Forest Feastival returns to Merthyr Mawr this September

Forest Feastival

The ‘Forest Feastival’ will return to its unique location – in a woodland, by a castle, near the sea – at Merthyr Mawr for four weekends, starting on Friday 2nd September.

The trader line up includes a couple of my favourite sustainable traders – plus a chance for diners to eat dishes from chefs who are brand new to street food, and some who are making a welcome return after opening bricks and mortar restaurants.

Read on for the full trader line up; I’ll be making a beeline for The Warren‘s sustainable Hazelwell farm Hogget, and some plant-based Jamaican food from The Real Ting!

Every weekend

  • Ansh – Ansh is a partnership between Aled Hill and Shaun Jones. They’ve built their restaurant business around ethical, sustainable burgers straight from the family farm which celebrate all they love about Wales. This will be a return to their street food roots and the first festival Ansh have appeared at since opening their restaurant.
  • Bao Selecta With a love of Taiwanese street food, Nick has been running Bao Selecta since 2016 and is a firm favourite with Forest Feastival visitors. Their crispy vegan “beef” bao topped with fresh vegetables and home-made sauce is one of my favourites.
  • Fire & Flank – Serving sou-vide cooked steaks which are flash fried and served with homemade sauces. On the menu will be their flank steak with cheesy garlic mash and chimichurri which won Best Main Dish at the 2021 British Street Food Awards.
  • La Pantera – La Pantera was started by a group of pals who wanted to bring tacos and mezcal to Cardiff in a casual, informal restaurant setting. They celebrate the unauthentic taco – with an ever-changing menu with everything from lobster thermidor to crispy duck. 
  • Mr Noodle – Mr Noodle is run by two Michelin trained chefs who cook Ramen for fun. They’ve worked in fine dining restaurants around the world in London, Tokyo and New Zealand. This summer they opened a Mr Noodle Izakaya & Ramen Bar pop up in Bristol. They got into street food to add a bit more fun to their lives – while still cooking great food.
  • Pwdin – The ultimate comfort food. Serving all homemade classic puddings, Pwdin are famous for their sticky toffee pudding.
  • The Fork Society – Bringing restaurant-inspired dishes with a street food twist, the Fork Society are making a triumphant return to Forest Feastival – since last time, they’ve won the 2022 Welsh Street Food Awards People’s Choice Award for their char-grilled pork steaks, served on skin-on fries with homemade chimichurri. 
  • The Warren – Chef Deri Reed cooks simple, wholesome food using local, seasonal and organic ingredients. On the menu will be organic Hazelwell Farm hogget koftas with a range of accompaniments made from local, home-grown and foraged ingredients. In 2019, Deri was crowned chef of the year at the Sustainable Restaurant Awards.
  • Tukka Tuk Canteen – The latest venture from chef Anand George is inspired by South Indian dishes – dosas and malabar parotta with authentic curries. Anand is opening Tukka Tuk Canteen as his fourth restaurant soon, so this will be an exclusive opportunity to preview the menu.
  • The Rock & Scallop Championing as much Welsh and British seafood and shellfish as possible, Rock & Scallop are famous for their lobster & seafood rolls and scallops cooked in their shells. The Rock & Scallop restaurant is due to open later this year, so this is a chance to experience what they’ll be offering in advance.

On rotation for one weekend only

  • Bare Bones Pizza – Father and son team Mike and James front this family business which has been serving Neapolitan style pizza at festivals across the UK since 2014. All their pizzas are cooked in wood-fired ovens using local ingredients and their menu has a weekly special along with vegan and gluten free options. 
  • Hot Damn Wings – Hot Damn are returning for the first time this year to cook at Forest Feastival. Local boy Ryan serves wings with his home-made sauces including his Pap’s Hot Sauce, a recipe his dad brought back from Zimbabwe in the 1980s.
  • The Real Ting – Albert Vale moved to Wales from Jamaica in 2020 just before the pandemic and spotted a huge opportunity to share his Jamaican cuisine. 80% of the menu is vegan/plant-based with a focus on nutritious, freshly made food. 
  • Tokyo Nights – A trip to Japan for the Rugby World Cup inspired street food chef Oli to create Tokyo Nights – he’ll be bringing his free range chicken yakitori to Forest Feastival.

Matt ‘the Hat’ is the founder of Forest Feastival. He said:

“We’re really focusing on food – bringing the best from Wales and some inspiring visitors from further afield. It’s a mix of Street Food Circus favourites – including several British and Welsh Street Food Award winners – new traders who people will not have seen before and a couple of chefs previewing dishes from restaurants they’ve yet to open. It’s a beautiful time of year to be out amongst the trees and the dunes on this unique site – and we’ve got one of our most exciting chef line-ups ever to make it a food experience to remember.”

Forest Feastival

Essential Info

Tickets cost £5+VAT & booking fee per person, with kids going free. The ticket price includes a Forest Feastival reusable cup for use at the bar and free parking – though organisers ask visitors to use public transport or share cars where possible to keep pressure on the local roads to a minimum. Tickets must be bought in advance and are on sale now at forestfeastival.com

Dates & Times:

From 2nd September to 25th September, the event will run:

  • Friday – 6pm – 10pm (one session)
  • Saturday – 11am – 10pm (three sessions)
  • Sunday – 12am – 8pm (two sessions)

Location: Merthyr Mawr, Bridgend CF32 0LS

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