Sweet temptation at The Plwmp Tart in Penbryn

Sit on the terrace when the sun’s out at the Plwmp Tart © Plwmp Tart

Housed in a prettily converted stone cart house, the Plwmp Tart is everything a coastal cafe ought to be – and a lot more. The location is dreamy, for starters, with the cafe abutting sunlit beech woods that spill down to the bay of Penbryn. And organic and garden-grown ingredients go into light lunches and cakes – all made with a pinch of love.

Why we love it…

Anticipation is sometimes everything, and swinging along the narrow, hedgerowed back lanes of Ceredigion, you have time to work up an appetite for this delicious little cafe. Or perhaps you’ve trudged up through the sun-dappled beech woods from the National Trust beach of Penbryn and its impressive curve of golden sand. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

Given its beautiful coastal situation, it would be so easy (and sadly mighty common practice) to get away with flogging bland sandwiches and bad coffee, but Plwmp Tart owners Annabel and Darren believe in making food they would be happy to eat themselves. They are passionate about sourcing all ingredients either from their own garden or local suppliers, so the farm-to-fork menu strongly champions what’s in season. Just make sure you save an inch for the cakes and plump tarts that give the cafe its name – these are worth the journey alone. Undiscovered Wales always starve themselves a little before heading here to be sure they have room in their bellies!

Penbryn Beach, a few minutes’ walk through woodland from the Plwmp Tart © Kerry Walker

The vibe

Plonked down a narrow lane alongside farm buildings just before you hit the beach of Penbryn, the Plwmp Tart lodges in a cute cart house that has been lovingly transformed into a tiny cafe bubbling with personality. Whitewashed stone walls, painted wainscotting and polka-dot tablecloths create a warm, homely feel. We particularly like cute touches like the proper ceramic teapots and fresh flowers on tables. There are just a couple of tables, incidentally, so you might find yourself having to wait your turn on a hot summer weekend. Luckily these are rare. And there’s always the terrace, where walkers in mucky boots and their dogs are welcome.

The location is one of our all-time favourites: the cafe sits on the edge of beech woods that tumble down to Penbryn and its sizeable scoop of golden sand. A footpath threads down to the beach, or you can hook onto the Ceredigion Coast path to walk along the clifftops to the even more secluded cove of Traeth Bach and on to Llangrannog. In spring the woods are misted with bluebells.

A friendly welcome at the Plwmp Tart © Plwmp Tart

The welcome

This is a friendly, family-run affair, with just a sprinkling of tables. We like the fact that they cater for families and people with allergies. If there is something you would like, you only have to ask.

Heavenly cakes at the Plwmp Tart © Plwmp Tart

The menu

Everything is prepared with care here, with the menu strongly reflecting seasonal, local and homegrown produce. The vegetables, eggs, cheese and the milk for the ice cream come from surrounding farms and dairies, and there is freshly roasted coffee from Bay Coffee Roasters, just a mile up the road. This emphasis on quality and lack of corner cutting has attracted a loyal local following.

Chalked up on a blackboard, the day specials always include homemade quiches, salads and soups. Personally we can heartily recommend the fresh crab salad and the artisan panini with salami, mozzarella, rocket, roasted sweet peppers and artichoke hearts. Then there are the irresistible cakes that you’ll clock as soon as you approach the counter, which have a seasonal feel in the likes of plum and raspberry frangipane tart and petal-sprinkled pistachio and rose water cake. Bonus points for the fact there is always one gluten-free option.

At a glance

Welcome: 9 Always a smile and a genuine willingness to please.

Food: 9 No complicated menus here, just good honest food prepared with local, seasonal ingredients and truly scrumptious cakes.

Location: 10 Quite the coastal dream.

Cost: Low. With an artisan panini costing £7 and cake around £4 a slice, a satisfying lunch comes in at just over a tenner.

Opening hours: 10-5pm daily Easter-October; weekends rest of year (times subject to change – check Facebook for updates).

Address/telephone number: Penbryn, Llanborth, Llandysul SA44 6QL; 01239-758100

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