The new menu at Walt’s features the best of American cuisine given a twist by a French chef. Here, guests are given the chance to discover Walt Disney’s favourite dishes, which are just as sure to delight a modern palate. At Disneyland Park from 12 May 2016.
The restaurant’s cosy atmosphere is misleading. In the kitchen, Ludovic Mallac and his team are working hard to make the final tweaks before the new menu for Walt’s – an American Restaurant is unveiled. According to the young chef, “A strong theme like we have here must be supported by inspired cuisine. That is why, when I was asked to come here, my first reaction was to look at our archives to learn more about Walt Disney”.
THELMA, WALT DISNEY’S EXCEPTIONAL COOK
This is how he learnt about Thelma Howard, who spent 30 years with the Disney family. Hired by Walt in 1951 to look after his house and his two daughters, she quickly became a member of the family in her own right. But above all, she was an exceptional cook. Every evening, when Walt left the office, his assistant called Thelma to let her know so that his dinner would be ready the moment he walked through the door! She prepared his favourite dishes and kept his fridge well stocked (Walt liked to eat a hot dog in the middle of the night… which he ate cold!). After his death, she remained in the service of the family until she retired.
The new menu at Walt’s – an American Restaurant – allows guests to discover American cuisine through Walt Disney’s favourite dishes and notes by Thelma Howard. “Fresh seasonal products take centre stage and most of the preparation is done on site”, says Ludovic. Flavours from California and Florida are notably present, as a tribute to the first Disney Parks. “But we have refined them with subtle contemporary touches that will excite the palates of French and European food lovers”.
SIGNATURE DISHES THAT ALL TELL A STORY
According to the privileged few who have already had the chance to taste them, some of the creations are already earmarked to become the signature dishes on the new menu. In particular, the smoked duck breast starter accompanied by a pineapple coleslaw; a subtle sweet and savoury alliance, where the acidity of the pineapple enhances the smokiness of the duck.
And as a main course, the butter-poached lobster with leeks braised in orange juice and Anna potato cake, where cooking in orange juice makes good use of the famous fruit of California and Florida. Or, if you prefer, grilled fillet of Angus beef with “Thelma” potatoes (yes, the famous Thelma!), green beans, crispy shallot rings and Cabernet Sauvignon reduction. Or even the roast free-range Label Rouge chicken breast, stuffed according to Thanksgiving tradition, sweet potato mash and giblet gravy, a well-thought-out (and delicious!) tribute to Walt’s avowed liking for the good old Thanksgiving turkey. As Ludovic says, “each dish should tell a story”.
And speaking of stories, the desserts have their own tale to tell with the pineapple upside-down cake with homemade pineapple and basil sorbet, a US version of the French tarte tatin, made with Walt’s favourite fruit. The fruit remains fresh and juicy because it is cooked at low temperature sous vide, as is done in the best restaurants.
Vegetarian options and children’s menus are of course also available. The wine menu highlights French and American vintages and guests who wish to pair their wines with their food without excessive alcohol consumption can take advantage of offers on three 8-cl glasses.
GUARANTEED: A FANCY MEAL FOR EVERYONE, CHILDREN AND ADULTS ALIKE
“But this restaurant is not just for Disney fans, we have taken care to ensure that the theme does not overpower the food”. This means there’s something for the little ones too. “They will also feel part of this story and can even let their imaginations run wild by customising their dessert with our ‘Make your own Sundae’ option, with multiple toppings to choose from! Who knows: There may be future Disney artists among them.
From 12 May, Walt’s – an American Restaurant will once again become the place where fans of the Walt Disney mementos that adorn the walls can rub shoulders with day guests who have read in their guide book that the restaurant offers an exceptional view over Main Street, U.S.A.® as the Parade passes. “But we also look forward to welcoming a new clientele, drawn in by the menu and by the promise of an enchanting meal to mirror the rest of their experience at Disneyland Paris” concludes Ludovic. A promise that does Walt Disney and his faithful Thelma proud.