Victoria & Albert at the Grand Floridian

Now this is  actually an older review from a long lost blog entry that I'm transferring over bit by bit but I hope you find it interesting as it is a popular location. It was from one of our  Christmas trips - the perfect time to go to get a little sun and heat if you have the stamina to plan and deal with the crowds (not as easy now with the new FP system - in the good old days you could arrive at a park for rope drop and start stacking up those passes like a pack of cards)

The Foyer of the Grand Floridian was beautifully decorated and there was a live band playing carols on the first balcony. We had taken a late sitting at 9.30pm (very unusual for us and not our ideal time - but the V&A is practically a  sell out all year round and we had only booked the holiday quite late to escape the cold and wet winter); 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 other 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 J kept her jacket over her strappy black dress for the first course at least.

After a tongue tingling Amuse Bouche to freshen the taste buds I had the terrine of Foie Gras with Pumpernickel Curls and Sierra Beauty Apple Chutney and J had the Jumbo Lump and Peekytoe Crab Timbale with Avocado Crouton. 

The  texture of the Terrine was  perfect, every ingredient worked with the other, never did one flavour shout out or overpower the others. If I close my eyes I can still taste it, mmmmm.
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 J.

I have to say the small piece of Pork Belly was a masterpiece in long slow cooking..Tender as butter but with a great strong meat flavour. J's was so good I didn't even get a look in ;(

Next - 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 (oh dear). 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 colour in the world once cooked.. The fish however was superb and wonderfully cooked, flaking yet still translucent.
Jack had the Kabocha Squash Cream with Hazlenuts in a mini Zucchini, this she declared as wonderful, with just a hint of spice, both courses so good that we totally forgot to take any pics of this course.

Next came the MacFarlane Pheasant with Porcini Pasta and Truffle Foam (nice and Christmassy - even some baby sprouts) and the Marcho Farm Veal Tenderloin with Laura Chenel Goat Cheese Gnocchi.. Beautiful and seriously rich and deep flavours.

The next course was a Baked Seckle Pear with Gorgonzola Dolce and there was plenty of Gorgonzola in the poached pear, and J had the Pineapple Passion Sorbet with Micro Mint. Nice and refreshing.

I then had the Grand marnier souffle and J 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 (so you can see this was a few years ago) , including wine and service. The service and most importantly the dishes were exemplary in every way, the whole experience is given that touch of  Magic (all be it in a good subtle way).
Worth therefore every cent.

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