Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Dreaming of California in the centre of Belfast

Bright and lively coffee shop with plenty of people-watching but don't expect an oasis of tranquillity

Where

California Coffee, 43 Arthur Street, Belfast.

Atmosphere?

Although it's not located on one of the city centre's better-trodden streets there is still plenty of people-watching to be done from this bright and lively coffee shop. Inside is quite spacious and airy, but there is quite a background noise of cutlery and plates, especially when busy.

Crowd?

Even at a relatively late stage in the afternoon this place was still busy with shoppers and a handful of late-lunchers and early work leavers.

Menu?

Quite a good selection of paninis and toasted sandwiches, based around a broadly American theme in keeping with the overall feel of the place. Plenty of coffee and cake choices are on offer. There is also a good, clearly-defined selection of 'light' dining and snacking options.

What did we have?

I had the Golden Gate (a chicken and sun-dried tomato ciabatta with honey-mustard dressing). My wife went for a Santa Fe £ chicken and a tangy Mexican sauce in a wrap.

I took the healthy option of a skinny latte while the other half chose a nutty latte.

Disability access?

The dining area is at street level and there is a fair amount of room inside. Tables could easily be rearranged to accommodate any mobility problems.

The verdict?

The food is very tasty and combined some good flavours, even if it is a little starkly presented on clean white plates. A little more in the way of additional garnish (even a few skinny fries) would help.

The bill?

Santa Fe £4.85; Golden Gate £5.75; Skinny latte £1.95; Nutty latte £1.85. TOTAL: £14.40.

Last word?

Located in an often overlooked part of the city centre, this place nevertheless seems to have no problems pulling the customers in.

A nice place to take a quick refuel, but don't expect an oasis of tranquillity.

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