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“Enjoyable evening meal”

The Secret Garden at Dundonald Nurseries
Ranked #2 of 22 Restaurants in Dundonald
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $1 - $12
Cuisines: British, Cafe
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Scenic view
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Our newly built 125 seater restaurant and gift shop is cosy and full of character with vaulted ceilings, old beams, huge fireplaces and Belfast brick. If you gaze out the window you will see beautiful views towards Stormont and the Craigantlet Hills, we have a winning combination.Using locally sourced products to give you that unforgettable local taste, all freshly prepared by our chefs! For a special treat why not try our sumptuous afternoon teas served on silver cake stands. Perfect to share with a friend on a day out.We also cater for coeliac dietary requirements and those seeking gluten free options. Most of our homemade soups are gluten free on a daily basis. If its breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or our late night menu we are the place to be. You will experience our warm, friendly and dedicated team of staff, our Antica coffee beans, wood roasted in Trieste and award winning Thompson tea in a homely and comfortable environment creating a buzzing atmosphere to top it off. Outside are beautiful gardens and a two acre nursery full of plants, tubs and hanging baskets grown by ourselves so do not hesitate to ask for free plant advice from our knowledgeable horticulturists! We are open Monday to Saturday with late opening Thursday and Saturday Evening. Check out our Evening section to see our Thursday and Saturday night menu. We also can cater for private events, just drop us a call or email and we will get straight back to you!We are not just a restaurant, we are an experience!
Reviewed August 23, 2013

Our party of 6 went to The Secret Garden last Thursday evening.
We had a really enjoyable experience.
I was impressed with the customer service - our young waiter was especially polite and helpful. Whilst the restaurant was quite busy, we still were given very good service and attention. The food was also very good - down to earth but with flavour and well presented, with good portions and overall good value.
A very pleasant atmosphere and surroundings - we were upstairs.
We have been several times to this restaurant during the day and would definitely return.

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1  Thank NMC061
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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518 - 522 of 575 reviews

Reviewed August 18, 2013

I've been to the Secret Garden twice now, both times with my two sisters, who seem to like the place and keep trying to convince me to give it another chance. As I have worked in catering on and off for eight years, I admit I have quite high standards, and can be quite fussy when it comes to eating out (especially when it comes to the conduct of the waiting staff!). The first time, we went for lunch; I was surprised to find there was a queue, as it was shortly after they had first opened and we hadn't anticipated a lot of people. However, we were told we could be seated immediately, as long as we didn't mind sitting at the door. We didn't and were promptly seated (admittedly, it was immediately in front of the entrance, so we could see why older customers might not want to sit there). We were given menus quickly enough by an older lady; however, that's where the decent enough experience ends. She started by coming right up close to each of us in turn and going through the menu, explaining that, "this part is the breakfast menu, but you can't have anything off that because it's not breakfast time; this is the sandwich section; this is the hot specials" etc etc. (we are three university-educated young ladies; we can negotiate a lunch menu); it took her a good five minutes to go through it with each of us, and by this point I was ready for a vodka, which certainly was NOT on the menu! She left us to choose our lunch, and then returned, and COUGHED the whole time she was taking our order; not just a polite little cough, but a full hacking, phlegmy racket! I quickly began to feel ill; she didn't cover her mouth or apologise! We would have been happy for her to retire to the bathroom and recover herself, rather than spread her germs all over us and our table, but unfortunately she persisted, and took our order off to the kitchen, still coughing all the while!

When our food arrived it was distinctly underwhelming. I had ordered a chicken and bacon sandwich on brown bread; it came on white bread with none of the mayonnaise I had, but a smear of some low-fat spread in its place. In addition, the bacon was freezing cold and, for some bizarre reason, chopped up into little bits, so that every time I tried to lift my sandwich to my mouth an avalanche of bacon tumbled onto the plate! I left the place without sweet or coffee (too afraid to invite back our coughing server), feeling disappointed and determined not to return.

Cut to last Thursday, my sisters decided to treat me to breakfast, and the Secret Garden was suggested as it is close to us and handy to get to. We had two portions of French toast and one of pancakes, with two teas and a cinnamon steamer. I was relieved to find that our previous waitress was nowhere in sight; we were greeted by a younger, slightly vapid server who seemed confused when my sister requested sausages in place of bacon with her pancakes, as she doesn't like the latter. We received our drinks after a bit of a wait (during which our server and the barista enjoyed a lengthy chat), and our food a good bit after that. The bacon was delicious, the maple syrup was ample, but the French toast was just ok. I'm not a huge fan of cinnamon, and nowhere on the menu was cinnamon mentioned, but when I received my breakfast the overwhelming flavour from the eggy batter was....cinnamon. Maybe they should mention that cinnamon is incorporated into the recipe...?

My sister (who IS a fan of cinnamon) said that her cinnamon steamer couldn't have tasted LESS of cinnamon. Maybe they used all the cinnamon from the coffee station in the French toast....

Overall, not hugely impressed with the Secret Garden; it's a shame that the food and service - the two main aspects of any café or restaurant - are so disappointing, as it could be a great place. The décor is nice, they have a sweet little gift shop on the ground floor, and the views from the second floor are great. They just need to sort everything else out. Shame.

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6  Thank ReallyBadEggs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2013

was back at the restaurant again for lunch after not being there for a while and was surprised the staff remembered both my husband and myself by name which was really lovely . food and service was great as usual cant wait to go again really soon

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1  Thank 886helo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2013 via mobile

Went here for lunch last week, for what must have been my 15th visit since its opening! As usual I genuinely can not say enough about how much I enjoyed the experience! The staff are all very friendly and attentive and show genuine interest when dealing with you. I ordered the burger with goats cheese and bacon, which was served with chips, coleslaw and a side salad. I thought this excellent value for money at only £8.95! As usual the restaurant was very busy and the atmosphere buzzing! The coffee is also excellent, not the usual run of the mill "coffee shop" brand! Can't wait for my next visit, it's becoming an addiction!!

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1  Thank Gwright1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2013

Arrived for lunch at 12.30. Downstairs was full so were told to go upstairs. No-one to meet us up there so found our own table. Order was taken promptly. We went for soup, soup and sandwich and sticky chilli beef with rice. Over 30 mins later the food arrived. Soup no 1 cold and served with only one small slice of wheaten bread and no butter. This was sent back for a boost in the microwave. Sandwich was wrong as well and both soup and sandwich returned to kitchen. Beef dish was more likes a children's portion certainly not good enough for 8.95. Sandwich arrived back and was still wrong so sent back to be remade again. When finally returned the soup was of course freezing and was sent back to reheat. So in the end we all ate separately and none of us enjoyed our lunch. We had obviously been too much trouble at this stage as from that point on we were ignored by the staff with no table clearing or coffee/dessert ordering happening so we decided to leave. There was no attempt by the staff to compensate us in any way but they did agree not to charge for the sandwich when they were asked to do something. Based on the other reviews, we must have visited on an off day but our experience would have been so much different had they got the basics right.

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4  Thank alfie74_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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