Tan a Mwg
A unique dining experience at the Abandoned Chocolate Factory
Words by Anna Bowen, Photos by Callum Baker
Tan a Mwg is a pop- up restaurant/shared dining experience, the vision of Hannah and Derw, who bring it to life in venues around Wales and beyond. In April I attended their last feast (for now) at The Abandoned Chocolate Factory in Llanboidy, home of exquisite Nom Nom Chocolate.
The meal was a reminder that delicious food, clever concepts, and Instagrammable experiences are not restricted to big cities and waiting lists, but can be found here in West Wales. The meals at Tan a Mwg are based on the premise of menus made with local ingredients and prepared using traditional methods of cooking and preservation, allowing for creative flair and other cultural influences.
Hosted on long shared tables, with candle flames flickering, and fairy lights slung low from the ceiling, the ambience is cosy and conversation between groups is encouraged. I attended with one of my old schoolfriends; we were soon talking to another woman who was there on her own, and a larger group of people who made up our table. Great food is an ideal starter for sharing ideas and meeting new people, contributing to an incredibly friendly atmosphere; there were even a couple of dogs sitting at their owners’ feet.
The meal itself was delicious, and the team cater perfectly to dietary requirements; instead of focaccia bread, my starter was a gluten- free pancake made with laverbread, and perfect with the laver cultured butter. There was certainly no shortage of food; following the bread we shared kimchi pakoras, sprinkled with bottarga (a Sicilian fish roe) and torn up to be dipped in a divine wild garlic aioli.
True to the chocolate factory setting, the fettucine, served with rainbow chard and pepper pulse, was made with chocolate; ribbons of cocoa pasta that my tablemates declared a wonder. I was given smoked gluten- free gnocchi, the best I’ve tasted.
The main course came on an enormous plank that filled the table and encouraged everyone to dive in and share; lamb raised on the Towy valley, served with tidal vegetables, smoked celeriac and huge rustic chunks of swede. The lamb was cooked to perfect tenderness, falling apart as it was eagerly spooned on to the mismatched plates.
For those who had room Easter pudding was served with single origin cacao sorbet; I had the sorbet with poached rhubarb and a sprinkling of oat granola. Nom Nom chocolate was used as a dressing on the pudding, and jugs of delicately fragrant custard were brought out for those who wanted them.