Wonderful news: The drabbest bar on Disney property, the miserable Mizner’s Lounge, is no more, and Enchanted Rose has taken its place – and then some.
Mizner’s was on the second floor of the beautiful Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, tucked behind the bandstand of the orchestra that plays for the guests in the lobby below. Mizner’s was a step down from the entryway, it was dark and cramped, and perhaps that affected the mood of the cast members who worked there because they were uncharacteristically surly.
That space is now is all lounge – the bar for Enchanted Rose is next door in what used to be a gift shop where racks of t-shirts blocked the windows. A three-sided bar now occupies that space, and the windows offer an unobscured view of the lagoon (or at least they will once the trees are trimmed back a bit.
A chandelier of golden rods hangs overhead. It’s meant, I’m told, to represent the gown Belle wears in Beauty and the Beast, the Disney property that inspires the Enchanted Rose.
Off to the side of the bar is a room with forest murals. That room opens to an outside balcony.
It’s such a great improvement over Mizner’s. It’s bright, comfortable, and elegant, a more fitting waiting area for diners awaiting their reservations at Victoria & Albert’s.
And for those not dining at V&A’s, Enchanted Rose offers a menu that goes beyond your typical bar food. How could it not? It was created under the supervision of executive chef Scott Hunnel.
I sat down with Hunnel, Jean Marie Clement, WDW vice president of food & beverage, and Brian Koziol, the master sommelier who designed the cocktails for the lounge.
This being Disney, even the cocktails have a story. Or at least that’s the case for two of the featured cocktails that are prepared tableside.
One of the cocktails is called Love and the other is called Envy, two emotions apparently on display in B&B.
Each ingredient in the two cocktails was chosen for its thematic appropriateness. For example, the Envy cocktail has Chartreuse and green apple puree – you know, green with envy – and Angostura bitters. The other cocktail is made with Grey Goose Vodka, and what’s not to love about that?
Anyway, the server explained each ingredient as he added them to the glass cocktail mixer on a gueridon wheeled to the table of guests who request those cocktails.
I tasted both cocktails and they were fine, but I prefer a negroni, which is listed under the Grand Cocktails heading on the menu. Koziol has the bar using Tanqueray No. 10 gin with Antica Formula sweet vermouth and the usual Campari. I think Koziol noticed the disappointed look on my face when the drink was placed in front of me with small ice cubes. He had it whisked away and when it returned it had a single large spherical ice cube (if you can call something round a cube). Some drinks are just better with large-format ice.
Other drinks have been similarly curated with specific brands of booze and mixers, the benefit of having a master sommelier on staff.
The food served at the Enchanted Rose comes from the Citricos kitchen next door, which is now under the direction of Pascal Sanchez, a French chef who previously owned a restaurant in Paris. Sanchez replaced Dominique Filoni, who has moved over to the soon-to-open Riviera Resort.
By the way, don’t be surprised to start seeing the menu at Citricos to start shifting its predominant accent from Italian to French soon, though Clement assured me the name won’t be changed to Citron. A French restaurant and a lounge based on a French story – maybe it’s the Grand Floridian that needs to change its name. But I digress.
Hunnel ordered up a few dishes for us to sample, including the Crab and Gnocchetti Gratin, a dip of lump crabmeat with the smaller Sardinia-style gnocchi in a creamy mornay served in a cocotte.
Espelette Pepper-spiced Shrimp were wrapped in Serrano ham and served with a lime gelée, cutely served in the peel, that was meant to cool the dots of piquillo pepper purée.
Octopus a la Plancha was served with tomatoes and fingerling potatoes with a black olive aioli.
House-made Flatbread rose above its plain name with a load of mushrooms, sausage, broccolini and ricotta.
And Truffle Fries go beyond the usual spritz of truffle-scented oil with actual shaved black truffles on top.
Food prices range from $14 for the fries to $19 for an Artisinal Cheese Selection, though there is also White Sturgeon Caviar for $95. I was not offered the caviar.
The Enchanted Rose is a vast improvement over Mizner’s. I like the openness and the understated stylishness. I also like that the step down into the lounge has been removed and the band has been relocated to the main floor of the lobby. (It currently plays on a temporary stand while a space in a nook just inside the hotel’s front door is readied.)
I still recall being knocked over by the grandness of the Grand Floridian when it first opened more than three decades ago, then known as the Grand Floridian Beach Resort. Enchanted Rose is the bar it has always been missing.
Enchanted Rose is at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, 4401 Floridian Way, Orlando. It is open daily.