Eating Out: Havana Bank Square promoting 'human happiness' via bottomless brunch
Havana Bank Square
56-58 Berry St,
Belfast BT1 1FJ
028 9031 0809
YOU can't beat a decent brunch: more substantial than breakfast, more fun than lunch, especially when paired with a drink or two.
If you've ever wonder who invented drinks with breakfast, I can now dispel the myth that it was a group of girls from Beechmount at the Lagan Bar at Aldergrove on route to a hen weekend in Santa Ponsa.
They may have perfected the art – and so to those girls in matching t-shirts and cowboy hats, I raise a glass – but the practice came long before that particular brand of merriment.
In fact, it dates back to 1895 and the writer Guy Beringer's article: Brunch: A Plea which appeared in Hunter's Weekly. Beringer wrote these inspiring words: "By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well. Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week."
I have a feeling Beringer and I would get along like a house on fire and so, with those beautifully crafted words firmly on my mind, I headed for a boozy brunch with one of my oldest – and it must be noted, craziest – friends at Havana Bank Square.
I'm a big fan of Havana. I would often call in for lunch if in the city centre and in need of sustenance that I know will be of consistently high quality. The brunch is a new venture and one which is bound to be popular with locals and tourists alike.
The menu is mouth-watering; French toasted sourdough with smashed avocado and poached eggs, a traditional breakfast with good quality sausages, maple cured bacon, fried egg with soda and potato bread or a pancake stack with bacon and maple syrup.
There's a shareable nacho dish with Monterey Jack cheese, eggs and avocado, which would soak up any hangover.
I went for my all-time favourite brunch dish, Eggs Benedict, I can't go past it when it see it on any menu. My mate got a courgette and sundried tomato frittata.
Now here's the fun part, what Beringer would describe as 'promoting human happiness' – the Havana brunch is bottomless. By that, I mean it comes with unlimited Prosecco or, if you'd prefer – although I can't see why – bottled beer.
From the time you arrive and for a glorious hour and a half, your glass will never be empty, or even half full: it will be overflowing. The fairies, in the guise of the Havana staff, will fill your glass on a regular basis – and that is just a joyous way to spend a weekend afternoon by any standards.
My Eggs Benedict, a toasted muffin with excellent bacon, runny poached eggs and hollandaise sauce was perfectly paired with endless bubbles. The hollandaise, which can be a tricky little sauce to make and stop from spitting, was rich but with a tasty lemon punch. My mate's frittata generously filled the plate, full of tasty veg topped with shaved parmesan cheese, filling but not too heavy as a good brunch should be.
We laughed, we reminisced, we gossiped, we marvelled at the way the glasses in front of us appeared to just refill themselves. When our time was up we had a cocktail to finish – sure why not, Beringer would approve.
The staff were excellent, the restaurant nicely buzzing with a great mix of couples and tables of women enjoying an afternoon of friendship.
Do you want to know the real joy of the Havana brunch? Despite the excellent food and top quality Italian bubbles, it costs just £25 a head. It's hard to put a price on a meal that will make you "satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings", but that seems pretty reasonable to me.
Bottomless brunch x2: £25