Saturday, December 12, and our last full day at Disney. Breakfast in the room, and then off to a morning at the Animal Kingdom. After a ride on Expedition Everest, and wonderful visit with some old friends, we headed for the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and my first look at Kidani Village. This is the new DVC section recently added to the resort. Along with the rooms, a new gift shop, and a great pool area, they also added a new restaurant - Sanaa. This choice was clearly a "no-brainer" - this restaurant actually has a dedicated vegan menu! Of course, that means that my review is pretty unnecessary - of course this is a good choice! I have to confess, though, after a disappointing week of Disney dining, it was really nice to go somewhere that I knew I wouldn't leave hungry.
Again, we showed up before the first seating of the day, and were treated to a wonderful round of African singing by the restaurant cast members. We were quickly seated, and it became apparent pretty quickly that we had a great server... who's name I didn't get, and I feel awful about that. She was knowledgeable, and helpful - and made the meal even that much better.
While we didn't get a window seat (most of those tables looked like they were designed to seat more than two people) we could still see the savanna, and the whole restaurant is very beautiful anyway. (Sorry no interior shots, but here's a picture of the check-in desk. See the hidden Mickey?)
The menu is sort of unusual in that there are a lot of "smaller" dishes. It's really nice how they set it up, though. A lot of the food is designed to be shared, and our server really helped to make this possible, even with a vegan and non-vegan. For instance, we ordered the Indian Style Bread Service, which comes with three types of breads, and three accompaniments. There are only two types of bread that are vegan, but she allowed us to order those two, along with a third non-vegan choice for my husband. The person who actually brought the bread to our table actually messed up the order, but our server caught it before we could take a bite, and brought a second, separate plate for me. The fact that she actually saw this, and fixed it so quickly really impressed me. She was on top of things! Here's a shot of the Roti and Paratha, both vegan:
I believe the Paratha is the one on top - sort of like pita bread, only a little softer. It was very tasty. The Roti was really more like a cracker than bread - brittle and crispy - but nice with some of the toppings. I chose the Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus (bottom right), and the Mango Chutney (top). Hubby added on the Red Chili Sambul (bottom left), which might not have been vegan.
Both the hummus, and the mango chutney were good. Actually, these with the Paratha bread were one of my favorite parts of the meal.
I also decided to try the Salad Sampler - three small servings of three different types of salads. With some help from our wonderful server, I chose (from left to right in the picture below) Roasted Beets, Roasted Potato Corn and Spinach, and Watermelon Lime and Radish.
As the server had suggested, the watermelon was actually my favorite. (I notice that this isn't on the vegan menu currently posted at AllEars, but that predates my visit - it was definitely on the vegan menu earlier this month.) The roasted beets were also good, if you like beets (I do). I have to confess, though, that the potato-corn-spinach salad was a little too different for me - just not that crazy about the flavor.
I had almost ordered the Chickpeas with Cucumber and Tomato salad, but Rocky decided to have that as his salad choice with his sandwich, so at the server's suggestion, I chose another, giving us more things to try, and to share. It was a good choice - I'd choose this over the potato-corn one next time.
Instead of an entree, I asked for one of the appetizers. Our server was more than happy to do this, arranging for it to arrive at the same time as my husband's sandwich. I figured that with both the bread, and the salad sampler, I wouldn't have room for a full entree. I will probably try something different next time, but I'm glad I did it this way this time. I ordered the Potato and Pea Samosas, with Tamarind Chutney. There were only two samosas, but they were quite large, and very filling. They really did work as an entree for me. The tamarind chutney wasn't really my thing, but I still had mango chutney left over from the bread service (and the offer for more, if I wanted it). While not "too" spicy, the samosas did have a little kick, and I felt that the sweet mango was a better compliment to them.
Amazingly, this menu actually boasts THREE vegan dessert options! I wish I had had some room left, but the samosas were quite filling, so I had to pass.
For dinner, I'm afraid we just made do with stuff in the room. I can't even remember what we had left at this point, but we must have found something. So, nothing to report for dinner, but lunch was really good. Yes, the flavors are a little exotic, and Sanaa won't appeal to everyone. But the options are amazingly plentiful for a vegan - no prior notice required.