I'm starting to think that I have a type when it comes to wee cafes and restaurants as the word 'kitsch' tends to come up a lot in my reviews. Of course I could justify this in saying that I particularly look out for restaurants expressing their own sense of individuality rather than a corporate job like TGI Friday's where no matter the store you'll see the same Darth Vader mask staring at the same Elvis record with the same dead-eyed staff singing a royalties-free version of Happy Birthday whilst silently wishing for death.
So there's something I really like about Harlem Cafe.
Maybe it's the lady who was working in it who had a sort of air of oblivious happiness, of course I didn't know until I came to write this review that said lady was actually the owner. She projects a nice and untroubled air that really filters down into the restaurant, and the attitude seems to be reflected well among the staff who were good humoured and professional.
Visiting for Sunday brunch with my friends and a hangover I got to play 'guess the celebrity and what did they die from' looking over all the old black and white pictures of rock and punk stars on the wall. It's a good game to play, but you can't just say 'drugs' for every answer.
I went for a simple poached eggs breakfast with bacon, sausage and rocket on sourdough, a simple breakfast with a nice twist, and had an espresso milkshake along with it because of the aforementioned hangover. And you know what, after cappuccinos and martinis I think I've found something else that espresso goes great with.
Also on our table was a scrambled eggs breakfast which also involved smoked salmon, avocado and rocket, and there was also a breakfast bruschetta which I'll admit almost gave me food envy except I was really looking forward to my poached eggs.
I can't pass any comment on the lunch menu as I've never had it but if the food is of similar standard to the breakfast then I imagine it will get the same review: simple with a twist and very tasty.
I think Sunday brunch in Harlem is something that I would enjoy doing with my girlfriend... so I'm going to have to look into getting a girlfriend.
34 Bedford Street, Belfast BT2 7FF
Monday to Friday, 8-5 (Late Friday), Sat 9-Late, Sun 8-4
On street, several multi-storey parks within 5 minute walk