Go gently into that good house
Where do you go when you want a dinning experience with a difference? EMMA JUDD and friends are some of the first to the first to try Dinner at Dylan's.
Dylan Thomas's house, Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea.
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This is home-cooked food without the washing up, and preceded by a tour of the much-loved poet's restored childhood home rather than by an amuse-bouche.
A party of up to eight people can go and eat at chez Thomas at any one time — so the crowd depends on who you invite to go with you. I went with a group of fellow Evening Post reporters, so depending on your feelings about journalists it was either a fun and rather bawdy affair — or the dinner party from hell . . .
Annie Haden, who runs the house with husband Geoff, is well-known for her appearance on Channel 4's Come Dine With Me. She told the group she doesn't know what she's going to cook in advance, as she buys mainly local, seasonal produce. Diners' tastes, allergies and other foibles are taken into consideration, however. The portions are large and hearty, and you can take your own wine.
What did we have?
Our starter was a wonderfully thick and creamy leek and potato soup with crusty bread. This was followed by oven-baked chicken, saute potatoes, baby carrots, asparagus, shallots roasted in their skins, a delicious pork stuffing, and broccoli in a mustard and cheese sauce. Pudding was a wonderfully rich lemon posset topped with chocolate. Simply sumptuous!
The Thomas house does not lend itself to wheelchair access, not least for the tour which includes the upstairs of the house. There would be a way to accommodate wheelchairs (and pushchairs) in the downstairs rooms, as the doorways are quite wide. It would be wise to check upon booking, however.
The food was tasty, and the house was warm and welcoming — it really was like having a dinner party without the stress. Finding out where Dylan Thomas, that great poet, playwright and author, was born and grew up was insightful.
Annie told us that she was planning to charge around £35 per head for a three-course dinner, wine, the Thomas tour, and all the hard work. She and Geoff serve the food and then leave the house to the guests.
We were impressed and had a great time at Cwmdonkin Drive — and we would recommend it to literary lovers looking for a slightly different gastronomic experience.
Visit our website devoted to Dylan Thomas