To celebrate my wife’s birthday, I reluctantly booked Remy Champagne Brunch. Now, I am open to new experiences, but I was quite concerned that I would not enjoy this popular adult dinning experience aboard the Disney Fantasy (and select sailings on the Dream). I had an internal debate and decided to go in with an open mind and take the gamble to see for myself if this was an A or an F.
As luck would have it, my wife’s birthday fell on a sea day. So, when our booking window opened up, I made it a point to reserve a table for two. Our reservation was for 11:50 AM. We arrived 20 minutes early, and after checking in, we took a seat in Meridian.
As it turns out, you are taken into Remy in groups; in our case, it was 10. We were led into Remy and shown a couple of specialty wines featured in the movie as well as a crystal version of the restaurant’s namesake.
We were then taken into the wine room. If you take a close look at the bottles, you will see a few bottles of Pixar themed wines signed by John Lasseter. Personally, I found this more interesting than the rare wines in the collection.
Waiting for our arrival in the wine room, was Remy’s Executive Chef Benoit and Daniel, the Sommelier. On the lone table were 10 glasses of pre-poured Disney Fantasy Inaugural Sailings Taittinger Brut with 8 plates of pre-sliced Jamón Iberico, which had been aged for 6 months. Two additional plates were prepared as vegan alternatives.
I am not typically a fan of cured meats, but this melted in my mouth and paired well with the Taittinger. The meat was sliced on a red meat slicer, which is an American made reproduction of a vintage slicer.
While we were enjoyed our appetizer, we were welcomed by Benoit, who took the time to go over each course, and asked us if this was acceptable. I took this opportunity to mention my shellfish allergy, to which he made a note and promised a tasty alternative.
It was now Daniel’s turn to share with us the champagnes that were paired with the menu. The $50 per person cost of brunch only includes the first glass of Taittinger served upon arrival. The full champagne pairing is an additional $25 per person.
Surprisingly, both Benoit and Daniel were down to earth and laid back. I half expected them to be more like Chef Skinner from Ratatouille, but this is exactly why you need to go into this experience with an open mind. There are surprises waiting for you at each course.
Our server for the afternoon, Yannick, introduced himself and showed us to a wonderful table facing the windows which looked out onto the open ocean.
Going into brunch, I was undecided on the pairing, as I rarely drink champagne other than when we ring in the New Year. However, after eating the Jamón Iberico with the Taittinger pairing I knew this brunch was meant to be experienced with the pairing. The experience is called Remy Champagne Brunch, not Remy Brunch. At this point, I was all in & we both were at $75 per person.
The bread was first to arrived along with butter and fleur de sel (coarse sea salt).
Opposites do indeed attract. The sweetness of the bread contrasted well with the salt (and who can forget the layer of butter!).
As we were finishing our first glass of champagne, Daniel arrived at our table with the Taittinger Prestige Cuvée Rosé NV, which looks amazing on the table with the blue Caribbean water in the background.
The second course was a Sweetcorn Emulsion. The emulsion was essentially a very flavorful soup with a unique light, frothy texture. It reminded me of the foam atop a Starbucks’ latte.
The third course was Lobster Cannelloni with a side of Lobster topped with Caviar.
As a result of my shellfish allergy, an alternate dish of a Gnocchi Red Bean Chili Emulsion was prepared. All I can really say about this was YUMMMMM! Each gnocchi literally melted in my mouth. The flavor from the red bean and emulsion was spectacular. This was my favorite course of the entire brunch. I’d love to see this worked into the main dining rooms in some fashion. My wife, a seafood lover, even agreed that it was delicious and even went as far to say it was better than her lobster dish!
Our next champagne was Pommery Gold 2006, or POP for short. During Daniel’s introduction of the champagnes, there were two with interesting anecdotes that I found rather peculiar. According to Daniel, and backed up by the internet (not that I did not believe him), POP is often consumed directly from the bottle with a straw. Apparently, it is quite popular at weddings to give each guest their own bottle and a straw. The bottles are available in special designs as well as a slew of colors including pink, blue, red, silver, and in our case, gold.
The fourth course was Sea Bass served atop a mixture of egg and corn surrounded by a Thai sauce. Mine was served without the Thai sauce as it may have have included a shellfish component. Sea bass is such a delicious buttery flaky fish, and paired perfectly with the buttery biscuit-like flavor of the POP.
Course five was Veal Tenderloin with a french fried potato ball on the side. We do not purchase any red meat in our house. From time to time I indulge in a burger or a steak, but not very often, and my wife does not eat beef or pork at all anymore. This is the first time I ever had veal, so for me it is incomparable. I know this is not saying much, but it was prepared exceptionally well and was very tender. I could have done without the sauce, as it added too much beef flavor into the dish. To offset the flavor of the sauce, I used the potato ball filling to balance each bite of the veal.
Daniel returned to our table with the Louis Vuitton designed bottle of Moët & Chandon Ice NV. This was the other champagne with a unique way of being served. This champagne was specifically created to be served on ice. By adding cubes of ice to the glass, the champagne becomes sweeter. Who knew there was a chemistry experiment in Remy?
Our sixth course, a Paris Brest arrived, or as I like to call it, our first round of dessert. Each plate included a few Paris Brests with a dollop of hazelnut gelato in the middle.
Just when we thought the experience was over, Yannick arrived with round two of dessert. This time there was sugary selection of chocolate suckers, orange marshmallows, and canelé. The orange marshmallows were incredible.
By this time, the food and the champagne had done a number on us and we are about to fall asleep. I am not joking; it was like I just finished Thanksgiving dinner. Yannick had the solution; coffee and tea. The coffee was the best I have ever had on a Disney Cruise. My wife enjoyed the tea and had two cups. Instead of sugar packets, we were served sugar cubes, as well as raw sugar cubes.
The coffee and tea lived up to Yannick’s promise as it provided the boost of caffeine we both needed; which was really helpful as it was time for the bill.
Before any additional tipping, the bill for two people to enjoy the full Remy Champagne Brunch experience was $157.50. I went into this with concern, but left with a smile on my face even after signing the receipt. The brunch was spectacular. I am actually happy to have an allergy, because the gnocchi substitute dish was so much than the lobster (at least according to my wife). The extra $25 per person was definitely worth the price for the champagne pairing, as it completed the overall experience. I am barely a casual wine drinker so, this was a whole new experience drinking a glass of champagne that was paired with each course. I would not go as far to say that you must add the pairing, but I cannot see myself not adding the pairing on in the future.
We were part of the first to enter Remy, and were one of the last to leave. Yannick spent some time at our table going over the dinner menu, and offering his suggestions for when we have dinner at Remy on our next cruise on the Disney Fantasy. He even walked with us as we left and talked to us some outside Remy. We had a wonderful experience and for me, Remy Champagne Brunch was a gamble was worth taking! I will do it again, without hesitation.