Like most food bloggers we write posts to tell readers about the places we find because we want to share the experience, especially if the restaurant or cafe is a good one. Sometimes though you find these amazing places in the most unlikely of areas that are just so good that you are conflicted – “If too many people get to know about how good it is, we might not be able to get a table”. However praise where praise is due. Forts is pretty special. We first passed it on a Winters day when it was closed and looking more shabby than chic. The surrounding area was particularly run down and the streets were full of litter, it looked grim. Cliftonville needs a very sunny day indeed to look anything close to good. So finally a few months later after a visit to the nearby farmers market we thought we would see what all the fuss was about (lots of people we follow on Twitter etc had spoken very highly of this unassuming cafe).
Even with its Formica tables and the best of British sauces and condiments taking center stage, it’s very much a foodie enclave. I would be very surprised if any of its customers had just wandered in expecting a bog standard Full English All Day Breakfast. The menu changes regularly and does include the ubiquitous Full English along with several brunch type dishes. We ordered the Mackerel with Bubble and Squeak and the Scrambled Eggs with spicy Brindisa Chorizo. Both were fabulous dishes with the quality of the cooking and the ingredients shining through. We also treated ourselves to some Rhubarb Spritzers which were delicious and very refreshing. Normally we wouldn’t order desserts for brunch but there is something about the place that encourages you to try more, so we had some of their lovely creamy stem ginger ice cream.
I suspect we could have had anything on the menu and loved it. The next table ordered burgers and when they arrived they looked amazing. Here’s hoping we can still get a table the next time we’re in the area!
UPDATE – September 2016 : Forts has been sold and will be re-opening under new management.