Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Flying Fish Flavours Fly Faraway

YAY! Time for another restaurant review!

Today, it's Flying Fish Cafe - the top restaurant at Disney's Boardwalk Inn.

Sorry - you can't eat the signature mascot. (source food&wine)
It had been three years since The Ken Man and I had enjoyed a fabulous meal here, feeling we had discovered a hidden gem. I was really keen to see how it had stood up over time.

The cafe has a fairly informal but upmarket cafe feel. The little flying fish fly through the cafe using little parachutes, there are golden fish scales up the columns. This open space becomes very busy an fast paced and waiters and guests are coming and going (and going and coming and always too soon.) The lack of table cloths, open kitchen and hard walls can make it a bit noisy - but a fun bustling noisy.

(source: Walt Disney Company)

Once seated, I perused the menu looking for all my favourite things. The menu is predominately fishy in a modern American style. In some ways it seemed a bit fussy with too many special touches and ingredients.

Appetizers include things like "Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Crispy Tempura Tuna-Vegetable Sushi Roll - Hijiki and Wakame Seaweed, Yuzu Tobiko, Wasabi Foam, with Sweet-and-Spicy Sauce"; and "Our Signature Flying Fish Cafe "Crispy Maine Coast Jonah Crab Cake" - Savory Vegetable Slaw, Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, and Ancho Chile RĂ©moulade"

Now I am a reasonably experienced diner but I was a bit lost in this menu.  I chose the cheese - the "artisanal" cheese!

Creamy cheesy goodness - YUM!
I love cheese. And here was a huge plate of it! I enjoyed the whole thing and it was a very decent serving. Each variety was my new favourite as the plate mixed up a soft, a hard, a goat, a blue etc Really well chosen and generous. In all honesty, I could have stopped the meal there.

But onwards - tally pip! to the main (or entree - as in the USA). Tagged with another impossibly long description I was served "Rainforest Pepperberry-grilled Kurobuta Pork Tenderloin - leek, fontina and truffle-laced pasta Mac n Cheese, grilled asparagus with kiln-dried and fresh Bing cherry, Port wine, balsamico, tiny onion and trumpet mushroom compote". I wonder what that Kiln does to the asparagus that can't be done in an oven?
yep - all of that is on this plate
This was a big powerful rich strong flavoured dish. Just my thing! Pork was a loin - very lean - however it was high quality, cooked evenly and moist. Everything was dowsed in the strong flavours from the complex jus.

Mac and cheese is a US kiddie standby appearing on many menus at Disney - but this one was a special adult version and it was a whole bowl! This one stunned me - somehow the balance of flavours was magnificent. I could clearly taste each of the leek, fontina and truffle. How wonderful that not one flavour dominated. The mac and cheese is also available to be ordered as a side dish.

There is a reason why this is permanently on their menu. This dish would suit anyone who is after complex big bold flavours and is VERY HUNGRY - what with a large portion of protein and then more proteiny carbs.

Because I can't control myself I had ordered a side dish. The Fines-Herb roasted and cultivated mushrooms. Just because.

The crockery here comes only in the large size.
These were also lovely. Not watery, but buttery and tender. Much more gentle and subtle I flavour. Of course I only had a few spoons. There was no way to eat the entire bowl!

So you can see the portions are very generous and really I could have easily shared all this and still be sated.

So sitting there like Mr. Creasote, I can't remember how or why but some force over took me and I ordered dessert. I admit I avoided all the chocolate, the creme brulee, the puddings and decided that the novelty of "Trio of Concession Sweets - Out on the Boardwalk - Popcorn Mousse and Caramel Corn, Cherry-limeade popsicle, dark chocolate fudge burger, and pound cake fries" had to be experienced.
Didn't leave out an ingredient - you know what you are getting

This is where the restaurant makes an uncharacteristic departure. After being a solid, protein and carb type of place, suddenly this dessert goes off into that Heston Blumenthal space of "nothing is as it appears". However it is at least good fun, and it is congruent with the Boardwalk location.

Was I fine dining or at the drive-in?
The popcorn mousse was really bland. Just soft and sweet with no real defining flavour. The caramel corn on the top tasted OK but the popcorn was stale and soft.

The "burger and fries" only got worse.

Something dragged out from under the boardwalk.
The fries and the "bun" were made out of cake. Dry, stale, hard pound cake. One bite was enough for me.

The "Burger" had a "meat pattie" made out of solid dark chocolate. It was probably made from organic, fair trade, venezulan beaver chocolate but it tasted like compound mixed with butter to me. One bite was enough for me. There were some little pearls that were made out of the same chocolate but I don't know what they represent. The "cheese" was a flat square of white chocolate that had been coloured with "cheese" food colouring. yeah - one bite. Honestly - by this point I thought they had bought me the display dessert that had been in the front window for a week.

So I sat there sucking my icy pole. Despite its dark red colour, it had a very strong tart lime flavour. Turns out this was a fab ending to the meal! Cleansed my palate, was light and fruity and washed everything down. Saved the dessert for me.

3 Mr Creasotes - for absolute piggy factor with HUGE servings of protein and carbs


And 2 spoonfuls of sugar - mostly good - although I had delicious cheese - they didn't prepare that - they choose it - but .... well..... and let down by dessert; and I wonder if bold strong flavours take away some of the subtly - however enjoyable those flavours are. (since when did i become sooo judgmental??)

Go to the Boardwalk for Flying Fish - stick to their time tested standard dishes as what they do best. You will have a fab filling flavourful foody experience.

Boardwalk at night - whisking me back to the 1940's

Go to to check out the full Flying Fish Cafe menu and decide - is this one place you want to dine when in Orlando in 2014?

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes a taste is all you need for the experience