- Contemporary cafe-style dishes
- For now, sides seem to be missing in action
- These dishes make Virgin Australia business class a solid value proposition
Virgin Australia's new business class menu promises simple, contemporary dishes with casual cafe flair rather than fine dining fuss.
We've already highlighted a selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes, and they look great in the airline-approved and studio-shot publicity photos – but how do they rate in real life?
Here are our observations, and those of other Executive Traveller readers, on first impressions during the first week of Virgin's new domestic business class meals.
Virgin cannily chose to lead off its new business class breakfast menu (available until 10am) with a pair of crowd-pleasing classics: a ham and scrambled egg brioche, and smashed avocado with crumbed feta on sourdough toast.
Both appear to have been a hit: they plated up well in the air, and readers were unanimous in praising the delicious starters to the day.
However, while Virgin's press release promised both dishes would be "served alongside Greek yoghurt with mango coulis and seasonal fresh fruit," neither of those additions made an appearance.
"If this were a transcontinental flight I may have been a bit hungry after five hours," one reader noted, indicating that coast-to-coast flights might need a two-part meal service, such as a main meal and a lighter refreshment closer to landing.
Virgin's business class lunch menu (for flights departing between 10am and 4pm) includes a turkey, brie and fig jam sourdough melt.
We also sampled this at Virgin's media launch of the new menu held at the airline's Brisbane hangar, although the dish was served fully-plated from Boeing 737 meal carts by Virgin crew.
Several readers have sampled the melt on recent Virgin Australia flights, with mixed results.
Like like a good toasted sandwich, a good melt is comfort food which warms the soul as well as the stomach – but some of the photos we've been sent show a presentation less appetising than those above, with the melt also slightly overdone in the galley oven.
Two dishes on the lunch menu – lamb and rosemary pie with pumpkin and feta smash, and haloumi and quinoa salad – are carried over to the dinner menu (6pm onwards).
We chose the pie when flying on the day of Virgin's business class menu launch, and while some have suggested a pie is not very 'premium' or 'business class', as far as pies go, this one hit the spot: light pastry, enough meat in the filling, and a tomato relish that helped rather than hindered.
(In the photo below you can also see a pour of the St Hallett Black Clay Shiraz.)
The haloumi and quinoa salad is proving a popular lighter alternative, although one reader noted his serve tasted "dried out" and suggested a sauce or relish could help.
And again, there was no sign of the antipasto plate or chocolate delight cake which the press release promised would accompany both these dishes, despite their being served to media at the official launch – indicating there are still a few kinks to be worked out with Virgin's catering supplier Gate Gourmet.
Overall, as one reader noted, it's hard to fault these as business class fare on the Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane 'triangle'.
"Serving size and freshness was definite plus, and there was no feeling of stodginess – well presented, and delivered with great service."
Also: Get ready to fly business class by pocketing up to 120,000 bonus Velocity Points from a single credit card application.