For months now, since I arrived back in Ireland; I had been meaning to visit Belfast. Its a city that I find really interesting, steeped in history and with one of my good friends Annabel returning to Northern Ireland after several years away living in Melbourne; it seemed like the perfect time to take a trip up.
Since returning to Ireland, I had been hearing amazing stuff about Belfast's emerging coffee scene, most noticeably Established Coffee. Both Kevin and I had heard about Established back during our final days in Melbourne, keeping on eye on their Instagram account and the never ending pictures of delicious breakfast and lunch dishes.
Grabbing a bus early one morning from Busáras bus depot, we made our way up the motorway excited to see Annabel and to see just how Belfast has changed over the last few years since we were there.
Making our way towards Belfast's Cathedral Quarter, both Kevin and I got little glimpses of streets and lane ways full of street art and new shops, bars and restaurants. Established Coffee was set up by Mark Ashbridge and Bridgeen Barbour in 2013 and with its extensive use of glass, polished concrete and industrial style furniture; it instantly brought all three of us back to Melbourne and reminded us of places such as Industry Beans in Fitzroy, Proud Mary in Collingwood and Top Paddock in South Yarra. It blew us away and instantly I could tell that this was one of the best cafes I'd visited since I returned back from Melbourne (and believe me I've been making my way around a lot of them lately). *P.S. check out the video below courtesy of JOURNEYFOR & Terry Design, its fantastic.
With plans to eventually expand the business to include their own roastery, they currently serve 3fe coffee, which has become quite ubiquitous around Ireland. We mulled over the menu for quite some time - truth be told there was a lot of delicious things on there to choose from - however once I caught sight of the apple & cinnamon scones I couldn't think of anything else I wanted.
What resembled something quite like a scroll, the scone was rich, buttery and full of delicious cinnamon flavour. Thank the lord for that! You see, so many times you pick up something which says its cinnamon this or cinnamon that; but it lacks any real taste of cinnamon whatsoever. This guy welcomes cinnamon and lots of it. Breaking each piece, dipping it in my excellent flat white; I was in food heaven.
Kevin, who I must admit cannot avoid an avocado mash dish wherever we go; opted for the avocado mash on sourdough with poached eggs and bacon. Like the scone, it was faultless. The avocado mash was full of chunks of ripe avocado, the bacon was perfectly grilled and the bread was fresh and exactly how a great sourdough should taste.
Keeping things as local as possible, Established are working with local suppliers such as Man Made, who make the fine selection of cakes on offer (including that amazing scone). After two coffees, breakfast and catching up on all the goss from Annabel; we decided to make our way around Belfast. Hopping on a city tour bus, we were whisked through the Titanic quarter, Stormont and around some of the areas deeply affected by the troubles over the years. We finished up at the National for lunch and a few sneaky Hendrick's gin & tonic's before grabbing a coach back to Dublin.
Belfast excites me, its got some amazing cafes and restaurants; some of which top that which you would find in Dublin and if I were you I would take a trip & check it out for yourself.
54 Hill St,
Belfast BT1 2LB,
Facebook: Established Coffee