WE were saying our prayers as we headed for Aberdeen’s redeveloped Queen’s Cross Church.
Not because we were about to attend a service, but because we’d just heard its new community café was uber-popular and we desperately wanted a table.
The problem was we hadn’t booked in advance.
Cognito At The Cross, in the Granite City’s leafy West End, is the third in the Cognito brand – there’s another in nearby St Swithen Street (which Scone Spy has visited in the past) as well as Café On The Corner, in Mid Stocket.
The new offering is part of an ambitious revamp and extension of the historic granite kirk.
Now completed, it boasts not only a Sanctuary but a meeting place for community groups, served by a swanky, glass-fronted reception and the new Cognito café.
On the day your Spy visited it was buzzing, which came as no surprise when we learned that this place hosts breakfast clubs, youth groups, community choirs, drama and craft clubs along with classes for yoga, pilates and meditation.
Mums with toddlers were grabbing snacks, business folk were holding lunch meetings, and OAPs were gathering for coffee and cake.
We managed to find a space at a large dining table which we comfortably shared with a few others.
This place is earthy, with a stylish interior in wood, raffia, stone and glass and peppered with lush green plants.
The menu – prepared fresh each day – includes an extensive range of home bakes, paninis, focaccia, toasted sandwiches, bagels, baked potatoes, and salads along with soup and a hot dish of the day.
Although we were here for the scones – of which there were two varieties on offer, cheese or fruit – we decided to have lunch, too, and chose paninis.
I opted for bacon, brie and cranberry, while my two companions went for the smoked cheese, deli ham and sweet honey mustard variety.
The food arrived along with an optional and generous side salad. All very tasty.
We followed with the scones, trying both varieties. They were large, light and fluffy with just the right amount of outer crunch.
Mine was packed with fruit and was super tasty. Butter and jam to accompany the bakes was not served at the table with diners asked to take them from the cold counter.
The bakes were accompanied by ethically sourced and expertly blended Suki tea which is delicious.
Disappointingly on this occasion, however, it was served with a glass mug of hot water, ready to dunk, rather than in a pot.
But that did little to detract from the overall experience, which was heaven-sent.