Victoria & Albert at the Grand Floridian
Now this is a bit naughty of me as this is not a new restaurant report but one that was written after a Christmas week 04 trip. My excuse is that we are going to DLP tomorrow and I need to save time, in reality I just want to enjoy it all over again. The Foyer of the Grand Floridian was beautiful I remember and there was a live band playing carols on the first balcony. We had taken a late sitting at 9.30pm, and we were shown to our table and treated with fantastic service and hospitality until sometime after midnight.
We had discussed previously that we did not want to take the wine package simply because there were wines on the list we wanted to taste, beautiful Sauvignons from New Zealand and Ripe full Zinfandels from the Santa Rosa and Sonoma areas of California.
We were seated in the area under the dome with 3 other tables of 2. Outside this were a couple of larger tables including one of 12 with the most wonderfully behaved children ever. AC was oddly set on the low side as usual despite the fact Orlando was having some of the coldest evening temps for decades so Jackie kept her jacket over her strappy black dress for the first course at least.
After a tongue tingling Amuse Bouche to excite yet freshen the taste buds I had the Terrine of Foie Gras with Pumpernickel Curls and Sierra Beauty Apple Chutney and Jackie had the Jumbo Lump and Peekytoe Crab Timbale with Avocado Crouton. It would quickly become rather repetitive of me to keep describing each dish as outstanding so I will try to pick out one thing that was excellent in each dish and suffice to say that quality, presentation, service, the waiters and waitresses explanations of each dish, seasoning, texture etc etc were second to none for every course.
Here in the first course I notice from some hasty notes that the texture was perfect in the Terrine and that every ingredient worked with the other, never did one flavour shout out or overpower the others.
The next course was a Kurobuta Pork Tenderloin and Belly with Serrano Ham for myself and Nantucket Scallop with Shaved Fennel and Satsuma Tangerines for Jackie
Here the small piece of Pork Belly was a masterpiece in long slow cooking.. Our waitress explained the Belly had been slow roasted for over 24hrs .It was a texture I had never tasted before..Even Jackie was persuaded to take a sliver and this is a girl who will not let a morsel of fat pass her lips.
Next was Alaskan Sable Fish with Florida Corn, topped with a garnish of wild mustard cress that was a taste experience on its own; just a slight criticism here, babycorn should not be served in any restaurant. It seems to me to be one of the most useless vegetables on the planet, thankfully it had been cut in half. It seems to be a dinner party cliche vegetable that provides no taste, a poor texture and is the most bland insipid color in the world once cooked..(Rant over back to the meal).. The fish was superb though and wonderfully cooked, flaking yet still translucent.Jackie took the Kabocha Squash Cream with Hazlenuts in a mini Zucchini, this she declared as wonderful, with just a hint of spice, so good in fact she was part way through it before we got the camera onto it.
Next the MacFarlane Pheasant with Porcini Pasta and Truffle Foam and the Marcho Farm Veal Tenderloin with Laura Chenel Goat Cheese Gnocchi.. Beautiful.
The next course was a Baked Seckle Pear with Gorgonzola Dolce and there was plenty of Gorgonzola in the poached pear, and Jackie had the Pineapple Passion Sorbet with Micro Mint. Nice and refreshing.I then had the Grand marnier souffle and Jackie had the Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee. All of this was then followed by a scientific demonstration in how to make coffee using a vacuum, only I forgot to take a picture of the antique looking machine that was brought to the table.
In all the bill came to $274 dollars, including wine and service. The service and most importantly the dishes were exemplary in every way, the whole experience is given that touch of Disney Magic (all be it in a good subtle way).
Worth therefore every cent.