Qatar Airways is one of relatively few airlines to offer a 'dine on demand' menu in business class. Instead of being locked into eating on the airline's schedule, the dine on demand concept generally lets you choose what you'd like to eat and when you'd like to eat it.
That flexibility is well suited to business travellers on long-distance flights, such as the 15 hours between Sydney and Qatar's Doha hub (which in turn puts most of Europe less than seven hours away).
If you've eaten in the airport lounge before the flight, for example, you can get stuck straight into that report or presentation for the first few hours of the flight – with the added bonus of high-speed WiFi – and take a larger three-course meal when you're done.
Alternatively, you could settle for something light to take the edge off your appetite before you sleep, and tuck into the main meal as your hearty breakfast.
Flying in Qatar Airways' Qsuites takes this to another level. These business class seats have plenty of room to enjoy your meal while watching a movie or TV show on a massive 21.5-inch video screen, and if you close the sliding doors, your suite pretty much becomes a cosy private booth at an à la carte restaurant.
If you're travelling with a partner, selected middle pairs of Qsuites become a table for two.
On my most recent trip with Qatar Airways, flying the Oneworld member's Airbus A350 from Sydney to Doha, I spied four couples in the business class cabin sharing that dining experience.
Qatar Airways' dine on demand menu
While the menu is available as dine on demand, the late afternoon departure of Qatar Airways' QR907 from Sydney to Doha still follows the convention of a main meal service from around an hour after take off. This makes plenty of sense: it's what most passengers are used to, and it coincides with what your body clock considers to be 'dinner time'.
Hence, the menu adheres to the structure of a four-course meal - with soup, appetisers and desserts – with a post-sleep 'breakfast' (starters and mains) as the midnight arrival into Doha looms. There's also a set of light options and, on a separate card, a further half-dozen ‘snack platters’.
I suggest studying the menu as soon as you've settled into your Qsuite, because if a particular dish takes your fancy, it's best to reserve it the first chance you get.
Case in point: on my flight I was seated in the last row of the Qsuites business class cabin, and my first choice of a healthy pan-fried blue-eyed cod had run out by the time the flight attendants reached me.
Here's a sampling of what you can expect when dining in Qatar Airways Qsuites business class.
Qatar Airways' signature pre-flight drink is a refreshing Lemon Mint concoction which you might decide to keep ordering during the flight.
The Pommery Brut Royal Champagne is another a tempting way to begin your Qsuites journey, and I'd also recommend trying the 'karak chai' tea with cardamom.
The dining table is dressed with a small flickering LED lamp – a simple touch which adds a delightful ambience to the Qsuite . Also shown here: a selection of breads served with your choice of olive oils infused with balsamic vinegar, tomato chilli, spicy lemon or pomegranate.
Two appetisers were offered, in addition to a creamy buttermilk almond soup: an Arabic mezze, which I always find hard to resist, and cured fillet of salmon with celeriac remoulade.
The mains menu on this flight from Sydney to Doha:
- Arabic chicken kofta with oriental rice
- braised beef cheeks with roast kipfler potato
- blue-eyed cod pan-fried with mashed potato and cabbage
- macaroni served with a three-cheese sauce and crispy panko Parmesan crumbs
I chose the Arabic chicken kofta with oriental rice, and will readily volunteer that it doesn't photograph nearly as well as it tastes.
- warmed orange semolina pudding
- fresh berries with rose water syrup
- gourmet ice cream selection
Snack platters offering six small bites are exclusive to Qsuites flights, as they're intended to be shared in those 'double suites', although solo flyers can of course order one for some mid-flight grazing. On my flight the platter came with
- Smoked salmon
- Mini caprese salad
- Chicken satay
- Beef and mixed pepper skewer
- Baked toast cheese with mushrooms
- White chocolate brownie
Another light option is the afternoon tea plate of finger sandwiches, warm scones, clotted cream and pastries (there's also a cheese plate with Australian and French cheeses, and a pasta dish such as mushroom tortellini).
Breakfast in Qatar Airways Qsuites begins with a choice of starters, from which I selected the Greek yoghurt, mixed berry compote and toasted granola with nuts (the assiette of cold cuts and smoked fish was a close second choice).
The centrepiece of breakfast can be any of the following:
- traditional Arabic breakfast
- thick sourdough with poached eggs, crushed avocado with lemon olive oil
- cocoanut and chia seed porridge
- fruit french toast with mixed berry compote
I went the healthy route, pairing my Greek yoghurt with the cocoanut and chia seed porridge.
Qatar Airways' Qsuite is already a stellar business class proposition, and the dining experience is equally polished and premium.
The author travelled as a guest of Qatar Airways.