Chef’s Table: Fiji Airways brings fine dining to the airport lounge

The farm-to-table experience is available to passengers on any airline.

By Chris Ashton, May 22 2024
Chef’s Table: Fiji Airways brings fine dining to the airport lounge

Hearty and heart-warming are two common descriptions of Fijian cuisine. Soon, that may include the likes of elegant or refined, thanks to Fiji Airways now spotlighting the growing trend of elevated Fijian fare at its Premier Lounge in Nadi.

Available to passengers travelling on any airline, the four-course culinary journey – dubbed Chef’s Table – is designed to showcase the history, cultural diversity and fresh produce of Fiji, with each dish telling a story.

The 'Fire & Smoke' main course: lamb two ways.
The 'Fire & Smoke' main course: lamb two ways.

Changing seasonally, the experience begins with a cocktail or mocktail before tempting taste buds with the likes of yellowfin tuna, sea grapes and wild-caught prawns, flame grilled lamb tenderloin alongside a braised, smoked lamb with cassava pave, and a curry leaf and cardamom ice cream to finish.

Each dish pays homage to a different aspect of local life, like the succulent ‘Fire & Smoke’ main course, which is inspired by the open fire home-cooking and roadside barbecues of Fijian street food.

Plating the appetiser: Coconut - Tree of Life.
Plating the appetiser: Coconut - Tree of Life.

However, it’s not included as part of the standard Nadi Premier Lounge offering. Instead, it’s an upgrade for FJD$150 (AUD$99) per head, with the experience taking between 60 and 90 minutes.

Served in a private dining room with up to three sittings a day (currently 1pm and 6:30pm, with a third to be added soon), the experience must also be pre-booked via a form on the Fiji Airways website, at least 24 hours ahead.

Fiji Airways' Chef's Table experience.
Fiji Airways' Chef's Table experience.

The current menu is as follows:

  • lolo rice arancini, young coconut (bu) noodles with smoked Tahitian chestnut (ivi) and coriander pesto, coconut apple (vara) with sea salt and chilli flakes, and a coconut water shot
  • yellowfin tuna, wild-caught ocean water prawns, spiced seaweed and coconut jelly (lumi), tempura sea grapes (nama), ginger and wasabi espuma, tomato caviar and pumpkin fronds
  • lamb two ways: flame-grilled tenderloin with six-hour braised and smoked lamb, cassava pave, braised cabbage puree and a balsamic onion mousse
  • curry leaf and cardamom ice cream, spiced steamed pudding (purini) and mango lassi

Once the eating is done, guests can then relax in the wider Nadi Premier lounge – replete with tropical beats, a well-stocked bar mixing up wine and cocktails, and a kid’s club.

Nadi Premier Lounge welcomes a broad list of guests, including Oneworld frequent flyers.
Nadi Premier Lounge welcomes a broad list of guests, including Oneworld frequent flyers.

Fiji Airways CEO and Managing Director Andre Viljoen says the experience will redefine the expectations of airport lounge dining, adding the “local chefs have combined traditional Fijian cooking methods with modern culinary techniques to delight your senses with every course.”

That fusion is part of a broader trend sweeping across the islands, with chefs – like Sanjay Dutt from five-star Vomo Island Resort – not only looking to change perceptions of Fijian cuisine but push it in a bold and exciting new direction.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

28 Jun 2019

Total posts 78

Interesting idea, and always nice to see airlines trying to offer better choices, but the limited seating times will render this useless for most Oz/NZ bound travellers from Fiji, and will also close as the afternoon bank comes in before connections to North America. 🤷‍♂️ 

A charge-up even for business class passengers is also a bit of a let-down. 

I wish them well with this, but without some tweaks to both access and times, I'll be surprised if this lasts.

Tav
Tav

20 Oct 2020

Total posts 15

Great to see the direction that modern Fijian cuisine is taking! Would love to experience this, and A$99 is fair - but as FlyingKangaroo noted, matching this with flight times to Oz will be tricky. The Sydney evening flight is a 737 so a big step down in Business Class hard product from the A350.

Applause to FJ for trying this though…

11 May 2016

Total posts 13

I could still remember when I ate a thin piece of beef cooked well-done and was called "steak" when noted on FJ's lounge menu. From then I cannot trust any Fiji dish. 


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