The first thing I overheard upon arriving in Belfast was "I wouldn't say I'm an art dealer, but I wouldn't say I'm a jeweller either. I'm somewhere between, in a contemporary sense."
Yup, she really said that. I'm not entirely sure what the last bit means... but she said it.
Now look, I'm not immune to a bit of hipster extremity – after all, our offices are located just a stone's throw away from Dublin's wonderful Fumbally Café, along with the colourful cast of characters who populate it on a daily basis – but this line was like something straight out of Portlandia.
Given we'd just stepped off the train, it was as much a startling first impression of the city as it was of the café. But, if Established is Belfast's hipster heaven, and its answer to our own beloved coffee hotspots such as The Fumbally, Kaph and Clement and Pekoe, then it's certainly backing up the image with quality to match.
The coffee is supplied by 3FE, known well to Dublin aficionados not only for their café on Grand Canal Street but also for their wholesale operations to the likes of Kaph, Brother Hubbard and Sister Sadie – a mark of quality that has the power to lure in the wandering consumer, and guarantee an excellent cup of joe to the fussy drinker.
So let's take it as read that my cappuccino was top-drawer – lovingly assembled with the precision and caution we've come to expect from 3FE's carefully curated stockists – and move on to the food.
Yes, I took a bite out of it before I took a photo. I'm only human, dammit.
Established focuses on the sort of grub that aims to surprise without removing you too far from your comfort zone – and it's on that basis that I'm instantly attracted to a sandwich consisting of sweet potato, falafel, caper mayo, greens and pesto all served on a beautiful homemade sourdough bread.
The blackboard menu changes on a daily basis, and from the looks of their Facebook and Twitter pages, the options often veer into the creative and the highly unusual. But simple, slick surroundings, free wifi, laptop chargers under the table and the best coffee in the city makes this a no-brainer if you're looking for a caffeine kick and a quick bite.