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“Nice but nothing special”

Neills Hill Brasserie
Ranked #118 of 1,047 Restaurants in Belfast
Price range: US$0 - US$103
Cuisines: Irish, European, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Groups, Romantic, Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining, Local cuisine, Kids, Child-friendly
Dining options: Brunch, Dinner, Breakfast, After-hours, Lunch, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Nice but nothing special”
Reviewed 7 January 2013

We live nearby and pass Neil's Hill all the time but had never been, so we thought we'd give it a try. They were very busy when we arrived so we had to wait a while for a table, but that's ok, we should have booked. When we were seated we were left for quite a bit to look at the same menus we'd been looking at during our wait for the table, which was a bit tiresome as we were hungry.

We were then told that they didn't have about 6 different things from the menu (a shame as I'd been looking forward to trying the duck) and our drinks order was taken. Unfortunately they didn't have the drinks we had asked for either. When we finally did order, one of our choices for the main was also then unavailable. But still, substitutions finally in hand we settled in and looked forward to our food.

The ambience of the place is nice. They still had their Christmas decorations up, which were beautiful, but even without those it would still be an interesting space. Certainly the art behind me with its £1650 price tag added a little something. Noise-wise, even though pretty much every table was full, the tables are spaced far enough apart and the music is low enough that we didn't have to shout to make ourselves heard.

The food: we had pâté and soup to start and both were as expected, i.e. nice but nothing particularly special. For mains we had chicken kiev with "frites" (just standard chips really) and seabass with hollandaise sauce, new potatoes and broccoli. Again they were nice but unremarkable. For dessert we had a custard tart with spiced plums and a chocolate fondant. Both were good but again lacked a wow factor.

After dinner we asked for the bill and it was brought promptly (always a good thing). The staff were pleasant and courteous, although they did seem very rushed earlier in the evening.

All in all it was a nice meal but we're adventurous eaters and the flavours were all just a little mild for our tastes. It's the sort of place we would take someone who likes "good, plain food" for a special meal, but it's not really our kind of cuisine. To be fair I would maybe give it 3.5/5 rather than 3 but TripAdvisor doesn't let you give half stars and I think 4 would be misleading based on our experience. I would consider going back again (this time hopefully with a full menu to choose from) to see if a second experience ups the ante.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank BridgetJonesNI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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460 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Buzzin'”
Reviewed 6 January 2013

Being a fan of Aldens , I waited to see what's its reincarnation would be. Four visits later I am impressed. Friendly staff, buzzing atmosphere but not to detriment of conversation. Great choice of fresh food. Usually have fish which has always been excellent. Baked tamarillo always a favourite for dessert. Wine list compliments very nicely with good choice of mid budget choices. Glad I live in ballyhack! Well done guys.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank bigladonabike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belfast, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Lovely Food”
Reviewed 31 December 2012

I went for Christmas dinner with the girls and we had a great time. The food was excellant and not badly priced.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Naomi Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
416 reviews
254 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 204 helpful votes
“Superb meal....as ever”
Reviewed 30 December 2012 via mobile

Ate at Neill's Hill Saturday 29th December, food was delicious. We were a party of 7 looking for a lovely meal after all the Christmas festivities. We weren't disappointed. The sirloin steak was succulent and cooked to perfection...ENORMOUS portion...yummy..service was first class. One portion of breads (£3) would serve 2 comfortably and possibly three....can't wait to go back. Edith, the manageress, deserves a special mention for her ability to make you feel special in a full restaurant at a busy time of year.

Helpful?
Thank Margaret B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
68 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Yer having a laugh!”
Reviewed 28 December 2012

Christmas Eve brunch at Neill's Hill (formerly Aldens) Staff bright and friendly as ususal.
Four Eggs Benedict ordered. When they came, out of eight poched eggs two were soft and six hard. But wait for it; the ham was packet and thin sliced. The sort you get 20 slices to the packet.
Now it was Christmas Eve;was there no real ham available? Even at the dingiest restaurent in America you get "real ham" or country ham as they call it.
Was it unavailable, if so why was this not expained? Was it assumed that we locals wouldn't know the difference? Do Neills Hill not know this? Hard to believe.
And those eggs; really better no Eggs Benedict than one with a hard egg.
Yes we ate it and said nothing! We had a baby who needed to leave and we just got on with it but it was sooo disappointing from an establishment of such long standing and with a great reputation.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Pasty9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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