A vegan walks into a steakhouse…
There’s no punchline here. Just because I’ve given up meat doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on luxury dining experiences.
On a recent stay at the Hilton Bonnet Creek for Princess Half Marathon Weekend, my husband and I made plans to have dinner at the iconic Bull and Bear steakhouse in the Waldorf-Astoria Orlando Resort.
Because I have dined here before, and stay frequently at both the Hilton in the Waldorf, I had a direct line of communication with Sous Chef de Cuisine Dannilo Zapatel. I messaged him and asked if he would be able to prepare me a vegan meal while at the restaurant and this is what ensued.
BULL & BEAR LOUNGE PRE-GAME
A little birdie told me that a few new signature drinks would be joining the Bull & Bear cocktail menu. We began our dining experience in the lounge sampling two of them.
This first drink is called “In the Garden”. It was complex and slightly sweet. The glassware is spritzed with rose water before the cocktail is poured. It’s quite heavenly. Did you know baby’s breath was an edible flower?
The real MVP on the menu was our second cocktail of the night named aptly “Pirates Revenge”.
This mix of house made grenadine, lychee and chai is something you’re going to want to order at the close of your meal. The cocktail comes complete with an intricate hand assembled pirate ship floating on top and the base of dry ice creates a smoky effect as if your drink is sailing ⛵️ to your table through a misty fog.
VEGAN DINNER SERVICE
After finishing our cocktails we were whisked away into the ? wine room with two other parties for an intimate dinner.
One table was just finishing up their meal but the other table of four was just getting started. Tucked away in the corner of the room was a multitude of empty wine glasses and several bottles of wine. These two couples had brought in their own wine to enjoy with dinner (uncorking fees apply) and much to our delight were happy to share some of the tastings with us throughout the evening.
Did you really eat at a steakhouse if you didn’t start with a dirty martini? ?
A small sampling of what was to come. This was a simple bite composed of dressed micro greens, pickled red onion, tomato and avocado.
COMPLEMENTARY BREAD SERVICE
How could I say no? Crusty, salty perfection.
This luscious mushroom soup was velvety smooth. Earthy sautéed mushrooms arrive nestled in the bowl and your soup is then poured tableside.
Doesnt it look as if a tiny rosebud is in the center of the dish? Mushroom and micro green magic!
My salad was a slightly modified dish that already exists on the Bull & Bear menu, the “Heirloom Tomato”.
Zero Miles Burrata is swapped for avocado slices. Gorgeous heirloom tomato wedges are topped with hand picked arugula and the entire salad is dressed in lemon vincotto and then garnished with basil crisps.
My entree was a beautiful ratatouille dressed with micro greens and composed of zucchini, tomato and parsnips. It sat on a purée of butternut squash and mushrooms and was complemented with three small stacks of grains.
The final course of the evening was a dessert parfait. Quite possibly the best dessert I’ve had since switching over to a plant based diet.
Are you ready for this?
Hand whipped coconut cream, layered with passion fruit and what I can only describe as a decadent cookie dough layer topped with more coconut cream and fresh berries.
Ive had different vegan whips before but NONE compared to this!
All of my non-vegan dining companions had to have a taste.
I will be dreaming of this dinner experience until I return to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort…which will be soon…because I know I won’t be able to stay away for long.
Special thanks to the entire team at Bull & Bear for making me feel so welcome! Huge shoutout to my Captain Tim for the exquisite service and wine pairings with every course.
To book dinner at Bull & Bear in the Waldorf, reservations can be made by dialing 407-597-5500.
Full disclosure: I was a guest of the Hilton Bonnet Creek For Marathon Weekends. All opinions are my own and I paid out of pocket for this dining experience.