Well, the WDW bucket list is complete - the most difficult ADR has been completed, and it was well worth the effort. I am by no means a gifted food writer or photographer, but I wanted to share it with any Liners who may be interested. If you want to read far better Liner commentaries, check out My V&A Chef's Table experience and https://wdw3919to31619.home.blog/2019/03/30/the-chefs-table-at-victoria-and-alberts-restaurant-at-wdw/
For those of you who do not know, Victoria & Albert’s has three tiers of dining: the Dining Room with 14 tables, the Queen Victoria’s Room with 4 tables, and the single Chef’s Table which is actually in the kitchen. There is a single seating at all of these areas, and they serve a Chef Degustation Tasting menu of approximately 10 courses, plus additional add-ons.
When we arrived, we were escorted through the main dining room and into the kitchen to the Chef’s Table. The most amazing thing is that everyone we encountered greeted us warmly - even chefs who were busy preparing for the evening stopped what they were doing to do this. Our two servers then introduced themselves, explained a little about what we would be experiencing, and presented us with our personalized menus for the evening:
Nothing is left to chance here - we were contacted in advance about any dietary restrictions and food preferences, and as we do not like strong fish the menu for that evening that was offered to the other guests was customized for us.
First, as Head Chef Aimee was in a meeting with Executive Chef Scott, Chef Matt came over to walk us through the menu and start things off with a champagne toast. DW opted to go with the optional wine pairing (which she graciously allowed me to sip) as her upgrade, and I went with Wild Turbot and Miyazaki Japanese Beef for mine. However, our servers realized that we were going to share these upgrades, so they arranged for them to be split and plated for each of us.
Now on to the meal. Each course was fully explained to us by either the servers of the Chef involved in its preparation, and the servers also explained the wine pairings and why they were chosen to go with that course. As I wanted to stay focused on the experience I did not take any notes, so you will have to make due with photos and my sketchy recollections.
Normally this is a caviar course, but for us it was swapped with bison with an herb puree and all sorts of other yummy things. Paired with another glass of the champagne toast - Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV.
Rohan Duck, Badger Beets and Kumquats
As you can see in the photo, there are a lot of things going on in this cold appetizer, and it was a taste explosion. Paired with Domaine Bois de Bourson Chateauneuf du Pape 2017 - I think of Chateauneuf du Pape as a red wine, so this white was a nice surprise.
This was a mini-baguette, served with Vermont Creamery unsalted butter and an assortment of salts and peppers. They have their own bakery on site, and to be honest I was a little disappointed in the breads as they were not particularly hot despite this.
Poussin, Black Sesame Tahini and Dashi Broth
This dish is normally prepared with salmon, but for us they substituted poussin (baby chicken). V&A likes to pull from global food themes, so this Asian-influenced dish came with tempura-fried green beans, 2 different pickled vegetables, baby snow peas, and wasabi. The wasabi was much milder than the stuff you usually get, so it imparted a nice flavor without burning your mouth off. Paired with Matthiasson White (Chardonnay) Blend 2017.
Wild Turbot with Toasted Capers and Preserved Lemon
I am normally not much of a fish person, but I would kill to have this again. The turbot is mild yet flavorful with an amazing texture, seared to perfection. The sauce, my god, the sauce - calling it buerre blanc does not do it justice. I can see why this is a V&A signature dish that is almost always on the menu as an upgrade. If you go to V&A and choose to not get this upgrade, you are dead to me.
This is where my lack of note-taking gets me into trouble. Can’t quite recall what the meat was (Boar?), but the chef who created it was from Mexico and was trying to bring a southwestern flair to it. A lot of flavors going on here, and it was very tasty, whatever it was…
Truffle brioche with truffle-herb butter. Again, disappointed in the breads - not hot, and a bit of overkill considering the course that followed it
Veal Cheek Ravioli, Winter Black Truffles
All in all, a good dish, but what really made it pop was the wine pairing - Tauzinat L’Hermitage Saint-Emilion Grand Cru. This was a big, juicy, spicy red, which really sparkled against the more umami-oriented course.
Durham Ranch Venison, Fuji Apple Compote and Pearl Onion Petals
This is not your grandpa’s venison - not a hint of gameyness at all. Tender, with a flavor and texture that was almost a cross between pork and beef. The compote is based on tapioca but prepared so that it is more like risotto. Paired with Don Antonia Nero d’Avola Riserva DOC.
Mini-ciabatta with herbed butter. The problem with this bread was that it was so small it ended up having a texture more like a biscuit than a ciabatta.
Australian Kobe-style Beef, Celery Root and Pickled Vegetables
plus Miyazaki Japanese Beef
(Ignore what appears to be poor plating here - I was so ready for this course that I forgot to take a photo before I started.) The Australian beef on the left appears to have been encrusted with black pepper, but it is actually a mushroom ash that imparts a mild but unique flavor. The Miyazaki beef has nothing on it except for a little salt, because Wagu. The only way I can think of describing Wagu beef is “beef butter” - this outstandingly tender combination of beef and fat flavors that is beyond what you experience with any USDA Prime beef. Thankfully DW had reached her limit on rich foods, so I was able to have the majority of her portion as well, which is fair because it was my upgrade after all Paired with Chateau Talbot St Julien 2010 - tbh I don’t even remember the wine, because Wagu.
Selection of Cheese from the Market
From left to right we have cheese, deep-fried cranberry bread, cheese, comb honey (almost perfumey in flavor), cheese, date bread, candied walnuts, raisins, cheese, cheese, and a coulis. Sorry for the lack of detail here, as I was still in a Wagu haze. Paired with Triama Pedro Ximenez “La Gitana” Selection Napoleon.
The creme in this is lightly flavored with cardamom - not something you usually find in sweets, but an interesting touch. Primarily a palate-cleanser for the real deal:
Chocolate Banana Marscapone
I cannot begin to describe this, so I won’t. Truly decadent…
Sulawesi Island Coffee by Joffrey’s
Made tableside in a Victorian steam-punk contraption. I don’t drink coffee, but DW informed me that she should have let them know that she likes strong, dark-roast coffee, as she found it a little weak.
At this point they bring out the first of two magic boxes. This one contains an amazing assortment of chocolates for you to choose from. However, they realize that most people are beyond sated at this point, so they will make an assortment for each guest in a to-go box. All except for the chocolat-covered brandied cherries, made with cherries that marinate themselves for 18 months (there is a jar of them marinating in the room for you check out for yourself). Apparently there have been problems with guests who have them to-go, but forget that they are whole cherries, with stones. And that’s why we can’t have nice things…
The Other Magic Box
No sweeties in this one - just the damage for the evening. It’s time to pay the paper…
On our way out we got our souvenir menus, our to-go assortment of chocolates, a nice date-nut bread (just in case we were still hungry), and a rose for DW. And just like when we arrived, everyone we passed greeted us and thanked us for coming.
Also, towards the end of the evening Chef Aimee came around, apologized to us for not greeting us at the champagne toast, and then spent a long time discussing with us the meal, her cooking philosophy, the changes she has seen in the industry during her career, and answered any questions we had. She was extremely warm and accommodating, and I felt that she would have stayed with us and talked all night if we wanted to. One of the other chefs told us that she monitors everything coming back in to the kitchen, and it looks like something was not enjoyed and merely pushed around the plate she wants to know why and will often make a replacement course to ensure that that person has a perfect experience.