Dinner at Drennan’s Restaurant Belfast

Last night saw me and my friends Heather and Jacinta hit a new restaurant in Belfast called Drennan’s. We’d hear good reviews and wanted to try it out for ourselves!

We were welcomed and quickly seated upon arrival. The decor is great- cool vintage French posters (is it Joan of Arc?- Nah, she’d never get her boobs out) and massive ceiling height which makes the place look bigger than it really is. The room itself is small- long and thin- they have a small keyboard/piano wedged in there too, and someone was sitting at it when we left at 10.30pm but hadn’t started playing yet (when does he get going???).

Toilets are high spec but, like everything else, not the most roomy, and the lighting is pretty poor if you’ve been out in the rain and are trying to ascertain whether your mascara has hit the deck. Looks very cool though. I was less than impressed to discover they were out of toilet roll on my second visit, though!

The restaurant seemed totally understaffed for the level of business they were doing- two waitresses covering all the tables, and while they kept smiling, the service was very slow as a result. Maybe that is a teething problem though.

The food- well- it was all lovely. The main problem we all had with it was that there was so little of it! Starters are served in absolutely tiny bowls. I ordered mussels and seriously, there must have been about seven in the bowl, though it was really lovely. Heather had a salad which was similarly small, and Jacinta had soup which was also small, but delicious.

Main courses don’t come with any sides, but they don’t actually tell you that on the menu, so it was a good thing we ordered some, as we’d have gone very hungry otherwise! My sea bass was excellent- the sauce on it was delicious and the fish perfectly cooked. Heather ordered a steak which was perfectly cooked and very generously sized (the only thing that was all evening!). Jacinta doesn’t eat meat, but hates mushrooms, so was disappointed that the only veggie main course they had on the menu heavily featured them! We asked and were offered an alternative of cous cous, before getting them to amend the original dish to omit the mushrooms. They were very willing to do this, which was good, but I have to say that the ratatouille with goats cheese which came out was absolutely miniscule, starter sized, and I felt bad for Jacinta, though she didn’t complain and said it was very tasty. The sides we’d ordered were potato wedges (really, really good!) a bog standard salad and some fried onions which were OK.

For dessert, Jacinta and Heather both opted for vanilla cheesecake, while I went for pavlova. The puds were delicious. I do think though that the cheesecake portions were, once again, very small. Mine was much larger, and very tasty.

So- on the whole, the food was good, but I won’t be rushing back. They advertise as doing a three course meal for £17, but it came out at £25 per head by the time we ordered the sides and a couple of bottled waters. I feel they need to look at their portion sizes because whilst they aren’t the most expensive restaurant in Belfast by any means, there are many others out there who do food just as well but for better value. Also their veggie options were pretty poor.

 Oh, and for those of you who read my blog on a regular basis, I DID have the mussels and the steamed fish. But I didn’t manage to forgo pudding. So, I nearly stuck to yesterday’s promise!! I am back on the diet today! 😀

Next time, we’ll be going right across the road to Beatrice Kennedy’s. It’s more expensive but we know we’ll get value for money! 🙂


23 Responses to “Dinner at Drennan’s Restaurant Belfast”

  1. March 7, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    What an interesting read Suzy. 🙂 I enjoy hearing about what it is like there. 🙂
    Sounds like you did pretty good on your plan. it is so hard.

  2. 2 Jenny
    March 8, 2008 at 7:27 am

    Just realised that you had a blog Suzy! Sounds like you weren’t too impressed with the portion sizes in this new place anyway. BKs should make you happy anyway. It was where we went for our wedding dinner and for our first anniversary, and if we happen to be back in Belfast for dinner again it’ll definitely be my first port of call for a nice dinner. Yay for Beatrice Kennedy, whoever she may have been!

    – Jenny

  3. March 9, 2008 at 3:52 am

    Has Drennan’s taken over from Villa Italia or is it just down where Tony Roma’s is?

    Shame your meal and the service wasn’t up to scratch but you can’t go wrong with Beatrice K’s – never had a bad meal in there!

  4. 4 suzy2110
    March 9, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    It’s right beside Villa Italia. Not sure what was there before! Yes, Beatrice Kennedy is hard to beat!

  5. 5 martymcd
    March 13, 2008 at 12:25 am

    Well big susie, I have to say I found Drennans to be one of the finest (and reasonably priced) dining experiences I’ve had in years. Although I was more than satisfied with my portion sizes, you clearly wern’t, and only an experienced restaurant-goer knows only too well that it is the QUALITY of the meal and not the QUANTITY. If its huge slap up grub you’re looking for, try McDonalds…maybe more suited to you? You could get a nice quarter pounder meal, and the drinks are included…and if you like beatrice kennedys so much then why didn’t you go there in the first place?

  6. 6 suzy2110
    March 13, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Wow, my first abusive comment! Many thanks for that! I think I stated many times in my post that I was more than happy with the quality of the meal. If you had read properly, you would have noted that I did not find the meal to be good value. I am a regular restaurant goer, and found the portions to be dramatically smaller than anywhere else I have ever eaten. That was the only point I was making.
    Plus, Beatrice Kennedy’s is great, but it is nice to try somewhere new.
    Thanks so much for your helpful remarks though. I am happy to publish them in the interests of balance, and welcome all feedback, good and bad. It is good to have differing opinions sometimes. I am only sorry that you somehow took my review so personally and felt the need to abuse my own opinion.

  7. March 13, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    I found Suzy’s review of this restraunt to be quite fair. I am sorry that some folks tend to get very ugly in thier response.
    Keep up the great posts Suzy!

  8. 8 dg1978
    March 14, 2008 at 1:49 am

    sounds very yummeeee

    March 17, 2008 at 11:21 am

    someone told me thet there was a blog reviewing drennan’s and thought I would have a look as I have been there a few times myself. Whilst I found your review of Drennans interesting I don’t think you have put a lot of thought into it. I have eating there on three different dates now and found everything just great, but then again I wasn’t going to pick holes in the place to put on a web blog.why mention about rain and mascarra, was it raining ? no was your mascarra running? no, from your picture you wear to much makeup anyway, and try using an umbrella when it rains that usually helps. What night were you there? the painist only plays Fri and Sat nights and I think starts at 7.30 or 8pm, and is fantastic, well I have seen two different ones but both as good. You seem to slate the portions of food at every chance, maybe you were being blinded by the fact that you were on a diet and the protions just looked small to you because you are used to stuffing you face, as I don’t want to be as crude as the last commenter I would agree tho that mc donalds Big mac would be rather a better choice for you. You say that that there are as many good resturants that do food as well for the price but all you have metioned is beatrice kennedys, have you an affiliation with this restaurant? are you friends with the owners? seems that way with all you neg. comments. and why will you not be back to a restaurant that the food was fine and the service aswell, my god I would hate to slate a restaurant like you just have because the portions were small “to you ” and on a finishing note would it not help you with your DIET?

  10. 10 suzy2110
    March 17, 2008 at 11:44 am

    I am once again amazed at people’s need to be rude and abusive. Thanks so much for that.
    I have tried to give a fair account of my evening at Drennan’s as I saw it. Your response starts off so well- I am delighted for people to disagree with my opinion and am happy to post those comments. I really, really don’t understand why people have to get so personal though. I don’t think most of what you wrote even deserves a response.
    As for Beatrice Kennedy’s, I have no affiliation with them whatsoever. I am simply a pleased customer. I have to wonder if YOU have some affiliation with Drennan’s as you have been so abusive about what I feel was quite a mild review which said very little negative about the place.

    I have posted this response, but want to say that I will be editing or deleting further abusive comments. I am very upset that people seem to be more interested in making personal attacks on me than in fairly giving their own views on this restaurant (which, I think I said MANY times, is a perfectly nice place to eat!!!)

    If you have something to say in a fair and balanced way, I’m delighted to hear it. If you simply want to tell me that I am too fat, wear too much makeup, should go to McDonalds, etc etc, I’d prefer you didn’t.

  11. 11 Emer
    March 17, 2008 at 5:07 pm


    I would not edit or delete any further comments of a similar ilk. Their commets are all childish, ill-considered and above all else insulting and when someone writes such drovel, all you can do is laugh at how utterly moranic they are.

    Emer has asked me to edit her post. She is sorry for any offence she may have caused to Drennan’s.- suzy2110

  12. 12 Tom
    March 18, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Hello there my name is Tom and I am the Head Chef @ Drennan’s Restaurant. I have been in the catering industry for years and have never witnessed abuse like this, on any other restaurant reviews. Firstly I would like to say to the people that are giving suzy a hard time; she is entitled to her opinion, and if you’re going to give Drennan’s support please be constructive and not abusive.

    Suzy I tried hard to remember your visit and I think I have got the jist of it now. you were a walk in as it is known in the trade { unbooked }. Yes the evening was quite busy because we got a lot of unexpected walk-ins, and that happens. When in business you have to staff according to your level of trade, and on some evenings it can catch you unawares. I appreciate your comments on the food we have had a lot of great feedback on the menus, food and the service. I would hate for you not to come and visit us again because of portion size. I would love to see you there again and if you feel your portion is to small ask for a little more I would be glad to cook it for you. I tried to balance the food portions with the price and give people value for money with a £17 spend for three courses a side order at £2.50 and a bottle of mineral water £1.50 comes to £21 which in my opinion is great value and not £25 as you pointed When you go to any restaurant you pay for water and extra sides. I started looking for our latest write up on the restaurant in the Irish News Which someone had told me about by Darryl Greer To Quote ” Drennan’s is a clever little bistro, well priced and decent nicely presented food that tastes good and has a bit of imagination about it ” and then the first thing that I see when I Google Drennan’s is this abuse and foul language, This not good advertisement for our restaurant and certainly not the first thing I would like new costumers to see, when searching for information. http://www.irishnews.com/articles/616/566/2008/3/15/582824_339683813977Cleverlit.html

    I have edited this post to remove a comment about a post which has now been withdrawn. I hope everyone understands and respects this. Thank you! suzy2110

  13. 13 suzy2110
    March 18, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Thank you Tom for your response to my post. It is lovely to hear from you and I very much appreciate everything that you have to say.

    The night in question was indeed very busy, though we did book beforehand, and as I said in my review it did seem as if you had been caught unawares. I also said that the service was friendly and kept smiling despite the level of business you were doing, and that I found them very helpful.

    Thanks for your comments on portion sizes. I am not in the restaurant trade obviously so what you say interests me greatly. I am more than willing to take on board what you have said.

    I did find all of the food in your restaurant to be very well cooked and delicious (which I also said above) so I am sorry if it seems that I didn’t enjoy my meal, from my review. That is not the case at all.

    I am glad that you have been getting good reviews and wish you and your business every success.

    Thanks again for your civility and for your response to my review. Both are much appreciated.

  14. 14 mr jay dickson
    March 31, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    after reading the reviews drennans our getting myself and few others went there on saturday evening the food was out of this world the staff very friendly and although very busy we never had long to wait so after nice meal and some wine we had brought with us our verdict is we`ll be back to this restaurant again.

  15. 15 jennifer
    April 7, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    I went there on a busy saturday night for a birthday meal (8 of us) and had a fantastic night ! there were a few parties there that night so it was a little cramped but never the less cosy, fun and busy ! everyone in our party LOVED the food and everything was cooked to perfection. i also noticed that the flavours of each dish were great, i find in some restaurants things tend to be cooked in the same pan/grill/dish etc and can end up tasting the same or tasting like chips! drennans wasnt like this at all, everything was FAB 🙂

    When our guestsbirthday cake came out the piano player had EVERYONE singing happy birthday ! Nice touch 🙂

    I did feel sorry for the waitresses though, they were soooo busy and the food did take a little long to come out but we really didnt mind when they apologised for the wait and were very plesant about it, and the food really was worth waiting for ! Nice staff is a bonus and were tipped well by the way haha

    In fact were going again for another birthday this weekend 🙂

  16. April 8, 2008 at 5:29 am

    I’d just like to point out that the review of the restaurant in The Sunday Life sounds like it was written and paid for by Drennan’s (or a sycophant).

    I offer the following quotes from the article (which contains not a single negative remark!):

    ‘Next big in-place for dining out in Belfast’; ‘left us intoxicated’; ‘I thought I’d been teleported to Paris’; ‘Such a wonderful surprise, I was struggling to take it all in’; ‘Wow factor’; ‘A very posh experience indeed’; ‘little jewel.’

    I’m sure Daniel Boulud would kill for a review of this calibre. Was Paula McCrory paid for this article? I’m sure she was paid plenty.

    Phil- I agree that it wasn’t the most balanced review in the world, but I don’t think we can blame Drennan’s for that! I’ve never seen the Belfast Telegraph give a bad review yet, even when you can tell they didn’t enjoy their food! Clearly Drennan’s does have a lot of very satisfied customers…I don’t think it’s their fault if the tele write a sychofantic review! 😀 – suzy2110

  17. 17 Rachelle
    June 9, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    I went to Drennan’s not long after reading your thoughts on it but mainly after reading the review in the paper. It was not long opened at the time and I do think that I am a fussy person who tends to find fault if I’m paying for it. I found the place to be very friendly, the food was excellent, the staff were polite and helpful, the portion sizes were just right, any bigger and we couldn’t have enjoyed our desserts and coffee. The chef spoke to us afterwards and was really keen to get our views on the place and any ideas we had to improve our experience. As a vegetarian who dined with someone with an allergy to pulses I thought the chef was remarkably helpful to us. I would certainly recommend the place to others and have done frequently.
    Maybe your experience was just teething problems as the resturant was taking off.

  18. 18 Sighcordelia
    June 9, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    It seems like a long time ago that we ate at Drennan’s, never realised that a perfectly innocent blog entry would generate such interest and in some cases such poison! Anyone who posts such offensive personal comments at someone who is expressing their opinion on a restaurant (!!) should hang their heads in shame. As I recall it, the food at Drennan’s was quite lovely, the portions could have been more generous, and waiting times for courses did seem overlong, though staff were attentive and helpful throughout. That is all 🙂

  19. 19 aaaa
    June 22, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    I will give you factual details of my experience @ Drennans – the good & the bad – only fair.
    1. Had informed them dinner was special occasion & had been reccommended by friends to ask for table beside piano in upper part of restaurant which I did & was advised no problem via telephone. On arrival was directed to table in back of restaurant. This was corrected with no problems. ( but lack of attention to detail & made no effort to ask about the special occasion- missed an opportunity to impress)
    2. Drennans accepts hen parties.
    3. Nice touch was waitress offering to chill 2nd bottle of wine while we drank first.
    4. Food fabulous & head chef Tom a gentleman who genuinely cares about your experience.
    5. Head waitress failed to take down order correctly in that she forgot to write down 1 out of 2 starters. Therefore only 1 starter arrived! On making her aware she very defensive & not very agreeable – claiming she thought we had said we sharing starter – not the case.
    6. As mentioned earlier portion size small – in relation to mussels- mean portion. So when I asked could my partner have another portion to eat whilst I had my starter eventually so that I did not have to eat alone this was frowned upon.
    7. Lack of customer first attitude/genuine apology. I know anyone can make a mistake but reaction of Head Waitress unsatisfactory. She is that position to handle complaints/disappointment & turn the situation around.
    8. Fairly expensive – £18 steak & have to pay £1.50 extra if you would like a sauce with it = £19.50 with no veg. Although must say steak delicious & cooked perfectly . Pepper sauce/tobacco onions lovely. Roast Med Veg also v good.
    9. The restaurant does not accept any cards – only cash & cheque. I feel this is not satisfactory as you are not advised when making booking or on arrival. Realistically who pays for a meal with cash?? They must be the only establishment left that encourage you to pay be cheque… I feel the restaurant has been open long enough to have got this sorted or at least they should have a policy to advise of this when booking. This resulted in my partner having to go out in the rain to the nearest ATM – hardly a relaxing way to finish a meal. V. unprofessional. And what happens if nearby ATMs out of service??
    10. Overall based on my experience in relation to customer service from head waitress I will not return – she unapologetic also in relation to not accepting cards. I feel that she let the restaurant down badly. She was more interested in chatting to pianist on this particular evening than providing a good service to customers. When we asked for bill & taxi she continued chatting for a substancial time before making any effort to get the bill. We were an inconvenience. I think to sum it up – I am used to better c service elsewhere & as a job I train people in c service. I suggest that you do try this restaurant – if only for the surroundings/food & you may be lucky & receive good service on the night, depending.

  20. 20 futire
    June 24, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I would agree with the posting from aaaa their customer service is a total disaster.
    My husband and I went to Drennan’s with open mind having read all the reviews. And boy was I totally let down by the portion sizes, quality of food and customer service.
    The starter size of mussels was a laugh although my pumpkin tart was not a bad size for starter. For main course my husband got the duck confeit and it was like rubber, we tried on several occasions to get the attention of the staff to speak to them about the duck but were unsuccessful. When out plates were being cleared away my husband pointed out this fact and that he was unable to eat his meal and the waitress stated that it was duck confeit and cooked for a long time. As far as I am aware duck confeit is when the meat is cooked slowly in their own fat and confeit dishes are moist and delicate, not hard and rubbery.
    Another fact we noticed was that on no occasion did the staff approach our table to enquire if everything was ok.
    I will definately think twice before going back.
    My husband and I eat out at least twice a week at many lovely restaurants but this experience we did not enjoy.

  21. 21 aimee
    June 29, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    i have been to drennans restauraunt many times now and its brilliant and contrary to your review the managress (she is not the head waitress) is very nice and a kind woman and has always been exelant wen we have been there and before people go slagging her off get your facts right. obviously if an olcoholic comes in blocked to the restaurant the managress is not goin to be to pleased because she doesn want the restaurant getting a bad name it isnt her fault that u wer geting things rong and blaming her thats to who ever aaaa is ……..

    Ohhhhkay…before this gets into (another) slanging match, I’d like people to think about the comments they post here. It sounds like you know quite a bit about aaaa’s visit, which is strange. I will post this comment, but ANY kind of backlash from it will be deleted immediately. Thank you.
    In future, unless people post a balanced and well thought out comment, whether it be positive or negative, I am going to delete it without giving it a second thought. I am NOT interested in turning this into a war of words. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however this post was about the restaurant and not about making personal attacks on other people. I would ask others to respect this.

  22. 22 aaaa
    July 16, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Suzy,I would appreciate it if that previous post was removed or edited as it is wholly inaccurate & offensive. You do not need to post this comment, this is merely just a comment to you. i do not understand this comment at all or how this person can form an image/ opinion of someone they do not know!? I am astounded by it. I am happy for them that they have encountered positive service at Drennans. I truly wish I had never crossed the door of this establishment. Clearly this must be an assosciate of the ‘Manageress’ who also appears to have fabricated a whole different story…mmmm.

  23. 23 suzy2110
    July 16, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    OK, I’ve had enough of this. I never ever thought that a simple BLOG post could cause me (and others) so much grief. I am now locking this post, mainly because of the number of fruit and nut cases that there seems to be out there. For those of you who posted valid and carefully considered reviews (and aaaa, I do include you in that, I thought you gave a balanced view of your meal), I thank you. To Drennan’s, I wish you very well and you have a lovely restaurant, though you need to have a chat with some of your staff I think. I am sorry I ever posted this, but am absolutely not deleting my review as I didn’t say ANYTHING negative except for the portion sizes I received. How things can have been blown so massively out of proportion is beyond me. I am sick of receiving horrible personal emails, and of feeling ill every time I see another post on this review. So I hope I can just end it here and now.

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