I grew up in Rosetta, which is not too far from the Ormeau Road and back then my time was spent going to the Ormeau library, playing badminton in the Rosario Centre and who could forget a wee trip to the Curzon cinema! Riveting I know…
Well how things have changed, as now the bustling metropolis of the Ormeau Road is the place to be seen and in my opinion a cooler version of the Lisburn Road with nearly as many coffee shops, green spaces and places to eat and shop. Lucky me, as they are all within walking distance of my house and the perfect way to spend a lazy weekend. Here are a few of my favourites and why.
General Merchants 361 (@GenMerch361). The sister of the Upper Newtowanards Road venue, this is my new favourite places to sit, eat and watch the world go by. Fresh and healthy lunches combined with avocado, mint or poached eggs are on the menu, nestled between a twist on the classic bacon and egg bap with black pudding and mayo.
I’ve never been a big fan of protein chocolate balls, but they seem to be pretty popular here. If you’re a sugar lover like me you can get your fix of raspberry and white chocolate cakes or cinnamon swirls. Good news is that as this venue is licensed, you will be able to have a glass of vino or a fancy hipster beer over dinner.
Kaffe-O (@kaffeobelfast). If you like to drink your coffee under bright lights, on wooden benches and with a record player playing dulcet tunes in the background, then this Danish inspired eatery is the place for you.
In fairness I don’t usually go here for a quiet meeting as it doesn’t really lend itself that well due to the narrow or shared seating…. but it’s good for a Saturday morning (if you don’t mind waiting) and early evening. As a non tea and coffee drinker I always feel slightly discriminated against, but Kaffe-O lovingly makes a mix of white and dark chocolate, which really is heaven in a very fancy cup!
Le Petit Ormeau (@LePetitOrmeau). I had one of the best croque monsieur recently in Paris, but the one on the menu here definitely comes a close second. Always busy around lunchtime and the weekends, but worth the wait unless you fancy braving the weather and sitting outside.
Don’t leave without trying the homemade German biscuits or petit fours (pictured) and leaving a tip for the staff who are always super helpful.
Errigle Inn (@ErrigleInn). I’ll probably struggle to find a person who has not been to the Errigle at some point in their lives. An oldie, but still a goodie, this is a favourite for a quick pint after work, upstairs for a quiz, to watch the rugby or for a night cap on a Friday evening. Granted it’s not super busy on a Saturday night as it seems that many people venture into town, but on most nights there is always a buzz and a friendly atmosphere.
BrewBot (@brewbotbelfast). In the interest of balance I thought I better mention this new(ish) kid on the beer block although I have to say that I’m not a fan. I have never had a good experience and am yet to be able to order a single drink, despite being in the place three times. I’m putting it in as it’s where all the cool kids hang out, so pop along and make you own mind up!
Kiln and Loom (@KilnandLoom). Don’t you just love it when you’re looking for a quirky present and find a place that not only has it, but also the card, something for yourself and your home and of course something to eat before you leave? Never happened before? Well head to this kitch and welcoming boutique, come bakery, come coffee shop. They had the best idea at Christmas by setting up a pop-up stand out the front selling damn tasty cheeses from Fancy Cheese Co. More of this please!
CrossEyes (@CrossEyesOrmeau). Another Danish inspired venue that has recently opened is this aptly named opticians. Selling its own brand of design-led frames at pretty reasonable prices means you can change your style of glasses as often as you change your outfit. Turns out they have customers who buy the frames with clear glass, so even if you aren’t a crosseyed hipster, you can still look like one!
EATING OUT: If you like Indian or Chinese food, Cafe Naz and the Macau are both BYO, as is Ambrosia which is great for pizza or pasta.
STAYING IN: If you fancy a special bottle of wine or gin – it’s time to make friends with the experts at The Vineyard. Just don’t be asking for a bottle of Buckfast or Blue Nun or they mightn’t let you back! You can also pick up Belfast Times pop art cards at the counter (plug plug)
FITNESS FIX: The Ormeau Park has everything going on from bootcamps, to one-to-one PT sessions, to running clubs to walking clubs. Just need the weather to improve and it will be a great way to burn off all those tasty treats!
Spotting local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or at www.pulseprni.com