When the 2011 MTV European Music Awards rolled into town Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody excitedly remarked “Walking about Belfast at the moment – it doesn’t know itself”. (If you missed it, check out this video of Snow Patrol’s performance of ‘Run’ at Belfast City Hall – he looks pleased as punch to be performing to the home crowd and so do the thousands of people singing along with him. I love it!)
It’s true that over the past decade the city – and the province as a whole- has experienced something of a metamorphosis. Events like Culture Night, Belfast Festival, The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and, of course, the EMAs have placed Northern Ireland’s capital city firmly on the map for wanderlusty culture vultures. And, as everybody knows, where there’s great culture great coffee’s never far behind.
Enter Established Coffee. Perched on the edge of the Cathedral Quarter, where the Hill and Talbot streets meet, you’d be mistaken for thinking this is ‘just another hipster cafe’. Thanks to some, (perhaps, well-earned,) bad press, when I think ‘hipster’ I associate quirky clothes with a bad attitude, serving up below par coffee for sky high prices in Dalston. In Established the staff are legit hip in the loveliest of ways. They are Kinfolk cool with sunny dispositions and expert knowledge of beans and blends that makes a welcome change from the muck in a cup with a side of vacant stare that have been served up to me on Brick Lane.
You can tell the team really love the coffee they serve. I get the impression they’ve tried and tested a lot of products, curating the best of the bunch to present to their customers. Each time I’ve called in I’ve had a different recommendation of coffee to try but it’s never felt like I was getting the ‘hard sell’. They genuinely want to share great food and drink with their customers and their friendly approach is wonderfully refreshing.
The place was buzzing when I met my friend Karen for lunch and a long overdue yarn. The decor is very simple – clean lines with an overall industrial look that is softened by the odd splash of colour and a few rustic bouquets displayed in Chemex. A long central table in front of the counter makes the place feel very social. It’s true that if you go into a Belfast bar on your own you’ll leave with a few friends so I’m sure the same is true with coffee shops!
Having tried – and loved – their lattes I was delighted to see if their food was of the same standard and I’m delighted to say it is! We had a lovely lunch made from locally sourced produce and the portions, as you can see below, were hearty – a Northern Irish trait! We don’t tend to scrimp on our food. Before our visit I followed Established on Instagram as they always post pictures of their weekend specials, which they change every week. The food looks even more appetising in 3D and based on what we ate I can confirm it tastes as good as it looks!
Of course, the greedy gorbs we were meant we had to round off our meal with another round of coffees and some cake. In our defence – as if we needed one- we were there for rather a long time catching up on several months worth of exciting developments in each other’s lives!
If you’re planning a trip to the city this weekend set a little time aside to call into Established. It’s a great spot for solo travellers and families alike and is also wheelchair accessible though the door to get in is a bit heavy. They serve the kind of coffee that blows your Starbucks completely out of the water and better still, they’ll serve it with a smile! Let me know how you get on! In the meantime I’ll be drooling over their Instagram feed until I’m next home.
See you Sunday!xx