This Coal Mining-Themed Restaurant Serves Food on Actual Shovels

Weekend reservations at The Mine Bistro currently have a two-month wait.

The Mine
Photo: Courtesy of The Mine

Spending a couple hours in a mine sure doesn't sound like an amazing night out, but a mining-themed restaurant in Wales, fittingly called The Mine Bistro, has become one of the harder reservations to score in the United Kingdom — in large part due to the viral appeal of the way the food is served.

Located in the tiny village of Cwmgwrach, The Mine — which, after a pandemic delay, was able to open in August 2020 and operates out of an old stock room in a convenience store — only has about six or seven tables. But scoring a seat isn't easy. "Currently there is around a nine-week booking queue for Fridays and Saturday evenings," owner Stuart James tells me. "Although we do have cancellations, but as soon as we post these on social media, they fill up quickly."

The Mine
Courtesy of The Mine

James explains that the whole concept was developed to pay homage to his family and country. "The village is surrounded by current and existing coal mines, hence the reason of the mine. My dad and his ancestors were all miners so the name fully fits in with my own and many others heritage," he says. "We fitted out the mine with memory walls, pictures and artifacts to resemble and promote our past. We also display local artist's paintings."

But though customers aprpeciate the decor, the real showstopper is how the massive portions of food are served: often on literal shoves or slates. And the bistro has smaller shovel spoons for diners to eat with as well. In the age of Instagram, the whole thing has been a hit on social media.

"Even the toilets are called The Pits," wrote Robert Dalling, a senior reporter for Wales Online, who was able to dine at the restaurant. He ordered the Breast of Heaven burger — a combo of a beef patty and a southern fried chicken breast along with bacon, cheese and BBQ sauce. "There was no signs of plates, instead, our food was brought out and served on shovels," he confirmed.

Dalling did add that he had to make sure "to avoid the disaster of hitting the handle of the shovel and sending chips flying all over the place." But all told, he wrote that The Mine is "a little hidden gem tucked away in an unassuming spot" that offers "good food, [an] intimate setting and friendly staff."

In that regard, it sounds like eating off a literal shovel is just a bonus, really.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles