Monty & Mabel’s
Popping over the border, Wiltshire's first doggy cafe is absolutely.… wait for it… the cat's whiskers. Muddy Wiltshire's Joanna sniffs it out.
This June, Muddy took a doggy-inspired trip to gorgeous Wilton, a quintessential Wiltshire market town with a history spanning more than 2,000 years. The town gave its name not only to Wiltshire itself but also to the famous Wilton Carpets, but more excitingly it’s now a thriving centre of cool, including indi delicatessen Archett and Garne (they do cheese wedding cakes!), farmshop/cafe/deli Bird and Carter, gorgeous home design company Mio Interiors as well as funky gift shop Bay Window.
On the edge of town lies Wilton House, set in 21 acres of landscaped parkland with water and rose gardens beside the River Nadder. The magnificent Inigo Jones staterooms include the famous Double Cube Room – the finest surviving 17th-century stateroom in England, designed to display family portraits by Van Dyck.
But for the moment, off we go back into town and the über-funky doggy cafe that is Monty and Mabel’s.
Think cool London club (5 Hertford Street, anyone?) meets yummy local bakery meets everything-you-could-possibly-think-of-to-buy-for-your-pup and you’ve got Monty and Mabel’s. The front area around the coffee bar with its midnight blue walls, neon signs and crazy doggie wallpaper could be mistaken for an urban bar, while the calmer, lighter rear area and courtyard garden are perfect havens for perfectly behaved pooches. Gorgeous art on the walls by Andrew Walworth and doggy portraits by Helen Rushton among others add to the relaxed atmosphere for you and your pup.
SCOFF AND QUAFF
Food includes Scotch pancakes with fresh berries and maple syrup, and the obligatory smashed avocado for breakfast, followed by a lunch menu of simple but delicious platters – choose from cheesy, fishy, meaty or veggie. Home made cakes include gluten-free, dairy-free and GIN AND TONIC CAKE! I might just have found my nirvana… Treat your pet to a range of biscuits or pupcakes (sorry), doggie donuts, even doggie iced treats, all washed down with pawsecco (sorry, again. Might need a lie down after this…) The coffee is micro-roasted from well-renowned Winchester Coffee Roasters and the tea is from mixologists (nope, me neither) Bluebird of Brighton, ‘spreading happiness with every cup’.
Yes, of course, but you’re missing the elephant in the room. It’s a DOG CAFE, so it’s super-dooper doggie friendly. Lovely owner Corinne knows her stuff about dogs, so even dogless families can enjoy other peoples’ pets in a safe, calm environment.
OUT & ABOUT
Well, obviously you’re going off on a dog walk after this, so fortunately there are great local walks around Wilton. Old Sarum is a lovely circular walk from the Old Castle down to Avon Bridge, while Grovely Woods offers the largest tract of woodland in southern Wiltshire, straddling the Wylie and Nadder valleys and boasting an avenue of beeches that in a previous life was an old Roman road. Fairy tales and witches’ stories abound here, so watch out!
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Dog owners, dog lovers and everyone in-between. Even dogs aside, it’s a pretty cool caff. Plus, it doubles as a pet shop with unusual toys and clothes for dogs so you can keep spending even when you’re taking a break.
Not for: Stating the bleedin’ obvious – those who don’t like dogs. You’ll get a good few yappie Westies in here on an average day.
The Damage: Not too bad – usual posh cafe prices. Lunch platters are £8.95, breakfast starts from £1.95 .
Monty and Mabel’s, 9 North Street, Wilton, Salisbury, Wilts SP2 0HA. Tel: 01722 744414. montyandmabels