Monday, 14 October 2013

Munching my way to paradise - at Victoria and Albert's Restaurant

Everyone at some point can enjoy a great meal - right?

Even people who just see food as a calorific experience or at the other extreme - gourmands who chase down extreme meals - even these people can occasionally spot an exceptional experience (surely?)

And so I donned my Mr Creasote attitude and the infinity expanding dress and went to enjoy my highlight meal at Victoria and Albert's restaurant at the Grand Floridian Resort.  My highlight meal - at the Chef's Table!! Solo ..........(said in singsong voice)

yep - I booked that baby - one sitting per night - and it was all MINE!

and, really, that attitude was pretty much the one I maintained throughout 11 courses.

OK - so one arrives at the delightfully elegant restaurant entrance, and am pretty swiftly escorted out the back - although I may tempt the situation at times, I was not escorted ALL THE WAY out through the rear exit. Down to a little area at the back of a pretty small kitchen is where they have the little guest table.

Not a revolving restaurant with fireworks

I have no idea what dishes they produce from this little tiny area - it was obviously not the only  preparation area. There seemed to be working on appetizers / entrees / main course - savory meaty things. There was a distinct lack of dessert.

Sitting there slowly getting tipsy on the provided glass of Piper Hiedieck Cuvee champagne, Head Chef Scott Hunnel was suddenly present - joining me with a glass of champagne - and welcoming me to the restaurant.

so ... it was kinda like this ...except less beautiful people and more Mr Creasote (source: doctored by me, original by wdwcompany)

Chef Hunnel reiterated my booking requests - no chicken or offal, more seafood and game! and then the dishes began to arrive.

In my desire to simply serve you I have made this little mini film of all the dishes! See how I care for you?

Oh WOW - did you catch all that? Here are some little fun facts:

  • The "fog" in the lamb dish is made with appley juice - so the room smells all appley!
  • The miniature herbs and vegetables come from a specialist gardener in Ohio, Chef's Garden. They grow everything to precise order - so 21 day old carrots or 14 day leeks as small as your finger. And they are harvested by miniature bunnies.

  • You can pay extra to add special ingredients including caviar and Australian wagyu beef
  • You can pay extra and get completely smashed with a matching glass of wine for every course! yes 11 glasses of wine for dinner .... your cordon bleu would quickly become "cor, I'm bleurgghhhh"
  • They customise every dinner, so no two meals are the same, and you can have dishes different to what is served in the main dining room.
  • The seating lasts about 4 hours. You can take a break - or possibly even go watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks.
  • Every dish was served by a different person - I met all the main players in the restaurant.
  • The Chef's Table can accommodate up to 10 guests
  • If I had a man with me, his take away gift would have been a small loaf of orange bread stuff
The whole time I am munching away, these guys are working
Chef Hunnel like to run what he calls a "quiet kitchen" - so sorry - there are no Gordan Ramsay-ish outbursts. I suppose it works for him. He does have an awful lot of awards and is considered Orlando's No.1 restaurant by a number of outlets and check out the reviews on Tripadvisor

So this meal went both to my head and my waistline. I was a giggling food expert about 3 dishes in - admiring the technical expertise, how the beauty and flavour of best quality ingredients was highlighted in every dish, and pleasantly surprised at how new blends of flavours came together so well - or old favourite flavours were masterfully replicated.

Preparing the meat portions on a large baking tray on the top burners. Up top is a tray of prepped golden chanterelle mushrooms

I simply can't say anything bad about this meal - they delivered all my favourite ingredients, prepared perfectly, there was plenty of theatre, talking to all of the people was like having a chat with your best friend - they are just so delightfully friendly!

Whilst a lot of money in absolute terms, my proposition is that this meal is actually excellent value - the meal cost me USD $300 - that covered everything - including tax, gratuity, world class 11 courses, an upgraded Dover Sole dish (not in video), 2 glasses of wine, tea, the take home chocolates and rose, and all the pleasure of private entertainment!

I am definitely doing this again in June - bookings open 180 days in advance of my hotel room arrival date - so I will be on the phone seeking a seating!


Save up your pennies now, join up with the Mrs. Banks Facebook Group and you will have first notice to join the group when I book.

I give this meal, 3 Mr Creasotes - cause it really was an extraordinary amount of food

and 6 spoon fulls of sugar - for absolute delightfulness!

What dining experiences are you joyfully anticipating for our trip to Orlando?

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