City Picnic

I really do think I am beginning to fall in love with Belfast.

Well, maybe 'fall in love' is a bit strong... but over the summer I've been able to explore the Ulster Musem, various restaurants and just generally experience city life. And it's given me a hunger for more! Whilst I love the variety of Victoria Square, there's so much more to the city than just a huge shopping centre and chain coffee shops. (Don't worry Caffe Nero, I'll still drink your cappuccinos.)

I love the idea of discovering hidden corners, of finding individual shops with cute clothes and knick-knacks. I want to be able to experience Belfast as a unique city. It has so much history and recently it's really started to come alive. Unlike the renovations in Lisburn, which have done nothing for the town and caused major pedestrian troubles (lots of uneven paving), Belfast has started to look smarter and overall more interesting.

Anyway... back in August I met up with my good friend Susanne for a catch up. She's just finished her final year at school so I knew that I wouldn't get to see her as often (who am I going to talk to in the corridors now?) and we decided to meet in Belfast for a morning of shopping. 

We hunted for hair accessories, searched for satchels (namely this dreamy blue one in River Island) and even nipped into Hotel Chocolat in the hope that we'd find a free sample or two. After a morning of successful purchases we needed to rest our weary feet and have a good long chat about our problems, summer activities and plans for the future. 

Enter City Picnic. My sister and I had passed this place a few times but had never dared to step inside. It's basically half American convenience store - i.e. it stocks Lucky Charms/Vanilla Coke/Nerds - and half diner. They sell bagels and burgers, filled with everything from chicken to chorizo to mushrooms and monteray jack cheese. 

I chose a bagel, served with a side salad and coleslaw. It was delicious - stuffed full of chicken, bacon and avocado. No flat bagels here! Also, look at the newspaper-filled tray and the little spoons for table numbers... it's just too cute.

Susanne picked the 'firecracker bagel', filled with chicken, sundried tomatoes, cheese and pesto. If I hadn't been in the mood for bacon this would definitely have been my choice! 

We sat for a good hour and a half, talking and laughing whilst sitting at colourful picnic tables and watching the world go by outside. Eventually we decided to leave, and it was with much sadness that we stepped outside into wind-swept Belfast. 

I'd really recommend a trip to City Picnic. They sell a good, filling lunch for about £7 and it's a lovely place. Despite being in the centre of the city it's tucked away on a corner and so it doesn't feel too people-running-everywhere-rushed. Give it a try!