Review of New Relaxed and Elevated Dining Experience at Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Bull & Bear – the famous steakhouse at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando is back! Sort of. Here’s a recap of my first dining out experience at the Bull & Bear Club Pop Up. “Familiar, comforting and new” are the first words that come to mind to describe this experience. “Delicious and decadent” closely follow. Read along and get inspired to make reservations. This “pop up” is only available for a limited time.
I was an invited media guest of Waldorf Astoria Orlando for promotional purposes. I’ve been a fan of the Waldorf for years and was thrilled to go back and see familiar faces, even if they were partially hidden by face masks. All opinions expressed are my own. As always I only share with you experiences I love to inspire you to go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time!
Why a Pop Up Experience?
The Bull & Bear dining room is unable to accept new reservations at this time due to a private group buy out until mid-October. Loyal local guests have expressed disappointment and that is not something the Waldorf Astoria Orlando team takes lightly. So it’s no surprise they found a way to reinvent the experience and bring us the familiar tastes and dining experience both locals and visitors love with a fun new twist.
“A fine artist is one who makes familiar things new and new things familiar.”Louis Nizer
Bull & Bear Club is a pop-up restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria
Golf Clubhouse, serving the best of Bull & Bear. The experience will only be available on Friday and Saturday evenings, starting at 6:30pm. Reservations are highly recommended due to the limited capacity.
While the experience is a little different, guests can expect the highest standards of excellence that Bull & Bear is known for – from hand-crafted cocktails and an extensive wine list to delectable dishes and creative desserts.
The Setting: Casual, Relaxed & Intimate – Socially Distanced.
The golf clubhouse is a much more relaxed and casual setting. Although we were dining indoors, the airiness and brightness of floor to ceiling windows overlooking the golf course made us feel like we could easily breathe. The space is warm and inviting and tables are properly distanced.
If you’re wondering about the dress code, we saw some guests dressed to the nines. While others were more comfortable in resort wear. After being home wearing yoga pants for months, it was nice to get “dressed up!”
Safety first at Bull & Bear Club.
This is the first concern with dining out right now amidst this pandemic. I’ve been apprehensive to do so; and have only visited businesses I know will take every precaution.
The Waldorf Astoria Orlando team is meticulously following the protocols set forth through the Hilton CleanStay program, including industry-leading hygiene standards, proper spacing of tables and chairs for social distancing, contact-free menus and safe service including team members wearing face coverings and gloves.
Outdoor dining in the terrace is available. You can also sip cocktails outdoors before or after your meal.
We wore masks while not eating and were acutely aware of the safety measures in place. Yet we felt oddly comfortable and relaxed. It was reassuring as we are mindful of finding a return to life within a new normal.
The Menu at Bull & Bear Club
The Bull & Bear Club menu offers the best of the best from the extensive Bull & Bear Menu we’ve all come to love. All winners here! You’ll find all the steakhouse classics like their signature 32-Day ary-aged Tomahawk rib eye and their out of this world fried chicken.
Crafted Cocktails, Oh How We’ve Missed You!
I’ve written extensively about the fantastic cocktail menu and talented mixologists at Waldorf Astoria Orlando. I didn’t realized how much I had missed having a properly crafted cocktail. We consider ourselves amateur mixologists at home; but it was so wonderful to sip on libations made by a true professional.
B&B Old Fashioned with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Antica Formula Vermouth, House Syrup and B&B Bitters was the true comforting classic.
Southside with St. George Gin, Antica Formula Vermouth, Lime Juice and Mint was a refreshing take on a gimlet and mojito. Perfect for this hot summer evening!
Did someone say Burrata?
Burrata and Heirloom Tomatoes on the menu. Yes, please! This bright salad not only featured creamy burrata and hand picked arugula drizzled with lemon vincotto, it had delightful mounds of mozzarella foam.
The Tuna … at the Bull & Bear is for tuna fans! Enjoy it smoked, confit and tartare with a touch of Florida citrus and iced ocean salt.
Which one was my favorite? The Tartare!
Don’t Skip The Bread Basket!
At Bull & Bear, the bread basket is always a treat on its own. Ours included focaccia, sourdough, fig nut bread and buttery brioche with Vermont butter. Be careful not to fill up on bread!
Dinner and A Show: Tableside Service
Bull & Bear is renowned for tableside preparations. It’s like dinner and a show all in one. They’ve taken the necessary safety precautions to continue this tradition and have added plexiglass barriers to their carts. It’s always fun to watch Caesar salads being tossed and the impressive tomahawk steak carved tableside.
Sea Bass a familiar favorite!
Buttery, flaky perfectly cooked golden sea bass served atop black venus rice risotto. Loyal fans will recognize this presentation the same as the popular Black Cod.
Dry Aged Steaks
This is why you come to Bull & Bear! If you’re not doing the 32-Day Dry-Aged Tomahawk Rib Eye for two, the 15 oz Allen Brothers Prime New York Sirloin, 28 Days Dry Aged is the next best thing, especially if it’s just for one. (Although I did sneak a few bites!)
Sides Sides Sides!
It’s always tough to decide on which sides to order, but the Mac & Cheese with Applewood smoked bacon is a must!
The melange of seasonal wild mushrooms and the asparagus were nice ways to balance out the richness of the meal. (We can feel good we had our veggies. Right?)
Wine Pairings. Let the experts do the work for you!
It’s always been a treat to have the Bull & Bear sommeliers offer wine pairing suggestions with our dinner. At the Bull & Bear Club it was no different. We simply asked Tim to bring over two different wines to pair with our entrees and they were both wonderful. This allows a much more relaxed experience. Unless you’re a wine geek and like to do the work yourself. By all means, review the extensive wine list and have fun pairing.
The Il Fausto from Tuscany was a robust choice with the dry aged steak. The elegant pinot noir from Sonoma was perfect with the sea bass.
Oh So French! Say “Oui” To Fromage!
The French know a thing or two about cheese being enjoyed after the main course. At Bull & Bear Club, the Artisanal Cheese Selection board is fantastic. Order it. Thank me later. If you prefer, order it as a starter. No one will judge. Cheese selection will vary and we enjoyed them all!
Our board included Taleggio and Fontina from Italy, Bijou goat cheese from Vermont, Pleasant Ridge from Wiscon, one of the most awarded American cheeses, Comte and our favorite St. Angel Triple Cream Brie from France. We enjoyed it with a nutty chocolate bar on sourdough toast, it was dreamy.
Save Room For Dessert!
I always do! We opted to share the decadent Chocolate Bar. Perfect for chocoholics made with Valrhona Caramélia chocolate topped with a shot of chocolate vodka syrup and whipped cream. It’s silky smooth with rich chocolate and hints of caramel. One word to describe this: sinful!
How To End A Delicious Evening?
For fans of coffee cocktails like me, order the Peacock Alley Espresso Martini. It’s not listed on the menu. Yet the bartender was kind to make it for me. Belvedere vodka is infused with Ethiopian espresso using a French Press. Shaken with cold brew coffee and a touch of sweetness with Madagascar vanilla simple syrup. It’s boozy and caffeinated.
If you want something a bit more subdued, you can’t go wrong with a dessert wine recommendation. The Jorge Ordóñez N°2 Victoria, a muscat from Malaga, Spain, was delightful. It paired beautifully with our cheese board.
I hope you’re inspired to continue to celebrate life and cross fun things off your someday list – while following all safety precautions and staying socially distanced during these stressful times. Go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip a time.
Disclosure: I have been hosted as a media guest on some previous visits for promotional purposes. I am under no obligation to share this post. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to safely get together with family and friends, celebrate life, and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip, and trip at a time! You can read more about my guidelines in my disclosure policy. Cheers!