In search of something sweet to eat I headed to Tripadvisor favourite, Utopia café in Southend.

The dog friendly independent coffee shop, off of Southend High Street, is committed to serving the best coffee, breakfasts and lunches, plus homemade treats.

There are plenty of well-loved coffee shop chains on the high street but it is the independent ones that seem to go the extra mile when it comes to their service and produce.

I went along to Utopia Café at The Royals on Heygate Avenue to find out why they are such a hit with people.

The café has a 4.5 rating on Tripadvisor and visitors rave about their great coffee, much loved bacon sandwiches and homemade goodies.

Echo: Array of goodies - the Utopia homemade sweet treatsArray of goodies - the Utopia homemade sweet treats (Image: Newsquest staff)

The café was buzzing with mums and babies as well as lots of folks gathered in the relaxed café with its array of sofas and tables to sit at.

Gerry O’Grady and Teresa Hindle took over Utopia in 2017 and have been putting exceptional coffee at the forefront ever since.

The dog friendly café, who have a jar of biscuits ready for hungry hounds, roast their own coffee nice and dark and they only use Guatemalan beans.

On the menu there are things like crumpets, bacon sandwiches, toast and topping, lunches include salads, a variety of paninis, sandwiches, toasties and wraps, all competitively priced.

Taste test

There was a good display of delicious looking cakes, pastries and goodies when I went to visit the café.

Sweet goods included homemade cakes, vegan and gluten free jammie shortbread, salted caramel brownies, cherry Bakewell, vegan choc chip cookies, choc chip muffins and peanut butter slices.

I went for a peanut butter slice and one of the cafes popular home roasted coffees.

Echo: Irresistible - peanut butter sliceIrresistible - peanut butter slice (Image: Newsquest staff)

The big slab of peanut buttery goodness was handed to me in a paper takeaway bag along with my coffee.

I broke off a piece of the slice and savoured the nutty crunch combined with the buttery shortcrust biscuit.

Any illusion that I wouldn’t eat the whole thing eventually faded away as I couldn't resist the sweet tastiness.

This was all washed down nicely with the hot cup of coffee which had a fragrant and a deep rich taste.

If I am I need of a sugar fix again I will head straight to Utopia in Southend.