Lunch isn't for wimps: Ground Espresso, Fountain Street, Belfast
Run by Co Antrim entrepreneur Darren Gardiner, Ground Espresso has branches in Ballymena, Coleraine, Ballymoney and Portrush as well as two in Belfast.
Both city outlets are cannily located within existing businesses - at shoe shop DV8 in Donegall Place and on the first floor of bookseller Waterstones. Ground has been voted one of the Top 50 coffee bars in the UK by The Independent, not undeservedly. As expected, coffee and tea provision is excellent and enjoyable and the array of quirky and homemade baked goods is dazzling. Food offerings include sandwiches, paninis, bagels, salads and soup, but despite ordering the delicious chicken and avocado salad, this hungry hack bolted the main meal to proceed full-steam ahead for the Easter-themed Creme Egg muffin washed down with a superb chai latte. What with the moreish grub and the opportunity for a post-lunch bookshop browse, a late return to the office can be expected.