I went to Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort by myself and spent $585.
The restaurant is known for its tasting menu and over-the-top culinary creations.
The four dessert courses were worth sitting through an over four-hour dining experience.
The restaurant is located on the second floor of the Grand Floridian Resort.
After valeting my car, which is complimentary for diners with a reservation, I made my way up the staircase to the restaurant.
I was asked by multiple guests and Disney employees if I was going to Victoria & Albert's because I was in a floor-length black dress and high heels. It was a far departure from my normal theme-park attire, but the restaurant has a semi-formal/formal dress code.
Once I reached the restaurant doors, they were graciously opened by a host, who welcomed me into the newly refurbished dining room.
The main dining room was absolutely stunning.
The white pillars around the dining room were covered in 3D flowers and butterflies that were really only noticeable if you got up close.
I could hear the live harpist playing in the background as I walked in — she was set up right in the middle of the room so everyone could see and enjoy.
She played everything from Disney classics to songs by The Weeknd. The latter was a bit unexpected in a fine-dining setting, but it worked.
I was handed a welcome drink before sitting down.
Before I was taken to my table, I was given a welcome drink, and the maître d' explained what it was in great detail.
Inside the thin-stemmed wine glass was a jasmine aperitif, which was slightly floral and a bit citrusy.
I took my glass to the table with me to finish the drink with the first few bites of food.
Before the meal started I was given a printed version of the menu I'd be tasting.
One of the hallmarks of dining at Victoria & Albert's is the completely customized menu that all guests get. It came in a silver envelope with my name on it.
After glancing over the 10-course chef's-dégustation menu ($375), my service team for the evening asked if there was anything I'd like changed or substituted.
The only thing I swapped was the seventh course, which originally came with lamb. The chef was able to make a quick change so the plate came with pork instead.
I opted for the zero-proof cocktail pairing to go with my meal.
I'd normally get a wine pairing with this style of meal, but I was intrigued by the new zero-proof cocktail (aka mocktail) pairing ($110).
The chefs at Victoria & Albert's came up with the idea during the extended closure of the restaurant between 2020 and 2022 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The first course was a set of three small bites.
Once the menu was to my liking, the first course — a set of three small bites — was served. Even though they were small in size, they were huge in flavor.
The first was a cube of pink pineapple, topped with tiny leaves of Thai basil, a few dollops of spiced mango puree, and pretty edible flowers. It was sweet, slightly spicy, and a nice palate cleanser before the slightly heavier bites to come.
The second bite was a small tartlet filled with langoustine (Norwegian lobster). It was topped with a very small piece of watermelon and the pulp of finger limes. Each of the curves of the tart shell was filled in with a single petal from an edible flower.
The last bite of the course was a miniature éclair topped with a thin layer of miso caramel and a roll of salty Cinco Jotas Ibérico ham. The sweet notes from the caramel played well with the salty ham, and the pastry shell still had a bit of crunch, which was nice.
There were three kinds of bread served throughout the main portion of the meal.
Bread may seem like an afterthought at most restaurants, but at Victoria & Albert's, it's part of the experience. Different kinds of bread are served at predetermined points throughout the meal.
The first was a small epi bread, which was similar in style to a baguette.
The second was a layered bread, much like a croissant, but it was in the shape of a small cylinder.
The last was a hearty nine-grain bread, made from a dough starter Disney has been using for 30 years. My waitress told me that the starter was consistently fed by a current chef during the closure so the restaurant wouldn't lose the irreplaceable bread.
Caviar was the star of the second course.
The second course arrived with great fanfare — it was topped with a beautiful quenelle (three-sided oval presentation technique) of Royal Belgian caviar over a silky smooth cauliflower panna cotta.
The caviar was briny and popped in my mouth with each bite, and the panna cotta was cool and milky to counterbalance the dish.
The plate came with a tiny mother-of-pearl spoon, so the flavor of the caviar wasn't impacted by regular silverware.
The dish was paired with a naturally carbonated yuzu seltzer. It was slightly fruity from the citrusy yuzu, with a hint of herbaceousness.
The first of three fish dishes was next.
My server let me know that the next three courses would be fish, which I was excited about.
The first was a raw Danish hiramasa (yellowtail kingfish) with a cold carrot broth and purple Okinawan potatoes.
I tried the broth first and it was incredibly light but packed with carrot flavor. I'm not a huge carrot fan in general, but I kept going back for this.
The hiramasa was perfectly sliced and didn't taste fishy at all, so I think it was very fresh.
This dish was paired with a zero-proof cocktail made with tomatillos and honeydew. The light-green drink was served in a small coup glass and had a delicate taste that matched the subtlety of the raw fish.
A wild-turbot course followed.
The second fish dish was wild turbot, a type of white fish, on a bed of baby leeks and fennel.
The servers expertly prepared a sauce of Pernod beurre blanc and poured it around the fish.
The drink pairing was a slightly sweet option that leaned into the flavors of ripe summer peaches.
The last fish course was my favorite of the three.
The final fish plate was the one I'd been looking forward to the most.
The star of the dish was a small filet of Glacier 51 toothfish. The exterior of the fish was lacquered with a sweet, tangy sauce that gave way to a buttery interior.
It was plated on a bed of perfectly charred mushrooms and garnished with a slightly spicy dollop of sambal (chili sauce).
The dish came with another zero-proof cocktail, which reminded me of sake. It was made with lychee and basmati.
I appreciated that it was served in a small stemless cup (similar to how I've had sake before) especially since the course leaned into Asian-inspired flavors.
Course six was a chicken dish, but the star was the truffles.
I was definitely starting to get full, but my waitress assured me that the best was yet to come. She was right.
Course six was a roulade (rolled meat) of chicken and truffles.
It would've been great on its own, but since this is Victoria & Alberts, the chefs went all out. It was topped with a single handmade piece of ravioli and shavings of Australian black truffle.
Each bite was decadent and earthy. I savored this dish all the way to the end.
The drink pairing here was called "Guajillo Spice," and was smoky and spicy thanks to the use of various peppers.
The drink looked so much like bourbon in presentation and color (and even had the liquor's distinguishable afterburn) despite being nonalcoholic. A fellow diner asked me on the way out if I ordered a shot of bourbon with my meal.
A pork-and-blueberries dish was up next.
After a short break to enjoy the zero-proof cocktails I had left and to give my stomach a rest, the kitchen got to work on the seventh course (where I substituted lamb for pork).
The dish arrived beautifully plated, as all of the dishes had been.
To my surprise, there were actually two pieces of pork on my plate. One was a piece of pork loin, which was cooked medium, and the second was a perfectly rendered and exceptionally crispy piece of pork belly.
The pork was paired with pickled blueberries, which brought a bright pop of flavor, and violet mustard, which I put on each bite of pork lion.
To go along with the blueberries and violet, the zero-proof cocktail was what my server called a deconstructed glass of red wine. It used many of the same fruits noted in bold red wines like Bourdeaux.
The drink was rich and fruity, though a little too sweet for my taste with this course.
The final savory dish was the star of the culinary show.
To round out the savory portion of the night, a plate of Miyazaki A5 Wagyu beef was delivered to my table.
The perfectly seared slice of beef was well-marbled and literally melted in my mouth. It was also served with potatoes that had been grated and pan-fried, creating a super crispy exterior and a soft, buttery interior.
My drink pairing was a take on a traditional English milk punch, and I found out it took 48 hours to make.
It looked more like a glass of rosé than a zero-proof cocktail, but it featured coconut milk and citrus, and those notes came through well.
After the main meal, there was a cheese course.
Even though I was extremely full, I still enjoyed the cheese course before dessert.
It highlighted three different preparations of plums, including a sweet frozen option that was my favorite. There was also a small piece of honey candy on the plate, which was my favorite thing about this dish.
There was only one cheese, which was creamy and reminded me of Brie. It was very strong in flavor, but the different plum options helped mellow it out.
This course also brought my last zero-proof cocktail pairing, which was a take on the famous sauternes sweet wine.
The drink was a rich honey color and had a thicker mouthfeel than some of the others I tried. The sweetness of the drink also paired well with the pungent cheese.
Before dessert, I got to explore the restaurant a little.
After the cheese course, I got a short break to walk around the restaurant.
I checked out the chef's table and the popular Queen Victoria Room before dessert.
Dessert started with a fruity ice cream.
The first dessert course was a honey-and-elderflower ice cream, which had a magenta sauce on top and cookie crumbles for texture.
This was a nice palate cleanser before the next three desserts were presented.
The second chocolaty dessert was my favorite.
The second dessert was a warm chocolate sandwich cookie that was simply served with ganache on the inside.
This was my favorite dessert of the evening because it was simple, but it highlighted the decadent chocolate that was used.
I'd heard all about the "spectrum of chocolate" dessert online.
The next dessert, the spectrum of chocolate, was the one I'd been looking forward to because I'd seen it all over social media.
The sweet indulgence had layers of different chocolate coins on the outside, which were made with four specially sourced chocolates.
The inside was filled with even more chocolate. There was even a table-side presentation of sabayon (a creamy, egg-based dessert), which was light and airy with a slight hint of Champagne and Grand Marnier.
Dessert ended with a quartet of mini treats.
The final dessert was four miniature treats all served together: pistachio petit four, praline truffle, bite-sized pavlova, and tropical caramel.
My favorite was the tropical caramel, which tasted like passion fruit.
The pastry chef told me that even the wrapper was edible and guests were meant to enjoy the caramel all in one bite.
The almost five-hour meal cost me $585, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
In total, the 10-course meal with the mocktail pairings cost me $585 with the tip.
This was an experience I'd been looking forward to for years. The meal and service were both impeccable, with touches of Disney magic, like the live harpist and being able to meet the chefs.
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