Qantas First Lounge: sampling the new Winter 2014 menu

By David Flynn, June 4 2014
Qantas First Lounge: sampling the new Winter 2014 menu

The winter 2014 menu for the Qantas First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne sees a dozen new dishes plus some seasonal tweaks to long-time favourites.

And with so many tempting dishes to try, you'll probably end up hoping that your flight will be delayed.

As always, the breakfast menu is available from the lounge's early morning opening through to noon (how very civilised!).

A popular starter will be the Shaw River buffalo milk yoghurt with rhubarb, pecans and chia seeds.

This deliciously-flavoured natural yoghurt – made from whole buffalo milk, giving it a smooth, sweet taste – is a staple of the Qantas First Lounge breakfast menu, with the accompaniments changing from season to season,

The autumn menu saw the yoghurt served with honeyed apples, but for winter the apples are replaced by gently poached and lightly spiced rhubarb, dressed with lightly toasted and sliced pecan nuts and chia seeds.

Another First Lounge classic: buttermilk pancakes. For winter they're rugged up with a warmed apple compote, flavoured with vanilla, lemon and spiced maple ricotta.

Dollop on some extra maple syrup if you must, but we think you'll find the cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves are all this stack needs to hit the spot.

The whole egg and egg white omelettes also get a winter reworking.

Here's the whole egg omelette filled with sautéed mushrooms, smoky Schulz bacon and a house-made (well, lounge-made) onion jam, finished with a sweet Merlot vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.

The more health-conscious can steer for the egg white omelette with goat's feta, watercress and tomato. Trust us it doesn't taste even remotely 'diet'.

Stuffed with a creamy textured Meredith goat's milk fetta, it's accompanied by a light, fresh sauce of tomato and peppery watercress leaves.

Of course, plenty of familiar dishes remain ready to please, including the Bircher muesli; sweet corn fritters with bacon, avocado, crème fraiche & tomato jam; eggs florentine; eggs benedict with your choice of smoked salmon or leg ham; or the deceptively simple delight of a wholegrain toasted sandwich with bacon, lettuce, tomato & aioli.

All-day dining

The all-day dining menu takes over from 12 noon through to when the lounge closes, and here is where you'll find the largest number of winter warmers.

Back by popular demand is the buffalo mozzarella, which now has a sharper edge thanks to roasted red capsicum, grilled radicchio and mint.

The radicchio is char grilled and marinated in a sweet Merlot vinegar and in extra virgin olive oil.

Served with pieces of sweet roasted red capsicum and fragrant mint and parsley leaves, it's dressed with the Merlot vinaigrette from the radicchio.

Tuna lovers will be tempted by the grilled sesame tuna with red cabbage and shallot salad.

Yellow fin tuna is marinated in a mix of sesame, shao xing, light soy, five spice and fermented red bean paste, then ever so slightly grilled to rare.

It's sliced and served up with a crisp red cabbage, shallot and coriander salad – dressed with five spice shoa xing, sesame, ginger, lemon and soy.

If you're in the mood for really hearty seafood, we suggest the mussels with tomato, garlic and saffron rouille.

Rouille (which means 'rust' in French) is a traditional accompaniment of garlic, saffron, chilli and olive oil with breadcrumbs, while grilled schiacciata bread is at the ready to soak up the mussel-based sauce.

The mussels are regionally-sourced, so at the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney you'll be served Kinkawooka mussels, while Melbourne's menu boasts Sea Bounty mussels from Port Philip Bay.

Roger serves up the Kinkawooka mussels...
Roger serves up the Kinkawooka mussels...

Still on seafood, we come to the morish grilled mulloway with toasted barley, roasted cauliflower, leek and salsa verde.

This is a medium-sized slab of Palmers Island Mulloway, sustainably farmed from near the NSW coastal town of Yamba.

It's carefully grilled to achieve that slightly crisp skin while keeping the flesh almost melt-in-your-mouth tender, then served with a nutty flavoured salad of toasted barley, fried cauliflower, pickled onion and capers, with a fresh salsa verde of parsley, dill, mint, lemon and olive oil.

The autumn menu's fettuccine with ragu bolognese makes way for a dish is based on classic fettuccine carbonara: soft egg, bacon, roast garlic and parmigiano reggiano.

The pasta is tossed with a reduction of white wine and roast garlic, bacon and Reggiano parmesan, topped by a very softly cooked egg which you then stir into the pasta by the diner to create a sauce for the dish.

Each seasonal menu at the Qantas First Lounge features at least one dish drawn from a restaurant in Neil Perry's Rockpool empire. In winter it's the stir fried cumin lamb from Perry's Spice Temple regional Chinese restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne.

Australian lamb shoulder is stir fried with cumin seeds, garlic, mushrooms, pickled mustard greens and chillies, then served with steamed bread pockets which are made in the lounge's kitchen.

The idea is that you pop open a bread pocket, spoon in some lamb and chow down.

We're tipping this to be one of the hits of the winter menu. It showcases quality Aussie lamb with an Asian touch and it's not only delicious, it's fun to eat!

Siobhan suggests the stir-fried cumin lamb
Siobhan suggests the stir-fried cumin lamb

Now we step from that east-meets-west mix to a bit of 'deep down south' with buttermilk fried chicken with celeriac slaw, soft white polenta and hot sauce.

We know what you're thinking: fried chicken in a first class lounge? Well, as fried chooks go, this is a pretty classy version.

It's corn-fed chicken marinated in buttermilk to season the meat and enhance its juiciness, then gently steamed before being floured and then fried until crisp.

(If you're gluten-intolerant, just ask the restaurant waiters to have the flour coating left off the chicken.)

It's served with creamy white polenta and a fresh apple and celeriac slaw, with chipotle tabasco sauce on the side.

The buttermilk fried chicken is said to go best with a beer and a ticket on the QF7 flight to Dallas.

After all that, we hope you've still left some room for dessert.

And winter just isn't winter without a little indulgent comfort food. Cue the chocolate croissant bread and butter pudding.

This traditional bread and butter pudding is made with pain au chocolat and Valrhona chocolate, set in a silky milk and cream custard.

The top is baked crisp, then a scoop of white chocolate ice cream perched on top to melt into the warm pudding.

Rebecca serves up the chocolate croissant bread and butter pudding
Rebecca serves up the chocolate croissant bread and butter pudding

The hazelnut financier is carried over from the autumn menu, but with poached quince replacing autumn's grilled plums.

The fruit is the seasonal component in this dish, so the lounge actually began serving it with poached quince last month, and partway through winter as quince becomes more scarce this will be swapped out for a different fruit.

The foundation remains a fragrant hazelnut and almond ‘financier’ cake studded with fruit pieces (the quince is poached in cinnamon, vanilla, star anise and lemon) and toasted hazelnuts, served with vanilla ice cream and a pear sauce.

Last but never ever least: the lounge's famous 'deconstructed' pavlova in a glass.

The winter pav is partnered with yoghurt gelato, pineapple and lime.

Delicately passionfruit-flavoured meringue is layered with marscapone cream, fresh pineapple, lime granita, yoghurt gelato and dehydrated pineapple, before being garnished with vanilla floss.

If you're visiting the Qantas First Lounge at Sydney or Melbourne through to the end of August 2014, let us know what dishes you ordered and how you rate them!

Click the links below to download the Qantas First Lounge Winter 2014 menu ahead of your trip so you can start planning your first class feast.

Download: Qantas First Lounge - Winter 2014 Menu, breakfast [60KB PDF]

Download: Qantas First Lounge - Winter 2014 Menu, all day dining [60KB PDF]

Mouth-watering photography in this article by Chris Chamberlin

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662 waist expanded just by reading this article (well...that's my

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1270

One of these days I will make it in to the F lounge.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Apr 2013

Total posts 146

Of course you will, I never thought I would have that opportunity but it did happen.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Sep 2011

Total posts 182

Staff in the lounge are generally very good but Roger always seems very friendly and polite.  He deserves recognition as been one of the best in an excellent team, though I do have a soft spot for Rebecca.   ;)

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

casting aside your 'soft? spot' for Rebecca...I hope you drop a note to QF to recognize Roger and the team, in general

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Sep 2011

Total posts 182

I have many times mate.


14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

I think it's great to see photos of some of the great QF First Lounge team as well as the meals. Roger is always cheery, but then so is Rebecca. Have seen Christina buzzing around some afternoons, always a smile on her face. Other great ones I see are Beatrice, Anna and of course Tomas, and on some evenings Stephanie. They all really make my visit something special. I agree with Undertheradar, it's good to ask the reception desk for a 'feedback' card if there isn't one on your table and compliment the staff on shift, by name, for their great work.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

....and please note...CONSTRUCTIVE feedback can be +ve/-ve.. i don't want to appear to be a QF 'fanboy'!! lol

American Airlines - AAdvantage

15 Feb 2013

Total posts 40

It's a shame they haven brought back the beef brisket pannini. I could eat about 10 of those. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Oh dear. Were they rather small?

American Airlines - AAdvantage

15 Feb 2013

Total posts 40

No, just soooo good!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Sep 2011

Total posts 182

Have to say that the yellow fin tuna was fantastic, the chicken though was a little greasy and to be honest a bit of a fizzer.  I went for it as it had celeriac but really not to my liking at all, but hey, it may suit some people.  The staff were as good as ever though.

06 Jun 2014

Total posts 7

Looks very enticing.

I will be travelling Qantas First Class on my return leg to Sydney from Dubai. However ,  my outward leg is Business Class on Cathay Pacific  to Hong Kong. This was utilising my Qantas Frequent Flyer Points.

Would I be entitled to use the First Class facilities on my outward journey ?

I'm hungry now.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jun 2014

Total posts 2

Kicking myself for booking a morning flight out this weekend! The All Day menu with the tuna, mulloway and winter pav looks great. Well, at least I get to sample the breakfast menu (which hasn't changed too much). I usually avoid the pancakes but might give this version a go.

Will be great to see the QFCL team again.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 444

Was fortunate enough to have both breakfast and lunch here recently and sampled 5 of the new menu items:

- Egg-white omelette - absolutely delicious. The goats cheese was very creamy and the bread served with it, although far too big was beautifully crusty and crunchy - not your standard slice of bread at all.

- Buttermilk pancakes - these were okay, even with the cream and fruit a bit dry. A very simple dish.

- Grilled tuna - not a big fan - didn't like the sauce on the cabbage salad

- Mulloway - fantastic. Fish cooked well, I loved the cauliflower and lentils (dont usually like cauliflower) and the sale verde tied everything together very well.

- Pavlova - delicious but seemed very summery with the pineapple and lime? Wouldn't rhuburb and pear be a better winter combo? It's also very, very sweet.

If I went back I'd definitely have the egg-white omelette and mulloway and then try some other dishes.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2517

Great first-hand report on the new menu, thanks for sharing!

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