We had reservations for a party of four at Boma, a buffet-style restaurant located inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The dress code is casual. We arrived about 10 minutes early for our 6:00 reservations. At that time, we heard the hostess tell a guest in front of us that there was a 2 hour wait for walk-ups. Now that we are Orlando locals, we’ve gotten used to the excessive crowds at restaurants, so we don’t ever go out without reservations.
The check-in area was noisy and crowded, though I think that most of that was caused by people without reservations, since quite a few people were turned away by the long wait. We only had to wait 10 minutes before being seated.
We were a party of four adults. My husband and I are pescatarians, so we eat seafood, but no meat products. When we were seated, our server took drink orders, then he specifically recommended the coconut curry chicken soup and the carrot ginger soup. I asked him whether the carrot ginger soup had a chicken stock base, as I’d had a bad experience at Jiko where they had served me a carrot soup made with a chicken stock base even though I’d made them aware of my dietary requirements. Our server told us that the carrot ginger soup, though, was a vegetarian soup – huzzah!
Following his recommendation, I started with a bowl of this carrot ginger soup. I cannot say enough good things about it! It was warm, creamy, and sweet, with just a subtle taste of fresh ginger. It’s sweetness actually reminded me of a warm, milky pudding. I gobbled this bowl down and went back for seconds. My husband did the same, though he actually decided to have his second bowl of this soup for his dessert!
We missed the sweet Butternut Squash soup and the creamy, savory crab soup from our last trip, but the Carrot Ginger soup was a lovely surprise, and it was nice to try something new.
There is some overlap here, since this dinner is a buffet, and my husband and I got some of the same items. The next photo is of his first plate. Starting in the front and moving clockwise, he had a piece of bread. It was thin and flaky, with no center (hollow & filled with air). He described it as being like when a Saltine cracker gets a bubble in it. He didn’t eat it with his soup, but instead dipped it into the mustard sauce, which he LOVED. Unfortunately, we can’t remember the name of this bread.
Next to the bread are the seasoned potatoes (Potatoes with Afritude). We both agreed that these were just okay. They were far too heavily seasoned, and yet, paradoxically, lacked flavor. We did not really enjoy these.
Just above the bread is the pecan-crusted salmon, flanked by the mustard sauce on its right and a sauce whose name we can’t remember on its left. The unknown sauce was equally unremarkable, but the mustard sauce was outstanding. I’m not a fan of mustard, but this was very flavorful and pungent, and, after tasting this on my husband’s plate, I got some on my next go-round to the buffet.
In the center of his plate was the coconut rice. He liked this, because it was very simple. He thought it contrasted nicely with the other items on his plate, since it was light and refreshing. He actually wanted to add some of this to his carrot ginger soup, since he felt the soup needed a bit more texture.
To the right of the coconut rice was cous cous. It was not memorable, and he did not go back for more. Just below this is a falafel, with a yogurt sauce. He enjoyed this, because he said it tasted like a hush puppy. He liked that the grains were finer than in most other falafels he’s eaten. He went back for seconds of the falafel.
The next photo is of my first plate. I will begin with the pecan-crusted salmon at the bottom of the plate and continue clockwise. The salmon was good, with a nice flavor, though the pecan crusting had a noticeable amount of heat. Its effects were cumulative, so that, by the end of the meal, my mother-in-law’s mouth was burning. The heat was only in the pecan crust, though, so for those who don’t enjoy hot dishes, I would just suggest knocking the crust off. I preferred the salmon that we’d had last time we were at Boma. That one had been steamed in a banana leaf and had a lovely peanut sauce over it, but this dish, while not quite as flavorful, was still good enough for me to have seconds of!
Next to the salmon, I had the unknown dressing and the Tamarind BBQ sauce. The Tamarind sauce was wonderfully tangy & sweet, and I thought it went very well with the salmon.
Just touching the bbq sauce is the fruit salad, which, on this particular night, was an Avocado, Grapefruit, and Papaya salad. I missed the sweet, coconut pineapple salad from our last Boma visit, but this was good in its own way. It was crisp and refreshing, and the grapefruit slices weren’t too tart. The papaya was a bit flavorless, but overall I enjoyed this dish.
To the right of the salad, I have the Potatoes with Afritude, which I’ve already discussed, and a green bean coconut curry tofu dish. This was very mild and underseasoned, and the tofu lacked flavor. Perhaps that was why I did not enjoy the coconut rice (flanking the salmon); again, I found it too mild and lacking in flavor.
Next to the green beans, I had Fruli, a sweet potato casserole type dish. I am a fan of sweet potato casserole, so I enjoyed this, but there was nothing really exotic or special about it.
This next plate was my husband’s. I’ll start with the coleslaw (kool slai – sp?) and continue clockwise. He liked this dish; it was sweet but not tangy, and he used it, like the rice, as a palate cleanser. Again, I disagreed – I found this item to be lacking in flavor, but perhaps my palate needs less cleansing
Just to the right of the coleslaw was meali bread, which was like cornbread, but with a much finer grain. It was very slightly sweet, soft, and not too dry. He liked this and recommended it to me, but by that time I’d eaten my second plate and wasn’t up for bread.
Just above the cornbread is another piece of pecan-crusted salmon, and the sauce next to it was the mustard sauce. He was such a fan that he put a large portion on his 2nd plate, and this sauce did pair nicely with the salmon – it gave it a zing.
To the right of the salmon, he had some Fruli, and just below that was a mixture of cous cous, corn, and onions. We can’t remember the name of this, but he didn’t care for it. He put it on his plate just to try it, and he said it wasn’t offensive, but it didn’t wow him in any way.
Below that, he had 2 more falafels with yogurt sauce.
For my next plate, I had a piece of watermelon (top). It was nice and refreshing, but didn’t have a whole lot of flavor, since it’s still early in the year for watermelon. I think many of the fresh fruits here were served without regard for season and were, consequently, lacking in flavor.
To the right of that is my 2nd piece of salmon and, below the salmon, Tamarind BBQ sauce and mustard sauce. Even I, the mustard-hater, got some of this sauce – it was that good!
Following along the rim of the plate is a piece of crisp flatbread, and, just to the right of this, the three hummuses (hummi?) served that night. The one on the left was a white bean hummus, then calamata hummus, then a sundried tomato hummus on the right. These were all okay, but confirmed to me that I am just not a hummus fan. Like falafel, it’s one of those things I wish I liked, but I just don’t.
Above the flatbread is more Fruli.
Finally, for dessert, I wanted to try several items. You may be wondering why I did not eat the zebra domes, so I will share my two reasons. 1. I’ve had them and I don’t think they’re anything special, and 2. I don’t eat meat-based products, and they contain animal hooves in the form of gelatin.
On the top right-hand side, I had more of the Avocado Grapefruit Papaya salad. This was my palate cleanser, and I again enjoyed its refreshing flavor. Just below this was another palate cleanser for me: Orange, Radish, and Carrot salad. I ate the oranges here but left the radishes. They had a bitter flavor that I found unappealing.
Continuing clockwise, the cherry crumble is just to the left. This was my favorite of the desserts. I found the cherries to be tart and refreshing, which provided a nice contrast to the super-sweet crumble crust. Again, this was nothing outstanding: just an ordinary fruit crumble, but I enjoyed it and actually wished I was less full, so that I could have found it even more appetizing.
Just above this was a banana bread pudding with chocolate rum sauce. This sounds better than it was. The bread pudding was overly spongy, and the chocolate rum sauce needed more of a rum “zing.”
At the very top of the plate was a strawberry wrapped in phyllo pastry that had been filled with a cream that tasted like a Creme Anglaise. It was nice and light, but the phyllo was very soggy from the cream, and the cream could have been a bit sweeter & more flavorful.
Just below this was the item that I’d been most excited about and was, thus, most disappointed in. This was a mango mousse tartlet. I LOVE mangoes; I love their sweet yet tart flavor, and I have had mango mousse before that really captured this sweet, crisp, refreshing flavor. This item disappointed me, because it only faintly tasted of mangoes – it actually reminded me of biting into a very underripe mango. Again, I think the chefs here incorporated fruits into their dishes regardless of season & ripeness, and the flavor thus suffered. I used my spoon to scoop the filling out of the tart, which helped a bit, since the extremely mild taste of the mousse was overwhelmed by the thick crust. However, it still disappointed, and I left wishing that I’d done what my husband did and had a bowl of Carrot Ginger soup for dessert!
I will also attach a photo of my father-in-law’s plate. It’s darker than the other photos, and I can’t tell you much about the dishes (I know there is a rare prime rib, some chicken, and some falafels), but I thought the meat eaters may enjoy reading this, and perhaps he will write in and give his own recaps.
Overall, we enjoyed this dinner very much. We are big fans of Boma, because it provides an experience that’s much better than the average buffet. As pescatarians, we appreciate the wide range of items that we can eat, though we find the dessert selection disappointing.