Belfast has been experiencing a well-earned foodie revolution, with many new and exciting cafes and restaurants bursting onto the scene.
We went to check out Town Square, an up-and-coming cafe meets laid-back restaurant in the bustling Botanic area, which opened at the end of November and has been enjoying rave reviews.
We were pretty impressed…
Here’s five reasons why we think you will be too.
1. The Food
Offering some of the best portions in Botanic, you’re guaranteed a good feed in Town Square.
Project Manager Nathan Reid tells us that since opening, they found their honest pub-grub ‘Belfast food’ has served their diners well.
“Whilst at the start when we opened we had more of a focus on healthier food, we quickly found ‘Belfast food’ was far more popular with our audience – most likely because of our location, where we get a lot of students and professionals popping out for lunch!”
It’s great to see a restaurant with a range of options though – as a few seriously healthy options have remained on the menu – in addition to our usual go-to of chicken goujons and burgers!
Whist the menu changes every month to ‘keep things interesting’ and ‘fresh,’ it is deliberately refined and concentrates on doing each dish excellently.
Extra bonus points for keeping it local too – with all food locally sourced.
2. The Coffee
With expertly trained baristas in charge of making that Flat White – you’re sure not to be disappointed.
In fact, every Tuesday night Town Square holds a ‘Coffee Tasting’ – perfect for a school night if you don’t always want to turn into work still plastered from the night before.
It concentrates on developing your palette, in which Nathan talks people through the different varieties of coffee – identifying the different flavours and characteristics. For example, Nathan explains:
“Coffee tasting really is like wine tasting. Each blend is so different. Ethiopian blend is going to be far different from Columbian, and so on.”
The night is held weekly at Town Square – and is absolutely free.
3. The Beer
Town Square boast one of our favourite craft beers to have launched in Belfast of all time, Boundary – which are aptly featured in our 10 Of The Best Craft Beers In Northern Ireland.
Not only that, but very soon Town Square will be brewing their very own beer with Boundary!
Boundary have done very few collaborations in the past – so we’re particularly impressed. And can’t wait to try the ‘coffee stout beer’ which is coming soon.
Nathan is also launching Nitro Coffee (coffee infused with nitrogen) – and will be one of the first people in Northern Ireland to have it on offer.
Also available soon, the cold coffee infused drink will be here in perfect timing for summer.
4. The Feel
Town Square was created with the vision of creating a great environment for creative people to gather in a cafe/restaurant setting, with outstanding products from Belfast and surrounding areas.
It has an edgy, contemporary, minimalism feel – much like the feel of Established – where Project Manager Nathan Reid worked previously. But we love the injection of warmth and colour provided by the personal, quirky touches – such as the greenery on each table, the quirky light-bulbs, the cosy booth in the corner, books on the shelves and of course the motorcycle – parked in the corner.
5. The Layout
With a refreshingly casual open layout, the absence of any real counters to speak of means you are not prevented by barricades to chat freely with barristas as they make your coffee.
Divided into designated areas – the espresso bar for speciality coffees and all of your ‘milky drinks’ from Americanos to lattes, then there is a separate ‘Brew Bar’ – for the likes of filter coffees and teas, which has stools all around it so you can sit up and have a chat with everybody
Project Manager and the brains behind the operation Nathan Reid explain:
“Normally there’s a massive, massive divide between the person working there and the customers. So I wanted to create a free flowing space.
“We designed them so as they go behind the windows so you can see the barista at work from outside.”