We’ve all been there – meandering around town, peckish, with time to spare and delusions of grandeur. You start looking for somewhere to lunch or brunch and then you remember your clammy little sidekick with no table manners. Well that’s that then, off to a popular family friendly chain for canteen style food. Or is it?
I am absolutely not about to spend my time or money in a below par establishment just because I have a baby in tow. By and large I’ve kept going to the same places I’ve always favoured. That being said, not all eateries are as accommodating as you might need them to be when you’re dining with someone under 2ft.
Here’s a quick guide to my 4 favourite spots for some quality grub in Belfast, in no particular order. These are by far the best places I’ve been to with Luisa, all for different reasons, explained below.
Baker Street is reasonably local to us, we can walk there is 15 minutes or drive in 5 – though parking usually takes another 10 minutes. You can have 3 square meals here but it’s most popular for breakfast or lunch. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve headed there for brunch or lunch with Lu in tow. I think the fact that I keep going back is testament to how family friendly Baker Street is.
There are a lot of reasons why I really rate Baker Street. Crucially, the food is excellent, the service impeccable and the atmosphere is very friendly. We’ve never had any trouble accessing a highchair, the staff always make room for my buggy and the toilet facilities are well maintained.
I find the prices to be fair and there’s never any shortage of interesting people to eavesdrop on. I also really love the monochrome and industrial decor — very instaworthy! My top picks from the menu are the french toast or the sourdough club. They also have a ‘Little Bakers’ menu which features actual real food in small sizes.
This Christmas my brother kindly bought Matt & I a voucher for Hadskis which, obviously, we took about 7 months to find the time to use. We had planned to have a date night and go for dinner sans Lu but tables have to be booked at set times and none of them suited us. 7pm was too early as Luisa would still be awake and 9.30 was too late because you know, we’re parents. In the end we went for lunch as a threesome and had a total blast.
Hadskis is small, swish and extremely chic in a hipster way. The food is impeccable but not cheap with the mains coming in around £15. That being said, the portions are very generous and it’s proper proper food. The ingredients are locally sourced where possible and the menu changes regularly.
The reason I’d recommend Hadskis as a brunch or lunch spot for families is down to the fabulous service. We were genuinely blown away by how kind and fun everyone from the waitress to the chef was. Each and every staff member went out of their way to stop and chat to Luisa during our meal. The highchairs are plentiful and clean and the toilets are well equipped.
As it’s a little pricier Hadskis isn’t somewhere i’d go to with Luisa on a whim but it’s great to know that there is a wonderful restaurant available in Belfast city centre for special family occasions. My favourite dish is the chowder or the roast poussin but, whatever you do, make sure you try the truffle and parmesan chips.
If you’ve an Irish bone in your body you know what Avoca is, in fact you’ve probably been to the original shop and eatery in Wicklow and posed for a photo on the set of Ballykissangel. For everyone else, Avoca is a lovely department store in Belfast with a deli / cafe and restaurant on the top floor! I’m big fan of the deli/cafe for a few reasons. First of all, the food is delicious and fresh with lots of healthy options. The prices are reasonable but the best value option is to go for a salad and ask them to pile it high with everything.
I really like taking Luisa here because it’s always packed full of
fellow yummy mummys. This means that you can always count on there being at least 1 kid making a bigger mess than yours. Win. Also, the scones are incredible.
My only bugbear is that the toilets are on the ground floor and really not big enough. The being said, the baby change has a chaise longue…
Similar to Hadskis this is absolutely not somewhere I would have thought to take Luisa but we recently ventured in for lunch and were pleasantly surprised at how ‘kid friendly’ it was. The lunchtime menu is a real bargain – especially when compared to other places in the area. We had a sharing board of breads, oils and olives to start, my chosen main was scrambled eggs with chorizo and avocado.
Luisa just shared my meal but I did spy up the kids menu which has an impressive selection of ‘real food’. I’m happy to report that the highchairs are readily available and clean and the toilets are positively opulent. I also thought it was very sweet that they brought Lu her own little ciabatta to keep her amused whilst we waited for the main event.
So there you have it, 4 places in Belfast you might ordinarily walk past that you should absolutely take your little ones to. Loud and proud. Who cares if they redecorate the walls with scrambled egg?! Special thanks to all the wonderful people working in these joints who deal with my crap with a smile xo