Yay: a new café called the Perfect Cup opened on Monday in Sandy, taking over the former premises of Stead and Simpson across the road from Budgens, and I went to have a visit. It’s a very good location to have a café which makes good use of its enormous windows for people watching, although it’s hard to avoid the feeling you’re being watched when you’re inside. There were a good number of people doing double takes when they noticed the new café, which was fun to watch.
Initial impressions were good: it is very spacious, is nicely done out and has nice wooden furniture and a few sofas to fight over which my children tried to smear with chocolate muffin. They do a variety of coffee, off-the-shelf soft drinks, sandwiches, and cakes (muffins, millionaire shortbread, etc.) very much along the lines of a Costa Nero. The staff were very friendly too. There were a few signs that this was their first day, such as there being no stirring sticks laid out, although I sprinkle my sugar on top of frothy coffees rather than stirring it in, so this wasn’t an issue, and I could have asked I suppose.
From the point of view of someone bringing their children there, which is a big issue in Sandy, it was a mixed bag. There was a high chair and lots of space to park pushchairs, both by the door and between tables. It’s also easy to get to as it’s right in the middle of town. The drink selection was not ideal: they did a babyccino (frothy milk without the coffee underneath), which my eldest didn’t want, and some large Oasis bottles, but some fruit juice or milkshakes would have been nice. The cakes and biscuits were also a bit major, although my children had no trouble with a large chocolate muffin which they were also kind enough to share with the sofa. There were also baby change facilities, but I didn’t use those so I’ll have to spare a graphic account of that.
I’d say the coffee wasn’t as nice as Archie & Mabel’s down the road, which does one of the nicest coffees I’ve ever had. The large amount of toys and books to keep children amused at Archie & Mabel’s is also something that Perfect Cup doesn’t have, and the former also has better artwork (by local artists), which you can buy if have quite a bit of money spare. Since I last wrote on Archie & Mabel’s, you can now also get savoury snacks like crumpets and toast, as well as sandwiches. It will be interesting to see how the café market goes in Sandy. Sandwich Express has closed down and there was a sign outside it on Monday pointing punters towards P.J.’s on the High Street, which I thought was funny. I do hope that Archie & Mabel’s isn’t affected too much as it is too much of an asset to the town and, while I also would like to see Perfect Cup do well- the more choice the merrier, and the location if nothing else is excellent for a café or restaurant- Archie & Mabel’s is a more personal and charming little café that gives Sandy some personality.
There is, however, still the Mystery of the Other Room. The space that Stead & Simpson occupied is only partly occupied by the Perfect Cup. However the only entrance to the other bit appears to be through the Perfect Cup. I have heard rumours that it might be a children’s soft play area, like Café Kidz in Biggleswade. That would certainly change things. It would make sense as there are what look like boarded up windows along that side of the cafe, which presumably could be opened up a later date.
More pictures on Flickr.