Belfast’s dining scene really began in 1989, when Co. Down chef Paul Rankin opened his restaurant Roscoff, which went on to win a Michelin Star. Up until that point, Belfast was not known for its culinary repertoire but oh, how times have changed. After Roscoff came Cayenne, and other local Chefs became inspired by what Rankin had achieved, and so the floodgates opened. Today, Belfast has evolved and is a thriving capital city with a restaurant industry to match. With so many choices, help is at hand.
Miel et Moi
Northern Irelands first licensed patisserie located on the Lisburn Road, is sure to impress even the most jaded consumer. Brunch here is a classy affair, inspired by the classical French Café Bars you would stumble across in Paris. Flaky pastries and cocktails anyone? But there is so much more to choose from. Bottomless Brunch at Miel et Moi is £26.50 and includes a brunch main course and bottomless Bloody Marys, Mimosas, Prosecco or Rose within a two-hour sitting. Mains include Buttermilk Pancakes with Praline, Caramelised Bananas & Fromage Blanc, or Thai Smoked Fish Cakes with Tomato & Sesame Chutney and House Salad. The décor is dreamy and those desserts, Mon dieu!
Brunch served 12pm – 5pm, seven days.
Tucked away in the University quarter and opposite the Ulster Museum, Café Conor is located in the former studio of artist William Conor. This popular restaurant is famous for its traditional homemade dishes using the fresh, local ingredients. Like any decent Belfast café, the Big Breakfast comes with Soda Bread and Potato Bread along with all the usual suspects. You will also find a vast section of Omelettes, Eggs, French Toast, Pancakes & Waffles. You want it? They most likely have it. End your outing with a visit to the Ulster Museum and you have a perfect weekend outing.
Brunch served 9am- 5pm, seven days.
Celebrating 10 years in business this year, Harlem Café appears to be as popular today as it was when it opened in 2009. Owner Faye Rogers, who has a background in Fashion Design & Window Dressing utilised her design skills when she opened Harlem, and that is still apparent today. While the interior is a sight for sore eyes, the food is pretty special too. Honey Halloumi Fries anyone? Harlem’s All Day Breakfast is a steal at £6.95, and includes the usual breakfast fare along with Soda Bread & Pancakes and Brunch specials include Pecan & Banana Red Velvet Pancakes. Best plan a nap after your visit.
Brunch served Sundays, 9am – 5pm.
Berts Jazz Bar @ The Merchant Hotel
I’m a sucker for anything mildly related to the Prohibition Era so Berts Jazz Bar is a personal favourite. The Brunch set menu is priced at £16.95 which includes a Main Course, Brunch Cocktail & Tea or Coffee with live jazz on the stage between 12pm and 2pm. The Potato & Stuffing Hash with Spinach, Mushrooms, Fried Egg & Garlic Butter is a thing of beauty or indeed the Minute Steak with Café de Paris Butter & Frites is also an excellent choice. Other Brunch favourites are on the menu, including the requisite Eggs Benedict, Royale or Florentine. This is one for those Sundays when you have nowhere else to be and a stack of papers to peruse while enjoying the atmosphere.
Brunch served 11am – 3pm, Saturday & Sunday.
A chance encounter with old friends while on a visit home from Australia, led chef Tim Fetherston to pack his bags and return to his native Belfast in 2014. Since then, the empire has expanded with the group now comprising of three city centre venues. Menus differ ever so slightly between the Ormeau Road branch and the East Belfast location, but you can be guaranteed a memorable dining experience whichever one you choose. New to the Brunch menu this season is the Levantine Breakfast which consists of Sweet Potato Hummus, Rocket, Pomegranate Seeds, Feta, Poached eggs & Olive Oil while the Melbourne Breakfast is very love/hate with Vegemite on Sourdough, Smashed Avocado, Parsley, Toasted Seeds, Pickled Red Onion & Poached Eggs. Lighter bites include Peach Melba Bircher Muesli or go all out with The Cubano, Pulled Ham & Pork, Mustard Mayo, Pickles & Swiss Cheese on Ciabatta with the ubiquitous Fries on the side, and when the Fries are this good, that’s no bad thing.
Brunch served 8am – 4.30pm Saturday & Sunday.
Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter is home to Hadskis, an award-winning restaurant serving up some of the best food in Belfast. The menu is quite small but includes drool inducing dishes such as Smoked Haddock, Potato, Fennel & Kale Hash and Vanilla Pain Perdu with Roasted Plumbs & Mascarpone. But it’s the Porridge served with Honey, Cream & Irish Whiskey that makes my heart flutter. It’s worth a trip to Belfast for this dish in itself. Oh, and the alcohol free Bloody Mary at Hadskis is named Bloody Pointless. Couldn’t agree more.
Brunch served 11am – 2pm Saturday & Sunday.
Something pretty magical is happening on Hill Street in the aforementioned Cathedral Quarter, and it’s happening at Established Coffee. Those in the know are well clued in to this Brunch spot, thanks in part to the beautifully shot Instagram images adorning their page, but more so for the amazing Brunch dishes, Desserts & of course, Coffee. Their all day menu features dishes such as Vegetarian Bubble & Squeak with Potato, Hispi Cabbage & Jerusalem Artichoke Cake, Beet Labneh, Toum, Nigella Seed Dukkah, Crispy Artichoke & Fried Egg or the Salted Beef Sandwich with
Home-made Pretzel Bun, Scarmoza Sauce, Salted Beef Brisket, Fennel, Pickled Mustard Seeds & Pickled Leeks. As expected, sweet treats are also top notch and the Toasted Oat Pancakes with Lemon Posset, Poached Forced Rhubarb with Pistachio and White Chocolate Crumb looks good enough to eat. Of course the Coffee is top notch and they hold regular classes to teach us mere mortals how to make great coffee at home. Time to relocate to Belfast perhaps?
Brunch served until 3pm, 7 days per week.Ciara is a freelance writer from Dublin who also has a Degree in Culinary Entrepreneurship from DIT along with a Diploma in Journalism. In her spare time, she enjoys entertaining family and friends and cooking new dishes from her vast selection of cookbooks.
Ciara also loves to travel and discovering new places and enjoys sourcing new & emerging cuisine trends.