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O'Neills's Review ~ 2014
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Review: O'Neill's Irish Pub & Grill, Winchester, UK ~ 2014
O'Neill's photo compilation

O'Neill's, 90–91 High Street, Winchester. It had to be a yes to Ursula when she kindly asked if we'd like to sample a few new additions to the O'Neill's menu – and check out the recently refurbished interior. We'd enjoyed two super meals there before and felt sure that the next would prove to be just as good.

Interior. We arrived around 6.30pm with high expectations and empty stomachs to another warm welcome from the staff. There were quite a few people enjoying a meal or friendly drink but it wasn't crowded. We immediately recognized that the interior had been stylishly refreshed. The entrance still retains a dramatic feel through its use of space, warm wooden features, never–ending bar (still immaculate) and pretty lighting (see photo top of page).

The more private areas, accessed via a few stairs to a second level, remain in place for diners fancying a snug meal for two or party celebration. On this occasion we chose an upper level table by the back courtyard that overlooked the bar (so as not to disturb diners with camera flashes), and happily requested that Chef decide our dishes from the menu's latest additions.

Starter: "Duck, Apricot & Shallot Rillette". An intriguing dish comprising a pot of warm, luxuriantly textured duck pate topped with olive oil and accompanied by spiced pear & date chutney, toasted ciabatta, and dressed mixed salad.

"Crickey", some might say, "That sounds a bit posh" – and they'd be right; this dish would not appear out of place on many a swankier leaning restaurant menu or table. We both agreed our starter was outstanding – especially the ciabatta chunks dunked and smothered in the hot olive oil and pate.

Seafood Linguini. A fragrant, creamy linguini dish comprising king prawns, salmon, squid and Irish West Coast mussels in a white wine & saffron sauce.

We both thought the linguini spot on – el Dante; nice and chewy, not watery/bloated. There was an ample portion of each seafood element to ensure satisfaction, with each delicate flavour holding its own. The dish came gently seasoned – a dish such as this can be easily ruined when over generous with the sodium chloride. That said, should your taste buds require a tad more seasoning, help yourself.

We enjoyed a glass of house white wine with our mains which we found to be a crisp and pleasant accompaniment to this light, yet substantial, dish.

Meatball Linguini. A feast for our eyes that comprised generously sized Irish beef meatballs in a tomato and garlic sauce, topped with cheese shavings.

We've never needed to use the word "hearty" to describe what is essentially an Italian pasta dish, but this most definitely was. The meatballs were large and juicy – and the sauce; as tomato–esque and thick as it should be (plus it wasn't over powered by garlic). Linguini with clout – delicious.

Bockwurst Hot Dog. A glorious sight that comprised premium German Bockwurst in a soft bun topped with fried onions, ketchup and mustard zig-zagged along the top (see photo top of page).

The story of this dish is that O'Neill's trialled two versions, the other being "The O'Neill's Hot Dog" (giant Irish pork & leek sausage in a soft bun topped with fried onions, ketchup and mustard). Both proved to be equally popular thus two types of hot dog dishes now feature on the menu.

The hot dog laid before us was huge (very probably enough for two), and truly looked the full package. The onions that were placed liberally, and generously, across the top looked delicious. When bitten the succulent, chargrilled sausage simply burst with juicy flavour and the accompanying onions and sauce melded with the seasoned meat just as they should. One observation is that the German Bockwurst sausage might prove a little salty for some, but this seems to be a standard in their creation – the Irish hot dog sounds a viable alternative (though we haven't tried it).

We both thought the hot dog would make a near perfect accompaniment to beer. It also offers a great dish for kids who, if unavoidably a little messily, would surely enjoy devouring the lot (bring wipes!).

A side of chips was neatly presented in a ceramic bowl and, as has been the case for each of our visits, each chip was piping hot, light, crispy – and not at all greasy.

Pudding. Although (as has now become the norm) we were very nicely full at this stage, we simply couldn't say no to trying the warm Chocolate Fudge Cake with vanilla ice cream. This pudding is described on the menu as "large enough to share" and yes, it really is.

The rich cake was warm, luxuriantly chocolaty, and when combined with the melting, delicately flavoured, creamy ice cream, rounded off the dinner supremely well – a real treat (so much so that a piece was ordered to take–away!).

Verdict. O'Neill's in Winchester really does serve decent, honest food. The new dishes we were introduced did not disappoint – absolutely delicious. It is clear that O'Neill's is upholding its promise to offer substantial, delicious, innovative food at prices that ensure their customers get super value and a super meal.

You'll find an inspiring range of well thought out menus on the O'Neill's feature (linked below) as well as their website. Choose from Breakfast, Lunch, Fixed, Sunday, Bar Snacks, etc. There's even a dedicated Children's menu. Each menu is regularly updated to offer diners a variety of tasty traditional favourites alongside new and creative dishes.

O'Neill's Pub & Grill. 90–91 High Street, Winchester. Hampshire.
Tel: (01962) 844001

For menus, special offers, events diary, photos & contact details:
Click to visit the O'Neill's Website

Our thanks for another super dining experience are warmly sent to
the O'Neill's team – together with our compliments to the Chef!

Review by
Paula & Richard 2014

O'Neill's Duck starter

Duck, Apricot & Shallot Rillette

Seafood Linguini

Seafood Linguini

O'Neill's meatballs dish

Meatballs Linguini

Bowl of chips

Bowl of Chips

Hot fudge cake

Hot Fudge Cake