Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin
Sunday Bubbles Brunch at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic
September 1st, 2021
| by Mealtrip
The Sunday Bubble Brunch
had been a part of the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic
for around three years (if I'm not mistaken) from 2016 to 2018. The brunch was not scheduled to take place in 2019, and it hasn't appeared on the itinerary since then.
I went to the brunch in 2018 (the final year) because it was receiving such amazing reviews. It does take a few days to write an article or a review after visiting a place, and so I was looking forward to posting my Sunday Bubbles Brunch review for the following year's event — which never came. Sigh.
I'm posting it now, mostly as a historical reference. At this point, I'd give it a very low chance at coming back in this same format, at the same location, or at the same price point ever again. The brunch is still talked about though, as the "gold standard" of brunches — that really, only the California Grill Brunch at the Top
has come close to replicating. (Of course now, the "California Grill Brunch at the Top
" is also gone.)
I have just recently added the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic
to "Festival" category in our menu system, because these brunches, extra dinners, and other culinary demo events had always been part of the very popular annual event weekend — making seem more like a complete festival. (The Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic had been buried in a harder to find "Special Events at Resorts
" category on the Mealtrip
While I don't know if any "brunch" events will be scheduled in the future, we have received official word from the Swan and Dolphin, that culinary demos are being seriously considered for the 2022 event weekend — and so I wanted to give our shiny new page some additional articles and posts (even if they're historical), and because these past events might help shine some light on what the future holds.
The Sunday Bubbles Brunch event took place at Il Mulino (New York Trattoria)
, a high-end, contemporary, restaurant located on the ground floor of the Swan Hotel and presented by J Vineyards and Winery (presumably the two had some wine connection that us guests are otherwise unaware of).
The Sunday Bubbles Brunch event was held in the Swan's Il Mulino.
The cost of the brunch changed a bit over the three years, but hovered around the $100 per person mark, with bottomless Mimosas (or slightly less without bottomless Mimosas).Il Mulino
is usually only open from late lunch to around 11pm, and has an Italian/New York interior design style. It looks great at night, so this unusual glimpse of the dining area in the morning was rare.
The interior of Il Mulino by day, looks just as classy as it does by night. If anything, I'd say it looks a bit more like a museum or library common area — only, there's no art or books around.
There are several dining rooms at Il Mulino
(or wings really, jutting out here and there off the main entrance). The area that we were seated in was a little darker than the rest of the dining areas, and had a persistent overhead light — (which is not the best thing for photography), never the less, I managed to grab a slightly fuzzy shot of the menu.
Here's the menu for the Sunday Bubbles Brunch in 2018. Sorry the top of the left hand side is a little blurry. It was a big menu and I struggled a bit with lighting it evenly.
The format was pretty straight forward, mostly buffet with one plated selection. There were several stations or tables set up for each of the themed areas… a Parfait Station, an Omelet Station, Salads, a Sushi Table, etc — along with your choice of a single plated entree that was prepared in the kitchen — and finally an amazing selection of chef Laurent Branlard's Mini Pastries. (And of course, those bottomless Mimosas.)
The quality of everything available was outstanding… with most of the items coming from the various resturaunts at the Swan and Dolphin. Fresh blended juices from the Fresh Mediterranean Market
and Sushi from Kimonos
Since Il Mulino is not normally a "buffet" — bistro style bowls and plates were used to hold small quantities of prepared salads and such at the various tables — so everything that had been put out, was refreshed often.
I didn't feel pressured at any time to "order the entree and get out" — everything progressed at our pace, which was probably very slow by most standards. Our server and the various staff we had were also very good. From what I understand, this can be a bit hit-or-miss at Il Mulino — but everyone was very attentive and professional at the brunch!
I'll just spend the rest of the article going over the various stations that were setup, show some of the food they were offering, and close with a couple photo of the plated entrees that were served.
The entrance hallway and lounge that leads into the main dining area was used for most of the "breakfast" items. Several different stations were set up here.
The main entrance to Il Mulino is through those tall doors at the back. During normal afternoon and evening hours, the space by the windows is used as lounge seating, with a few tables and chairs. For the brunch, it's a made-to-order omelet station!
The Parfait Station featured plain yogurt with several different topping options including fresh cut fruit.
That large white countertop is normally part of the lounge at Il Mulino, and if I'm not mistaken, has tall chairs right where the parfait station is!
It's granola time! The yogurt and toppings at the parfait bar were all placed in these large bistro bowls with small glasses in front of the set up… so you could build your own parfait cup!
There were so many different toppings! The bowl in focus here contains some walnuts, but positioned around the walnuts — there were blueberries, dried cranberries and sliced almonds.
Such tiny little seeds! These are chia seeds. While it is very popular to make a type of overnight pudding with them, you can also eat them raw like this. They add a nice little pop and crunch, just like a poppy seed or a sesame seed might.
Look at those strawberries! We saw strawberries in several different locations at the Sunday Bubbles Brunch and they all looked great! These are just plain cut, so there's no sauce or anything… great for a parfait cup.
On one side of the hallway, there was a made-to-order omelet station with quite a few options, including full egg and egg-white only omelets with… pretty much anything you could imagine as build ingredients — from the more common ham, tomato, cheddar, and onions to options like wild mushrooms, smoked salmon, poached lobster, and blue crab!
This made-to-order omelet station was a little hard to get a photo of. There's a ton of light coming in from that window! The skilled omelet professional had five cooking stations like this set up.
Most of those omelet build ingredients were also available as additional toppings once your omelet was made. You could just pile on as much extra as you wanted.
There was also an omelet topping bar, so if you wanted to add a little more stuff on top of your fresh made omelet, you could!
Some of the more common omelet toppings were these diced tomatoes.
The three pepper mix was really pretty! Probably great for a "fiesta" omelet.
Diced Salmon anyone? Well that's something you don't see everyday… but it makes culinary sense… I think I'd like my salmon cooked in the omelet. Now if only there were a bagel and some cream cheese around somewhere.
Oh feta, you never looked betta. I'd like to take this big bowl of feta home with me… it's gorgeous and large. There's probably 24oz of feta in that big bistro bowl.
Here's what a fresh-made omelet looks like once it's plated with some other food! There's just so many top-notch options available!
Back on the other side of the hallway, there was a compressed fruit station that also featured bruleed fruit.
The "Fruit" station featured fresh cut and compressed fruit along with a couple of brûléed fruit options.
I believe the melon, cantaloupe, pineapple and watermelon were compressed while the blackberries, blueberries and raspberries were fresh picked. Not sure about the kiwi.
Here's a selection of the compressed fruit from the Sunday Bubbles Brunch, that has been cut and placed on small plates. That way, you weren't messing around with tongs trying to grab some off the larger trays.
There was also a selection of brûléed fruit. Pictured here are some brûléed oranges. Basically, some additional sugar is placed on top of the cut oranges, and it's quick seared with a brûléed torch. The process caramelizes one side of the orange and helps seal in some of the juices.
Here's some Florida grapefruit that has been brûléed.
On the same side, closest to the entrance there was a fresh waffle station that featured strawberry compote and chantilly cream. Also listed on the menu was "maple syrup" but what they didn't put on the menu, was the fact that it was Noble Tonic 02 Maple Syrup — which is off the chart amazing Maple Syrup that costs around $30 for a 500ml bottle — and Blis Bourbon Barrel Maple Syrup which is even a little pricier!
The fresh waffle station was located closest to the main entrance. There were a total of five waffle machines all ready to go, so there was always a hot, fluffy waffle ready to go.
These waffles were pre-plated with two quarters or basically half a waffle. There were never more than six plates made ahead — but they went really fast and were refreshed often.
While it might seem like the Chantilly Cream and Strawberry Compote are the main subject of this photo, my eyes are always drawn to those sample syrup bottles on the left.
The omelet was pretty great, but for me, this waffle station (although somewhat simple in comparison) was a real treat. You'll only find those maple syrups at high-end places and there's just something amazing about a fluffy, fresh made waffle, a little strawberry compote, cream, and a boozy, barrel aged maple syrup!
Ahhhh… fresh, crunchy, fluffy waffles with Strawberry Compote, a little bit of Bourbon Maple Syrup topped with sweet Chantilly Cream. Honestly, I could have eaten a couple of these with some bacon and would have been super happy about the brunch — but there's so much more food to cover!
Closer to the bar area there was a fresh juice station that featured three beverages, simply called "detox", "antioxidant", and "energize".
I know this is the Juice Bar, because there's a giant word on the bar, that reads "Juice".
I think the red juice is the "detox" juice and the green juice is for "energy"… but when there's bottomless mimosas… I pretty much stick to those.
From left to right — green is Energize, orange is Antioxidant, and red is Detox — as near as I can remember. They sure are pretty though! Based on the quality of everything else at this brunch, I'd say these were extracted fresh, using a high-quality process.
This breakfast hallway area also featured a few hot items that start to bridge the gap between breakfast and lunch.
This little "hot breakfast items" station started to bridge the gap between breakfast and lunch. Items like carved roasted turkey, applewood smoked bacon, sausage and breakfast potatoes were always kept hot and fresh.
Herb roasted turkey, breakfast potatoes, sausage, applewood smoked bacon and hand-made potato gnocchi with browned butter and sage were all available at a keep-hot station.
One of the surprise items here were these amazing, hand rolled Potato Gnocchi with Browned Butter and Sage! That keep-warm dish isn't very deep (which is a good thing). As soon as these were gone, new ones were brought out. They tasted as great as they sound! Light and fresh, with brown butter and sage!!!
Here's just one of the bazillion plates I made while at the Sunday Bubbles Brunch. A fresh waffle with Strawberry Compote, maple syrup and Chantilly Cream, crispy Applewood Smoked Bacon, and some pillowy soft Browned Butter and Sage Potato Gnocchi!
Sushi also played a big part at the brunch, even though it only had a small space on the menu! At the end of the breakfast hallway, a special sushi table was set up, and refreshed often.
This sushi table physically bridged the gap between the breakfast and lunch options. The breakfast items were all served in the hallway that leads into the main Il Mulino dining area. This Sushi station was set up at the end of that hallway… which leads into the restaurant's interior. All of the lunch items were set up in this area, closer to the kitchen.
The presentation and quality of the sushi was great. There were around eight different shush and sashimi style items and accompaniments like fresh ground wasabi.
The presentation of the "Dragon Roll" was great! It kind of looks like a little dragon!
The Spicy Tuna Roll was so colorful. The Sushi selections were supplied by Kimonos, and this is what they call their "Spicy Rainbow Roll" — which is a combination of Spicy Tuna, Salmon and Avocado on top of the roll.
This cute little board features Salmon Sashimi.
Pictured in front is the Salmon Nigiri. The pink fish in the background is Yellowtail (amberjack) Nigiri.
This cool looking item is Shrimp Sashimi (served with zucchini strips).
Here's another look at that Dragon Roll. It combines Crispy Shrimp and Tuna.
What a great looking Wasabi dome! I think this is enough Wasabi for everyone at the brunch though!
Sushi is showing up more and more at high-end brunches… and to me, it's a great addition, that makes perfect sense when transitioning from breakfast to lunch.
No, it's not easy getting all of these back to the table standing up like that.
The shrimp in front is Shrimp Sashimi (pierced meat, no rice) and the one in back is Shrimp Nigiri (two fingers of rice with shrimp draped on top). They are separated with a zucchini stick.
The sushi area gradually transitioned into the "lunch" side of brunch, starting with a bread table.
It's the Carb Table! Ahhhh… fresh baked bread!!!
Look at all those warm buns. Crusty on the outside, fluffy on the inside.
There were also two kinds of breadsticks available. I'm pretty sure these aren't chocolate chip breadsticks though. But then again, maybe they are.
A "leafy greens" salad station was also present.
The Leafy Green Salad table featured two salads… a classic Caesar salad (the lemon-garlic dressing is in the bowl in the middle of the table), and a more interesting Toasted Farro salad.
It was great seeing the Caesar salad on the Leafy Green Salad table. It certainly was very green. I think most of the grated parmesan cheese has slipped through to the bottom of the bowl though.
This is the Toasted Farro Salad, and it was pretty great! It combines charred asparagus, toasted walnuts, arugula, persimmon, feta cheese, and a honey black pepper vinaigrette.
Naturally with a bread station, there's a Fromage station!
And this is the Fromage Station! Fromage is the French word for cheese. I think, the word Fromage is being used here because it's one letter longer than the word cheese — and the extra width is needed to hold two cheese boards on top of the display.
This is Crottin Cheese or Crottin de Chavignol to be more precise. It's a goat cheese from France.
This creamy bit of goodness is Brillat-Savarin a triple cream cow's milk cheese that has a 70% or greater amount of butterfat.
Oh hey there Blue Cheese. It's smelly, but oh so good… especially with apples or a burger… maybe that's just me. I bet it would taste good in that Toasted Farro Salad from a couple of pictures ago too!
Oh these aren't just Deviled Eggs, they're Lake Meadow Farms "Naturals" Deviled Eggs. (Lake Meadow Farms is local to the area, so they're fresh.)
Not to be outdone by the cheese, meat had it's own Charcuterie station!
And there's a Charcuterie Station too! Well technically, it's "i" fell off and now it's a Charcutere Station — but I still figured out this is where all the meat is.
Coppa (or Capocollo) is a traditional Italian cold cut made from pork.
There's actually two kinds of salami on this board (note the slight color difference in the center and right most line of slices). There's both Napoli Salami and Calabrese Salami.
Last, but not least, a prepared salads station was also set up, that included some amazing roasted veggies, a Panzanella salad, Caprese, and a couple of mushroom varieties to garnish with!
Near the Meat and Cheese tables there was a side table for some prepared sides. The Panzanella is front and center, but there's a couple boards of marinated, roasted veggies that were pretty great too!
Panzanella is a bread salad (kind of like croutons, but not dried and hard yet), and also includes mozzarella cheese, grape tomatoes, red onion, and a red wine vinaigrette. There's also some fresh diced parsley added to the mix for color and a little extra herbaceous flavor.
it's a bowl of marinated and lightly roasted mushrooms to be used as an extra topping.
Hello gorgeous veggie board! There's so many great things on here… all were lightly marinated and grilled. From left to right carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, with red, yellow and green peppers.
I know what you're thinking! You're thinking — I could really use a top-notch, made-to-order, hot plated entree from the kitchen right about now!
There were actually six different options available, from the traditional Steak and Eggs, to Saltimbocca, Lobster Benedict, and Penne Shirmp Alla Vodka.
Our table selected the Chicken Fried Chicken and Striped Bass Limone which featured seared Atlantic Striped Bass, aged carnaroli rice, romanesco, and a meyer lemon vin blanc.
The prepared plates from the kitchen were not small plates. This is the Chicken Fried Chicken with Potato Puree, Pickled Carrots, and Peppered Milk Gravy.
And here's the Striped Bass Limone that featured Seared Atlantic Striped Bass, Aged Carnaroli Rice, Romanesco, and Meyer Lemon vin Blanc.
Well, it's probably time for dessert! The dessert station featured several masterpieces created by head pastry chef Laurent Branlard!
Chef Laurent Branlard's desserts are always amazing — that's certainly true with these small Coffee pot de Creams!
I didn't get a really good shot of the entire station that was set up because it was right next to a window that had a lot of backlight — but there were probably eight to a dozen different dessert selections, that ranged from cakes and cookies, to layered dessert glasses and pot de creams, giant macaroons, and elegant dessert tarts and bars.
Hazelnut Crunch Domes with Gold Leaf Flakes.
These are Limoncello Meringue Tarts and they were very, very popular… and for good reason! They were so light and bright with a surprisingly delicate cookie like crust that didn't overpower the meringue.
These tall glasses contain a White Chocolate Mousse with Strawberry Compote. The only thing missing, is a tall spoon!
These little cups contain a not-so-traditional (but very, very good) Tiramisu.
Look at the gorgeous feet on those Macaroon cookies! And these aren't those Mini Macs you see everywhere either… these are genuine, full-size Macaroons with Pistachio Cream. So light and delicate.
The texture and flavor of this simple little almond cookie was really great... light and fluffy.
Here's just one of many dessert plates that made it back to the table.
And here's another dessert plate that does a better job of showing off how tall that White Chocolate Mousse glass was. I don't actually remember too much about that brown square dessert. My guess is, it was a carrot cake or a pumpkin spice cake.
The Sunday Bubbles Brunch really was a special occasion dining event. At around $100 per-person, it's clearly not something you're going to do every weekend. But the quality and diversity of the food items was outstanding, and justified the cost of the brunch — which is not something I often get to write.
When asked about the Sunday Bubbles Brunch coming back to future Food and Wine Classics at the Swan and Dolphin
— I'm usually directed to a brunch takes place on Sundays at the Fresh Mediterranean Market
(which is an indication to me, that the big "Sunday Bubbles Brunch" is gone for good, but you never know).
I have never been to the Fresh Mediterranean Market for brunch
(I should probably visit one of these days and check that out), but I have been told, that on "the" Sunday after the Food and Wine Classic 2021 (so that's October 31st, 2021) — they will offer a bottomless Mimosa option during brunch — for a total cost of $40! At half the cost, I can't image the special brunch at Fresh Mediterranean Market being quite as grandiose as the "Sunday Bubbles Brunch" event — but if there really are bottomless Mimosa for $40 — it might be worth checking out.
Swan and Dolphin are putting on (as far as I know) this year's only large-scale, multiple culinary and beverage station foodie party this year — something that Disney themselves aren't doing as part of the 2021 Food and Wine celebrations — that, together with the fact that they are considering bringing the Culinary Demos back next year — gives me hope that we might, maybe, one day, see a brunch return as part of the Food and Wine Classic one day. Until then, it will keep it's place in our archives as one of the best brunches out there.