Qantas reopens Melbourne Business Lounge’s Spice Bar

Passenger favourites such as laksa and wonton noodle soup have returned just in time for the winter chill.

By Chris Ashton, June 3 2022
Qantas reopens Melbourne Business Lounge’s Spice Bar

Qantas has dialled up the heat in its Melbourne Domestic Business Lounge this week with the long-awaited return of the Spice Bar – its signature Asian street food-inspired dining experience.

Sporting a fresh and fragrant new menu, peppered with familiar favourites, business passengers and Platinum-grade frequent flyers can once-again treat their taste buds to dishes like chicken laksa with friend tofu, Sichuan pork with noodles, and chicken miso soup with pickled ginger and sesame. 

Other tantalising options include vegetarian wonton noodle soup, and Chinese wheat noodles with chicken, black vinegar, chilli oil and wombok. 

Wonton noodle soup is one of the Spice Bar's winter warmers.
Wonton noodle soup is one of the Spice Bar's winter warmers.

When the Qantas Melbourne Business Lounge made its debut in November 2018, the Spice Bar’s Asian street food influence represented the third ‘signature’ dining experience in Qantas’ domestic business lounge network, following the popular Pizza Bar at Perth and the Cantina at Brisbane – although the later has since been rebranded and revamped into more of a bistro servery.

Pizza is a perennial hit at the Qantas Perth Business Lounge.
Pizza is a perennial hit at the Qantas Perth Business Lounge.

Qantas’ Sydney Business Lounge remains the odd one out: the faded flagship has yet to receive the same mod makeover as its Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth siblings.

That transformation was in the wings as of December 2019, when Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce told Executive Traveller “the Sydney domestic business lounge is now top of the list for the domestic lounge (upgrade program). “

“I can’t say when the date is, but it will be done, it’s just programming it into all of the capital expenditure that we have.”

The since-rebranded Cantina at the Qantas Brisbane Business Lounge.
The since-rebranded Cantina at the Qantas Brisbane Business Lounge.

Of course, we all know what happened in the following months: the pandemic completely derailed Qantas, to the extent that Joyce confirmed last month that the airline was just “11 weeks away from bankruptcy” after Covid-19 hit.

But as 2022 continues to roll out, Qantas is soaring once more, with resurgent domestic and international travel providing the revenue and optimism needed to launch new routes to the likes of India, Rome and Seoulbring back the Airbus A380s ahead of time, and commit to Project Sunrise with an order for globe-striding Airbus A350 jets.

The renewel of its domestic fleet, based around the Airbus A220 and A321XLR, continues to bring renewed optimism too.

Maybe the Sydney Business Lounge will even get a bit of overdue love…

Additional reporting by David Flynn

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1201

Meanwhile the MEL Qantas Club remains the very disappointing poor cousin with the ambiance of a shopping centre cheap foodcourt.

19 Apr 2013

Total posts 11

Thanks for saying this. I couldn't agree more. I much preferred the old layout for both QC and the business lounge. So careful what you wish for David re Sydney. I would argue that Sydney is largely fine as it is

11 May 2022

Total posts 1

Hi David 

On the topic of Lounges do you know when Qantas will allow Single Points Club or CC issued invitations , I have 6 expiring this year , Ive reached out to Qantas to ask but no reply via Twitter or Messenger . Are these likely to have expiry dates extended if we can use them >>

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Feb 2019

Total posts 1

I swear this was open a month ago, am I missing something here?

07 May 2015

Total posts 42

It's been closed for the past few weeks now, with some frequent flyer groups having rumours the Spice Bar was being closed for good, so I am glad ET has looked into this. The food at the Melbourne and Sydney Qantas business lounges has been absolutely dire in recent months, Qantas and Accor who run the lounges really need to lift their game.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 335

Sydney Business Lounge Domestic has always had cheap and nasty food choices, I wouldn't say its been just the past few months. The old setup of Melbourne C lounge was more enticing - but then again Qantas lounges, even First at Sydne yare nothing to rave about, just passable

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Jul 2013

Total posts 68

Can anyone confirm if there are vegetarian options available? Cheers


22 Jan 2013

Total posts 99

Yes normally one veg, one with meat. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2013

Total posts 2

Had the chicken laksa in Melbourne last night - great to have it back!

31 Oct 2018

Total posts 11

Trying to figure out why it closed and how long for? I just assumed flakey QF service offering…

@David anything you can confirm?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jun 2022

Total posts 5

Oh it is a great day for all those in the lounge that Qantas has found its way back to serving from the Spice Bar. What a shame Qantas has lost its way with premium customers as it relates to their core business…flying people from A to B! Being bumped from a flight as a paying business class passenger due to QF over selling capacity is very poor form. And that is one of too many issues I’ve experienced with the airline recently. To make matters worse, their CEO Qantas Loyalty hasn’t afforded me the courtesy of responding to my email complaint. If anything has become spicy, it isn’t their lounge bar, it’s the relationship!   

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 662

Checked into the QF Business Lounge yesterday afternoon (courtesy of a Qatar Privilege Club status match in 2020).  Might be me but I think Qantas has lifted its game with F&B delivery.  Only 'downer' was a couple of families with children in early primary school age who were clearly 'excited' to be there (but they were there only about 20 minutes before their flight started boarding).  The san choy bau in beef and mushroom was quite nice.   And quality of wines was certainly better than my last foray into Virgin's Brisbane lounge.  

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