“ Address: 112 Dunstable St / Ampthill / Bedford MK45 2JP / Tel: 01525 841473 „
I will have to start by saying I have no idea where Dooyoo have got their picture from. They have used the right address but this is certainly not the right photo!
One of my best friends now lives a reasonable drive from me so to meet up we tend to choose somewhere midway and hope for the best. This time we picked Ampthill in Bedfordshire. Although this is an attractive little town there is a main road running through the middle so it is noisy and we soon realised that it lacked many places to sit and chat, in fact it lacked anything of interest at all!
We spotted The Coffee Pot easily as it has a corner location on the small traffic island in the middle of town and there was a table and chairs outside. As we entered we were immediately struck by just how tiny this establishment was inside, at 10.15 it was empty so we ordered two pots of tea at the counter and selected a round table in the window. The room was tastefully decorated with a hard wood floor. The tables varied in size and all had an assortment of brown leather chairs which gave a welcoming but smart feel. The Coffee Pot only has 5 tables inside so can really only accommodate about 16 people at the very most and there is certainly not any room for pushchairs or any disabled access. There was also a table outside which is nicely in the sun but as I mentioned the road was incredibly busy and loud and there were also a large number of ambulances and police cars for some reason too.
A lovely young lady bought us our tea over. She was polite and smiled but I think she was a little shy and didn't seem to want to engage in conversation but she was not rude. The tea was bought in new white pots with matching milk jugs and large cups and saucers and a little biscuit on the side too. There was enough tea and milk to easy provide us with two cupfuls each of nice quality tea. Next to the counter was a cabinet with delicious looking cakes and scones but we were very good and resisted the urge to try one. As we drank our tea the place rapidly filled up and we realised that we had timed it just right. We sat nursing our pots for about an hour without ever feeling harassed to buy more or to move on but when we realised there were no more empty tables we decided to leave as that was only fair on the business. We went to the counter to pay and found that each pot of tea was only £1 which is much better value than I can get at any cafes around where I live.
We decided to see what else Ampthill had to offer. After walking the length and breadth of the town which took a couple of minutes and also taking a lovely walk past the almshouses and the church we decided to look for somewhere for lunch. We tried the bakery but that was very sterile and I didn't want sausage roll and beans, the local pub was absolutely empty and when we asked to see a menu the bar-maid couldn't even be bothered to speak, we didn't fancy Chinese so we thought we would head back to The Coffee Pot to see what they offered.
This time the place was pretty full and considering the lunch options in the town I wasn't surprised. We took the last table which was only for two and was actually a little small but it was all that was left. The lunch menu consisted of sandwiches, salads, jacket potatoes and Panini's. There were not a huge amount of different fillings but I am sure most people could find something they would like. I selected a Tuna mayonnaise sandwich, it was available on either brown or white bread and I could also choose two salad fillings if I wanted as well. My friend picked a Jacket potato with cheese and onion. We also had more tea although there were a selection of coffees, soft drink cans and juices on the menu too. We had ordered all of these at the counter with the pleasant young lady we had seen earlier who welcomed us back.
Within a couple of minutes we had our pots of tea. A little while later our lunches arrived but we had a little trouble trying to fit everything on such a small table, in the end the waitress had to take the pot of sugar and the menu away to make enough room for us to actually eat.
I was very pleased with the appearance of my sandwich, the filling was really thick and it was served with a portion of crisps, a good sized side salad and coleslaw and it was only £3. The bread was soft and fresh and all of the ingredients were tasty, I was very pleased with my choice. My friends Jacket Potato was of a good size and had a generous amount of topping that was also served with a side salad. She said it was well cooked and she enjoyed it and felt it was good value at £3 too. Once again we did cast our eyes over the yummy looking cakes which all looked like they were homemade but we resisted trying them.
As we won't see each other again for a few months we did sit talking for ages before we realised that the place had completely emptied. However the couple of members of staff just busied themselves without making us feel that we had to go, even if they felt we should move!
Before leaving I went to find the toilet. This was just through the back of The Coffee Pot. You enter a narrow corridor with the hand wash basin at the end but the toilet door is just before it and this opens outwards. Thus ensues a little shuffling game as you sidle out of the toilet and try to get back to the sink if someone else wants to get past you. The toilet was very clean but there was no disposal bin of any kind in the cubicle. The sink was clean and although the tap was a bit loose it worked fine.
If we ever decide to hit the high spots of Ampthill again (very unlikely) then we would certainly return to The Coffee Pot. The staff were very nice and the place was very clean. I like the fact that everything was obviously prepared fresh so although the menu was limited that is much better than places that offer all sorts but it is pre-prepared and tasteless. This really is a tiny little place so if you are there over lunch or on a Market day you may struggle to get a table but having seen what else was on offer in the town I can see why!