I love brunch. I know some people think it’s overrated or just something the gals do to get together and gossip over some Eggs Benedict and a glass or two of bubbly.
But to the naysayers out there, let me ask you this… Why wouldn’t you want to indulge on some delicious food while catching up on all the latest gossip? Don’t worry, I’ll soon have you convinced because Harlem Café in Belfast offers quite the brunch experience.
Firstly, the exterior really gives nothing away in terms of the treasures that lie inside. As soon as you open the door, it feels like you’ve entered a fantastical wonderland. Think wonderment levels of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, Lucy opening the door to Narnia or indeed, that first glimpse of Hogwarts.
A huge bright space that resembles a greenhouse, don’t be surprised if you have to wait a little while. We, that is my friend Megan and myself, were a little apprehensive when we arrived as there were three groups ahead of us.
Thankfully, there’s quite a decent turnaround at Harlem and we were seated within 15 minutes, which anyone who has dined at some of the country’s more popular brunch venues will attest to, this is quite an achievement.
Once inside, Harlem is beautifully decorated from floor to ceiling, not to mention the numerous paintings and vintage furniture. Our table had a seaside feel to it with sand and shells hiding away beneath the glass.
Admiring the view from our dangerous place by the dessert counter, we perused the menu. Intending to only order a juice (we had had a substantial breakfast a mere two hours ago), we just couldn’t resist the allure of the drool-worthy pancakes.
Myself and Megan are the kind of people that no matter how full we may be, there’s nothing to be done when the words red velvet appear on the menu.
Ordering the pecan and banana red velvet pancakes, I was almost salivating in anticipation. Megan on the other hand, ordered the strawberry and Nutella red velvet pancakes.
To keep our minds occupied while waiting for our indulgent dishes to arrive, we ordered some sparkling goodness. I went for the Bottle Green elderflower drink while Megan was in more of a raspberry mood.
Light and refreshing, it was exactly what the doctor ordered, especially as we had just devoured a cup or two of coffee down the road (clearly we like to treat ourselves when we’re away for the weekend).
As soon as our dishes arrived in front of us, huge grins followed by a mental stretching of the stomach ensured us that a good feed was about to occur.
As previously mentioned, I was all set to eat a batch of cinnamon, banana and candied pecan pancakes and my eyes only watered further when I set eyes on the ice cream and dusting that added to the aesthetics of the dish.
Aesthetics aside, it was a truly delicious taste of heaven. The red velvet pancakes were sublime and the banana and candied pecans were divine. Even as I struggled to finish the last few bites, I simply couldn’t leave the pecans behind.
Across the table and my dining companion made great strides with her pancakes, scooping up the last of the chocolatey goodness with a final piece of pancake.
As we waddled up to the counter to pay, I remembered reading that Harlem is actually a popular venue for wedding celebrations and to be honest, looking at how the venue is decorated, it would be perfect for celebrating your nuptials.
Our little indulgent morning came to £22.
34 Bedford St,
REVIEW BY SARAH GLASCOTT