May 02, 2013
There are only four tables in the Queen Victoria Room, the inner sanctum of Victoria and Albert's that serves only a 10-course tasting menu. Its quiet. Maybe too quiet as we initially felt like we had to speak in a whisper so as not to disturb the other diners. |
Our servers, a man and a woman (not named Victoria and Albert) were the only people to serve the table. They were very pleasant and attentive. And this is where we encounter the first reason they have no Michelin stars: We have found that in the fine dining world there is a kind of shorthand used when serving food to people who know food. At V&A, every little thing is explained with an unnecessary bit of pomp and circumstance.
The food, however, is really good. With its basis in French, the cuisine also pulls from Asia and America. Each course was perfectly cooked and the pacing of the meal was good.
The flavors are not adventurous, but they did have some nice combinations. The chef leans toward comforting rather than surprising. Chicken liver pâté, Lamb and curry, salmon and soy. Nice cuts of meat with rich sauces. The presentation is pretty and simple. No molecular gastronomy. No French Laundry-esque play on words. Thankfully, it is also not based on Victorian era British food.
Service is unique in that the waitstaff is given a table-side task for almost every course. At times, this presents a nice opportunity to speak with the servers and learn more about the food or the operation of the restaurant. Unfortunately, the responsibilities of our waiter were limited to some fairly mundane tasks: warming croutons, shaving bonito, shaving truffles, and pouring sauces. The interaction seemed forced, as if, because its Disney we must include a bit of showmanship. A little bit is good. Knowing when to stop is what separates great restaurants from Victoria & Alberts.
December 25, 2001 (Christmas Day)
December 02, 2004
Living in Celebration, Florida affords me the opportunity to spend many days at Walt Disney World and I have become friends with many of the cast members there. In particular, I befriended the manager of Victoria & Albert's and was granted a special request on one of the busiest days at the restaurant.|
As a Celebration resident I usually dine at least 4 times a week for dinner at the Celebration Hotel's Plantation Room restaurant which is one of those secret places you share with only the best of friends. Now you are my friends and can share some incredible dinners, too! I had made reservations for myself and two friends to enjoy Christmas Dinner at the Plantation Room on Christmas Day at 7PM and was looking forward to an exceptional offering as usual (They had a huge Christmas feast planned with duck, turkey, ham, pheasant, you get it, the works). However, when 7PM rolled around, I was informed by the Catering Manager (also a friend) that they had run out of the sumptuous dinner and only had the normal menu left available for me and my guests. Needless to say I was a bit disappointed (steamed is more like it).
I immediately called my manager friend at Victoria & Albert's, hoping against hope that he could perhaps squeeze in one more table for a late sitting at the restaurant (remember this is 7PM on Christmas Day and none of the 20 tables could have been available). I was in shock when he said that as a favor he would hold open a table for us if we could get there right away.
Are you kidding me! My friends were impressed that I could even pull off such a feat (I was too) and off we went to the Grand Floridian!
For Christmas, Victoria & Albert's pulls out all the stops for a dining treasure that is unparalleled - truly earning their 5-diamond rating!
Everything was impeccable. Victoria & Albert's wine list is one of the most extensive in the country featuring wines from $25.00/bottle up to more than $10,000/bottle.
I remember that I had the Lobster Bisque for my soup course and Roasted Lamb for the entree, several bottles of wine (we were celebrating Christmas and making merry), and all the usual culinary delights Disney prepares for special dinners such as this.
The experience was unforgettable and ranks as one of the best meals I have ever eaten.
Date(s) of Stay: 12/25/2001
Type/Class of room: N/A
Accommodations Review: N/A
Rate/Night (for your stay): N/A
Concierge Parking At Grand Floridian: $15.00
Special Suit For Christmas Dinner: $900.00
Christmas Dinner with Wine for 3 : $3,000.00
Making emergency reservations at Victoria & Albert's on Christmas Day: Priceless
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September 23, 2003
Here's our experience with V&A. It was nice to see that two guys dining together for an anniversary dinner wasn't an issue (not that it should be).|
The day was sunny and fine, and we spent most of the day at EPCOT - leaving our suits stashed in the lockers at the Epcot bus station.
We then went and changed into our suits, hopped on the Monorail to the TTC, and swapped over to the Resort Transport monorail loop.
Straight off the monorail, and we were in the elegant lobby of the Grand Floridian Hotel. Being Christmas, there was a giant tree dominating the scene, as well as a huge gingerbread house (how we were tempted, but it would have spoiled out appetites).
We went around to the entrance to Victoria and Albert's and peeked in to make sure the Maitre D was expecting us. He was, and we were soon shown to our table.
The dining room is small, and the arrangement was such that we felt quite private, and not at all "on show". We were situated to the right of the main entrance, against a beautifully upholstered wall. The other diners were unobtrusive, and their quiet chat was absorbed by the delightful music being played on a classical guitar to the left of the entrance.
The guitarist played a warm gentle mix of Disney songs ('When you wish upon a star' nearly brought me to tears) and seasonal carols, which enhanced the experiene no end, but never intruded into conversation or became distracting.
We were welcomed by our Victoria (Anita) and our Albert (Don), and given our menus (each one customized with our name written in flowing gold script and our names and the occasion printed inside each menu) to peruse. While Victoria gave us the run-down on each dish on the menu, Albert was off fetching Champagne for us. We gave Victoria our choices, and settled in for an evening of luxury.
The first course was an 'Amuse bouchee' - to entertain the mouth. It was a single morsel, dainty, but with many mingled flavours. The Champagne was real French Champagne (Duval-Leroy Brut Non Vintage - http://www.asiacuisine.com.sg/Reviews/Wine/2002/3/137/ ) and was light, frothy and foamy - not at all like the dull flat "Champagnes" we had been used to.
Our plates were cleared, and we settled in for a chat. Our next course arrived, and it was the Smoked Buffalo Tenderloin with Fennel and Apple Salad. We had both ordered this, as we had always wanted to try Buffalo - it was tender and tasty. The portion was not huge, however with 5 courses to go, we decided that bigger is not necessarily better in this case. The wine to accompany this course was the Hartford Pinot Noir, Sonoma 2000 ( http://www.hartfordcourt.com/hartford/wines/pinotnoir ), and was perfect in tandem with the buffalo.
For the third course, I went with the South Florida Rabbit "Cassoulet" with Leek Fondue, which was accompanied by the Pinot Blanc Lucien Albrecht, Alsace 2000 (a nice light white). Greg (who has a soft spot for rabbits) decided to order the Soy Glazed Duck (NOT Donald, thankfully) with Sugar Snap Peas and Miniature Corn, accompanied by the Mordagio Albarino, Rias Baixas 2001 (I found out that the finest Albariño wines do come in fact from the Rias Baixas zone of Galicia in Spain and are in great demand). Greg was certainly impressed. The sommelier at V&A certainly knows his job !
The Rabbit was as tender as you could want, and the leek fondue was totally inspired as an accompaniment (now, if only they gave away their recipes). Greg assures me the Duck was done to a turn, and was not overwhelmed by the soy glaze.
Fourth course was a shoe-in, as we are both lovers of cream soups. (although the Pheasant Consommé nearly tempted me) In the end, though, we both had the Yukon Gold-Marscapone Cream This was served with freshly ground black pepper, and was velvety smooth and delicious. There was no wine with this course (*hic*).
Now it was time for the Entree (Main Course to us Aussies). I had the Porcini Crusted Veal Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Risotto, which was served with the Haut-Médoc Château Lanessan Delbos-Bouteiller, Bordeaux 1998.
Greg had the Grilled Prime Filet over Potato Pillow and Cabernet Jus which was served with a glass of the Dolcetto Di Diano D'Alba, Montagrillo Piedmont 2000
After we were done with the entrée, they waited just the right amount of time before bringing out the Colston Basset Stilton with Burgandy Poached Pear. I LOVE stilton cheese, and the port that was served with this was the Ferreira Tawny, Porto, and I have never tasted a nicer port (and Ive tasted a few ! )
Dessert, dessert, dessert !! Never have we been more tempted, and this was one of the hardest decisions to make !! The Apple Mousse Tart with Calvados Carmel Sauce was served with a fabulously sticky Sauternes LaFleur D'Or, Bordeaux, 1999. Greg was over the moon with his sinful Hawaiian Kona chocolate Soufflé, which Albert served at the table by breaking open the top, and pouring a stream of Hot Chocolate Fudge sauce into.. he just kept pouring, and pouring, and pouring, until Greg finally stopped him We recommend everyone should try this opulent dessert ! It was also served with the Sauternes LaFleur D'Or, Bordeaux, 1999, which Greg liked, even though he is not normally a sweet wine type of guy.
Coffee was served with dessert, and we would advise that you get it, whether you drink coffee or not, simply because of the theatrical value of the fascinating coffee-pot that it is brewed and served in. They are made exclusively for Victoria & Alberts and make really good coffee !! (I believe Swiss Water Decaf is also available).
Gorgeous handmade chocolates arrived at the end of the meal with the cheque, and we were surprised by that special Disney Touch a single Red Rose for each of us, and a chocolate Anniversary card for us from the staff of V&A. We have never felt so pampered or special ! We also got to keep the Souvenir Personalised Menus.
Here was the menu, including the full list of choices offered that night:
Happy 3rd Anniversary
Welcome to Victoria and Albert's
10 December 2002
Course 1 - Both
Amuse Bouche - Prawn
Duval-Leroy Brut, Champagne NV
Course 2 - Both
Smoked Buffalo Tenderloin with Fennel and Apple Salad
Hartford Pinot Noir, Sonoma 2000
Also on offer for second course were
Herb Marinated Quail with French Lentils and Elephant Garlic Aioli
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2002
Iranian Karabarun Golden Osetra Caviar ($35.00 1/2oz - $70.00 1oz extra)
South Florida Rabbit "Cassoulet" with Leek Fondue
Pinot Blanc Lucien Albrecht, Alsace 2000
Soy Glazed Duck with Sugar Snap Peas and Miniature Corn
Mordagio Albarino, Rias Baixas 2001
Course 4 - Both
Yukon Gold-Marscapone Cream
Also on offer for the soup course was
Porcini Crusted Veal Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Risotto
Haut-Médoc Château Lanessan Delbos-Bouteiller, Bordeaux 1998
Grilled Prime Filet over Potato Pillow and Cabernet Jus
Dolcetto Di Diano D'Alba, Montagrillo Piedmont 2000
Also Available for Course Five were:
Alaskan King Salmon with Artichokes, Wild Rice and Beet Ragoût
Guenoc Chardonnay "Genevieve Magoon Vineyard", Guenoc Valley 1999
Petit Poulet "Coq Au Vin" with Fingerling Potatoes
Côte de Brouilly Château Thivin, C ru Beajolais 1999
Course 6 - Both
Colston Basset Stilton with Burgandy Poached Pear
Ferreira Tawny, Porto
Also Available for Course six was:
Terrine of Sorbet with Pomegranate Seeds
Brachetto d'Acqui Banfi "Rosa Regale", Piedmont 2001
Green Apple Mousse Tart with Calvados Carmel Sauce
Sauternes LaFleur D'Or, Bordeaux, 1999
Hawaiian Kona chocolate Soufflé
Sauternes LaFleur D'Or, Bordeaux, 1999
Also Available for Course seven (all served with the sauterne) were:
Pyramid of Tanzani Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries
Caramelized Banana Gâteau
Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
Grand Marnier Soufflé
Coffee and Chocolates
Our Victoria: Anita
Our Albert: Don
Chef de Cuisine: Scott Hunnel
Pastry Chef: Erich Herbitschek
Maitre d'Hotel: Brian Koziol
It was a truly memorable evening, and the only hitch was that they used one merchant number to check our credit card before the meal, and a different one when we paid, which tied up some $300.00 for a week on our card !
I believe this doesnt happen to everyone, however it was a bit of a shock for us (we thought we had been billed twice).
That aside, I would still recommend Victoria & Alberts as #1 for a romantic and eternally memorable evening perfect for that ultimate Special Occasion.
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