Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, a side plate of peanut butter, and some yak chew. Not the most appealing of meals but by the looks of the mouths drooling as I enter the Dandie dog café in Hampstead, I have stumbled upon a diamond in the ruff.
For dog-lovers everywhere, this is by far the most perfect re-tail shop imaginable. Not only is it a place to buy your pet accessories, and grab a coffee on the go, but this dog-friendly café serves up a very exciting menu for canines and humans.
And not only will your pup feel lucky, but you can also ensure they don’t dine mucky as downstairs the clever owners of Dandie have provided a DIY wash area for your four-legged friends where you can give them a professional dog wash if you fancy.
And most importantly, fur-real, the café may be small but it is totally Covid-secure, with guests (two-legged ones) required to wear masks, tables distanced from each other, and regularly cleaning stations on the go.
For the owners of this establishment know only too well the importance of keeping Covid secure, having been forced to close in March, just days after opening as a new business.
With Hampstead renowned for having a large number of dog owners, the café is a welcome addition to the village. I, like many of the other visitors, arrive covered in muddy boots straight from a walk on Hampstead Heath, but there’s no airs and graces here.
Dog hair, muddy footprints, and wet bottoms (both humans and pets) go hand-in-hand with being a dog owner so leave it to the fantastic staff to take the lead! Want a bathrobe or towel, or just need a warm, snuggly fleece? And that’s just for the dogs!
Everything for pampered pooches has been thought of here. There are hooks for leads, individual water bowls attached to the wall, luxurious dog baskets, throws, bedding, and even a snug for dogs, which when we arrive has been kitted out like a Santa paws grotto. Our beloved pooches are, after all, like our children.
And on the subject of offspring, my 11-year-old licked his lips almost as much as Coco did when presented with a huge mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows.
The human menu was as good as the dog one –with similar menus cooked with different ingredients of course! So, as my son and I tucked into our poached eggs and sourdough brunch, Coco bit down on her Christmas dinner – just one of several doggy foods on the new festive menu.
And if there’s something else you want, the staff do everything they can to provide – want a veggie hot dog? No problem. A sausage dog? Sure. In fact……just as you can preface your order for food, the same goes for the dogs……okay you can’t order them but everyone dining around us was so friendly, with every type of breed of dog, so belly rubs and tickles on your neighbours are most welcome!
As we leave, Coco – the most nervous of dogs – seems so reluctant to go I can’t pry her from her spot. I guess it is either the beautiful Dalmatian next to us she can’t stop staring at or the bowl of leftovers she is guarding against her fellow canines.
I’m convinced, after everything she has eaten, we need to make a speedy exit! As we howl in laughter at her refusal to budge, it seems to start off all the dogs barking in unison – a noise that seems to bring Coco out of her food indulgent trance!
Whatever the reason, this is one pup and family that can’t wait to return soon!
Opening a business in the middle of a pandemic is a bit like barking up the wrong tree. But I have no doubt the Dandie café is set to run and run and run!
For more details, visit https://hampsteadvillagelondon.com/hampstead/dandie/