“Jeepers Creepers, where’d you get those peepers” cooed Louis Armstrong as I wandered in, wide-eyed, to one of the newest additions to Belfast’s bustling restaurant scene. Hands down the most visually show-stopping of them all, Gallery Café on Dublin Road opened just last month and if we eat with our eyes, at Gallery the feast begins the second you walk in the door.
Luxurious furnishings are mismatched in theory but meticulously curated in reality, like sitting in the most beautiful show room you’ve ever seen. Plush grey bucket seats and an oak communal bench the length of the room sit under grandiose chandeliers, hanging from exposed vents – shabby chic, this is not.
Vibrant splashes of art work contrast with portraits from Marilyn Monroe to Elvis to Audrey Hepburn. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one thing, but the minute I stepped in the door I felt sure breakfast at Gallery would be an instant classic. Upstairs I spot an alluring mezzanine level, which is closed off for breakfast but teases the eye from above, willing a return evening visit should the food turn out to be even half as sumptuous as the decor.
A simple but well rounded breakfast menu included tempting sweet classics like French Toast with toasted pecans and maple syrup or a nearly irresistible Pancake Stack with banana and toasted coconut. On the savoury front, the ubiquitous Ulster Fry with traditional potato bread as well as a “New York Breakfast” of a poached egg topped toasted bagel with halloumi and pastrami would break your fast with gusto.
With numerous options to mull over I resorted to my morning mantra – “But first, coffee” – and kicked off proceedings with an almond milk flat white(£2.80). Crafted with Bailie’s Coffee, which is roasted locally, dark, brooding and moreish in flavour and pretty as a picture thanks to aspirant Barista Championship competitor Amy’s latte art skills. Like the overall veneer, the coffee at Gallery is on point and the attention to detail carries through, re-enforcing the fact that Belfast is becoming a go to for a great cup of Joe. Yes I ordered a second and no I’m not sorry.
Having savoured my first coffee on its own, my appetite kicked in and in my opulent surroundings I couldn’t help but gild the lily on my breakfast dish of choice by requesting hollandaise alongside Poached Eggs and Smashed Avocado on Sourdough. A delicate and light hollandaise with well pitched acidity barely clung to two plump poached eggs on a generous bed of perfectly ripe avocado mash.
The millenial dream combo of oozing egg yolk porn and lashings of avocado was propped up on thick cut artisan sourdough, delivered from local bakery The French Village each morning, and needed no more than a cracked black pepper sprinkle to complete one of life’s simple breakfast pleasures. Uncomplicated, satisfying fare with all the right accessories – Gallery makes it look effortless.
To end on a sweet note, a bowl of Organic Granola, dotted with sultanas and toasted almonds was pleasantly pimped up with delicious warm cherry compote. I would have preferred to see a homemade version on offer but this cured my sweet tooth nonetheless, as exceedingly tempting patisserie offerings from Belfast Baking Company would have done had I spotted them sooner – I must have been blinded by the chandelier sparkle and glamour.
Are macarons a legitimate breakfast food? Holly Go Lightly likely wouldn’t object to such luxury and might have grabbed one to go, alongside a danish to nibble whilst window shopping…next time. My bill for a leisurely breakfast with two well-crafted flat whites came to £16.
Gallery is an exhibition of sheer opulence. Pop in for breakfast and prepare to want to linger – this is the café embodiment of a slinky Chanel black dress, over-sized sunglasses, pearls and evening gloves. This achingly chic new café sits on the ground floor of an equally luxurious apartment complex development – I may just have to move in.
70 Dublin Road
T: +44 (0)28 9043 4344
Growing up with the name Darina, I was constantly asked if I could cook like my namesake. With that(and greed) as the ultimate motivator, I realised that baked goods make excellent bribes and an obsession was born! I am the only person to have contested both Masterchef and the Great Irish Bake off, fuelling my desire to focus on food in a serious way. Working with TheTaste allows me to satisfy this craving and marries my food fascination with my love of writing and ranting.