themed evenings with the next one being a traditional Spanish affair with homemade tapas. 

What Monkey Tree say about us…

“We love everything about Carvetii Coffee. We were still in our old premises when Gareth and Angharad came to see us armed with lots of coffee and spent a lot of time with us. They are such a lovely couple, are incredibly passionate & knowledgeable about coffee, and love what they do.”

What customers say about Monkey Tree…

Fantastic scones

“Just popped in for coffee. Lovely cinnamon scones, good coffee and splendid service from friendly staff.” 


“Drive out of your way to eat here, fantastic food, friendly service and GREAT coffee! Thank you Monkey Tree.”

Friendly & best coffee in Wigton

I visit the Monkey Tree regularly and always find the staff very friendly and welcoming. The food is fantastic and there are always great vegetarian options. They serve the best coffee in Wigton and beyond. 

Monkey Tree Deli is open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4.30pm (10am-2pm on Tuesday & 10am-2.30pm on Saturday). 

Monkey Tree Deli, 1 Westmorlands Lane, Wigton, 016973 45898. 

Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/monkeytree.wigton/