Belfast is one of the coolest cities around right now.
The food industry, in particular, has seriously upped its game in the last while with the introduction of hipster cafés such as Established, fine dinings such as OX and unique dining experiences like Six By Nico.
My best friend lives in Belfast so I head up once every month or so to see her and every single time I do, there’s a brand new place to check out.
Last month, I headed up with one thing on my mind – brunch.
Established is my go-to in Belfast but I wanted to try something different and had heard through the grapevine that a new vegan-friendly spot had just opened and was getting a lot of attention.
Say hello to Panama!
Located on McClintock Street, this needs to be on your list.
Panama has that real Sydney-esque café style to it. Inside the basic decor is brought to life with colourful tiles, quirky seats, plush cushions and large plants and lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling.
The coffee roasterie is in the centre and shapes the entire room.
My boyfriend and I visited and sat down the back of the café looking out to a sunny garden porch.
The city garden and cafe specialises in brunch during the day and serves up a late lunch until 5pm most days. The cool vibe continues with their BYOB policy.
During the day there are often yoga classes outside on the garden terrace.
When we sat down, I looked around – there was really such a mixture of people: old women, families, office workers and artsy hipsters – I’m not quite sure what category my boyfriend and I fell into.
We were both starving so we went all out each ordering a fry up, mine being the veggie option. Of course, to quench the caffeine hankering I tucked into a delicious flat white.
The menu is really unique and inventive using interesting combinations and ingredients.
My veggie fry was absolutely delicious. It had halloumi, mushrooms, tomato, poached eggs, hash browns and bread, although I must admit, I was very jealous when I looked across the table and saw that John had a large avocado on his plate.
We both finished our meal with a huge smile on our faces.
“I’ll definitely be coming back here,” I said.
That I will make sure I do.
If you’re around Belfast, make sure you call into Panama. It’s such a cool place with a great vibe, it’s really affordable and the food is insane.