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Get ready for some hearty winter warmers at the Qantas First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, thanks to the latest seasonal menu from Neil Perry's Rockpool Group.
And with so many tempting dishes to try, you'll probably end up hoping that your flight will be delayed! Here are some of the highlights.
Breakfast (served to noon)
Everyone has their favourites from the breakfast menu – the Bircher muesli (finished with passionfruit and toasted almonds), sweet corn fritters, whole egg omelette and eggs benedict are always hard to go past.
Then there's the deceptively simple delight of a wholegrain toasted sandwich with bacon, lettuce, tomato & aioli.
But why not try change things up a little and try one of the dishes that have been given a seasonal spin to feature the freshest winter ingredients?
The Shaw River buffalo milk yoghurt, for example, is now topped with fresh raspberries, pomegranate and super-healthy 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,
Another First Lounge classic: buttermilk pancakes. For winter they're rugged up with pears warmed in maple syrup, a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of salted pecan praline.
"Pears really come on mid-autumn through to mid-winter" says Alexander Woolley, one of the chefs from Neil Perry's Rockpool team who develops the much-praised Qantas menus.
"Nuts and pears tend to go together really well –they have a very good contrast – and the nuts also give you a delicious, concentrated flavour" Woolley tells Australian Business Traveller at an exclusive tasting session where the new winter dishes are introduced to the Qantas First Lounge staff.
There's plenty of buzz as staff discover the new dishes, discuss variations to deal with allergies and talk about the best wines to match with each meal.
It's no wonder that travellers visiting the Qantas First Lounge feel they're guests at a five-star restaurant which happens to be inside an airport.
The healthy egg white omelette also get a winter reworking with lightly sautéed kale, oven roasted tomatoes and crumbled feta.
It's the first time kale has appeared on the lounge menu, Woolley explains.
"We've had spinach in the egg white omelette before but kale has a very different flavour and texture, and if you're eating healthy then kale is a big part of that – but more important of all, it tastes good."
All-day dining (served from noon)
The all-day dining menu takes over from 12 noon through to when the lounge closes, and it's here you'll find the greatest number of dishes vying to sate your pre-flight appetite.
The ever-popular Shaw River buffalo mozzarella (from a buffalo dairy located near the small coastal town of Yambuk in Western Victoria) is served with orange segments, toasted hazelnuts, shaved fennel and fennel fronds.
From Neil Perry's Spice Temple restaurants comes this unique smoked chicken salad with tea eggs and coriander.
Whole chickens are smoked in a mix of jasmine tea, jasmine rice and brown sugar, then steamed and shredded. The 'tea eggs' are cooked in jasmine tea, soy sauce star anise and cassia bark.
Add a crisp fresh salad of cucumber, shallot, coriander leaves, dried chili and the result is a perfect balance of flavours without being too heavy.
There's also a decidedly Asian influence in the crispy roast butternut pumpkin with shaved bonito flake salad, sesame seeds, garlic mayo and 'bulldog sauce' (a type of Japanese BBQ sauce).
"Neil Perry always comes back so enthusiastic from his visits to Japan!" Woolley laughs, but it's true – the award-winning Aussie chef is a fan of all Asian foods and enjoys sharing that with guests at his restaurants.
This trait also shows itself in the hearty Udon noodle broth with roast pork, soft eggs, sesame and pickles.
A bowl of silky udon wheat noodles in chicken broth is served with Japanese-style roasted pork belly, a soft-boiled egg, toasted sesame, garlic and Nori, then topped with Japanese pickles.
Perry is of course a champion of local produce, and Mirrool Creek lamb from the NSW Riverina district is the centrepiece of the lamb with orzo, almonds, sour cherries, parsley and yoghurt.
After being marinated in thyme, cumin, chili and yogurt, the tender lamb is slow-cooked and served on short-cut orzo pasta mixed with sour cherries, almonds and parsley, then topped with yogurt and a wedge of lemon.
This writer is a fan of duck, so the duck leg confit with cabbage, bacon and chestnuts hit the spot.
This is a classic French winter dish. The duck leg is slow-cooked for four hours in duck fat while the cabbage is slowly braised with a dab of butter, salt and pepper and a touch of lemon.
The cabbage is then tossed with fresh chestnuts that have been sautéed with bacon lardons (batons of smoky bacon)
If fish is more your style, the Chinese-style steamed blue eye with fermented black beans, salted red chili and Asian greens – served with a bowl of fluffy steamed Jasmine rice – will prove difficult to pass up.
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 rye honey cake with caramel apples, chestnut cream and buttermilk sorbet. Yes, this does contain a few calories...
Rhubarb is another classic winter fruit. Here's what Rockpool Group's Woolley calls "a dessert in a bowl: poached rhubarb with cream cheese and chocolate brownie.
The Qantas First Lounge chefs break a brownie into bite-size pieces – top them with a creamy cheesecake-style filing made with mascarpone cream cheese, creme fraiche and sugar – then add softened rhubarb which has been poached in a vanilla and sugar syrup.
Last but never ever least: the lounge's famous 'deconstructed' pavlova in a glass.
The winter pav is partnered with raspberry and fresh pomegranate seeds plus layers of yoghurt gelato, meringue and mascarpone.
If you're visiting the Qantas First Lounge at Sydney or Melbourne through to the end of August 2015, 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 2015 Menu, breakfast [80KB PDF]
Download: Qantas First Lounge - Winter 2015 Menu, all day dining [80KB PDF]
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