Changes at Disney's Victoria & Albert's

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VE tableThe room that holds the chef's table off of the kitchen at Victoria & Albert's is scheduled for an upgrade in January.

Victoria & Albert’s, the intimate fine dining restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, quietly changed its menu and seating policies last month, according to chef Scott Hunnel. Previously, diners in the main dining room were offered a seven-course prix fixe menu while guests in the even smaller Queen Victoria Room were treated to a 10-course chef’s degustation.

The Queen Victoria Room was introduced in 2010 as a “third dining option” for V&A, after the main dining room and the coveted chef’s table. Besides the three extra courses, the QVR dining experience featured more tableside service, with servers or general manager and sommelier Israel Perez doing preparations from rolling gueridons. Service might include carvings from butter sculpted to look like a chef’s toque or fine cheese selections.

The Queen Victoria Room’s menu was quite popular, and Hunnel said he had numerous requests to make the longer menu available in the main dining room.

Now it is. Since the first of October, guests have been presented with the option of the seven- or 10-course menu regardless of where they are seated. And, in a departure from most high-toned restaurants that offer degustation menus, Victoria & Albert’s does not require all guests at a table choose the same option. The seven-course menu is priced at $185 per person and the 10-course is $235. Each menu has course options that may include a supplemental charge, and wine pairings are available for an additional fee. Hunnel said that since the dual menus have been offered throughout the restaurant, about 70 percent of the guests select the longer option.

And because of that, the main dining room, which used to have two seatings each evening, now has only “one elongated seating,” said Hunnel. “You come in and it’s your table for the evening.” The earlier time frame requires guests to arrive at a specified reservation time between 5 and 7:30 p.m.

Hunnel also said that the chef’s table will be out of commission beginning the first week of January and will undergo a complete renovation. “The entire room is going to change, from floor to ceiling,” he said. Instead of the current countrified decor, the room, which sits off to the side of the kitchen, will have a more luxurious feel. “We’re richin’ it up a bit,” said Hunnel. He expects the renovation to take approximately four weeks.