Sample the Winter tasting menu at the Qantas First Class Lounge - Sydney and Melbourne

By James Fordham, June 10 2016
Sample the Winter tasting menu at the Qantas First Class Lounge - Sydney and Melbourne

One of the few reasons we look forward to winter is the seasonal change in menus at the Qantas First Class lounges in Sydney and Melbourne.

Inspired by Niel Perry and designed by his team at Rockpool Consulting, the lounges offer some of the best food available in airport lounges today.

We recently tried the new Winter Tasting menu, a collection of dishes that highlight the best produce of the season, cooked fresh to order.

“Honey, bee home soon” cocktail

Qantas has partnered with supplier Hanks Jams to create their own bee hives located at their Mascot headquarters.

Although they don’t produce enough to supply the entire airline, Hanks mixes the Qantas honey with their own and supply it for inflight use.

The honey was harvested in late May from our hives amongst paperbark trees and has aromas of dried spices and paperbark flowers.

The rest of it is used in the lounges and our first drink is a delicious cocktail made with Qantas honey, Chivas Regal, Angosutra bitters, lemon juice and orange peel.

Duck toast with beetroot jam

Our meal starts off with a canape of fresh confit duck, beetroot jam and a sprig of parsley. This canape is also served on Qantas First Class flights.

Grilled eggplant with goat’s curd, buckwheat and sesame vinaigrette

An earthy and well balanced dish that is perfect for winter. A lot of different textures make up this dish – from the soft eggplant, to the creamy goat’s curd, and crispy flash fried mushrooms on top.

Sticky pork salad with shallots, beansprouts and pomelo

Roger Barstow from Rockpool Consulting tells us that the pork in this dish is cooked in a master stock for 4 hours before it is flash fried. This is a fresh and light dish bursting with Asian flavours. The pork is tossed with a palm sugar and ginger caramel, hence the description of “sticky” pork.

Ocean trout confit with pickled cucumbers and capers

Another seasonal dish that is very light. Perfectly cooked ocean trout pairs nicely with the acidity of the pickled cucumbers.

Crab and vegetable okonomiyaki

This okonomiyaki has lighter flavours than usual, allowing the flavours of the crab meat to shine through.

Prawn oil pasta with crab meat and roasted cherry tomatoes

If you’re in the mood for Italian-style comfort food, this is your go-to dish for winter!

Fish tagine

A richly spiced Moroccan flavoured dish which is based on slowly braised vegetables, chermoula spice paste and fish which absorbs these aromas and flavours to give a sweet, sour and hot stew.

Slow cooked duck with grilled radicchio, balsamic and soft polenta

The duck is salted and cooked slowly in duck fat then crisped to order. It’s served with a creamy polenta and some grilled and marinated Treviso radicchio. The gremolata of orange zest and parsley scattered over the top provides a contrasting freshness and aroma.

Seared Moreton Bay bugs with roasted Jerusalem artichokes, grilled shallots, brown butter, thyme and lemon dressing

Our favourite dish on the menu. The perfectly cooked bugs paired well with the butter and lemon dressing.

But get them while they last – Barstow commented that they are very seasonal and will only be on the menu for 4-5 weeks.

Grilled spitchcock with rosemary roast potatoes and anchovy dressing

The lemon baste used on the spatchcock contrasts nicely with the anchovy dressing.

Braised venison with chestnuts, celeriac puree and broccoli

A typical winter stew with a twist. The venison and chestnuts soak up the rich braise.

Salt and pepper squid with green chilli dipping sauce and aioli

A classic of the First Class lounge, it's available all year round rather than on a seasonal basis – but we couldn’t resist ordering this dish, and neither will you!

Warm chocolate brioche pudding with vanilla pouring cream

A rich and warming wintry pudding, this is a next level bread and butter pudding made with brioche, chocolate custard and dark chocolate, served with vanilla scented pouring cream.

Signature pavlova with fig, raspberry and strawberry

Another classic First Class lounge dish, the pav has been updated for winter with figs and remains as satisfying as always.

Kaffir lime and vanilla baba with tangelo and soft coconut cream

The citrus tangelo fruit on top contrasts with the rich and moist cake underneath.

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James has been interested in aviation ever since his first flight. When he’s not travelling, he’s still on the road indulging his motoring hobby, or trying a new whisky.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Good enough to lick the screen!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

Looks fantastic! Can't wait to try this Wednesday!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Feb 2013

Total posts 45

No photo of the bocconcini, but it tasted fantastic last Wednesday with an accompanying French Martini.

I'm still missing the Bollinger though...

I gotta find my stretchy pant


18 Oct 2015

Total posts 3

Looks delicious!!! Wish they would change the breakfast menu. Always the same: though beautifully cooked, frankly quite boring after multiple trips to US or Asia which leave in the morning.

22 Jun 2013

Total posts 98

The steak (with butter) and chips is a conspicuous absence...

06 Jun 2014

Total posts 7

I am travelling Qantas Business Class on 24 August to Dubai but returning Qantas First Class from Dubai 3 weks later.  

Would I be entitled entry to the First Class lounge on my departure in Sydney on the 24th ?

Nope, but you can use the Emirates first class lounge in Dubai before your flight home.

06 Jun 2014

Total posts 7

Thank you Chris..I wil have to slum it in the Business lounge in Sydney.  !!!! ..not complaining though...its a great lounge.



01 Oct 2012

Total posts 2

I dint see champagne on the Winter breakfast this correct?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 May 2015

Total posts 19

Why is no-one else outraged that the buffalo mozzarella has been replaced by its bland and disappointing counsin, bocconcini?  This is very distressing; I hope it is a temporary switch.  

QFF Platinum

01 Jul 2015

Total posts 5

Was at the First class lounge on 16 June and had the chance to sample the winter menu.This would have been the 6th time I have been to the lounge since I qualified as a platinum FF last year and I must also say that this the first time that I was truly dissappointed with the food and beverages at the lounge. I ordered a pull pork burger as an entree - the pork was rather bland and wet, and as a result, the bottom half of the brioche bun was soggy. The braised lamb with noodles was my main and I had to return it to the kitchen as it was just too salty. I ordered the sticky pork salad as a replacement and that turned out to be a disaster as well - the pork was hard as a a rock and was tough to chew even if the overall flavour of the salad was good. The warm brioche pudding was my dessert and sadly that was tasteless, and the cream was too thin and does not add to the overall flavour. I had one spoonful and had to give it up. In fact, I didn't finish any of the meals. For drinks, I had the homemade lemonade but that didn't turn out well either - it was neither sweet or lemony sour - just.....bland. 

10 Aug 2016

Total posts 1

Only recently qualifed for FF patinum and was very much looking forward to my first experience in the first lounge 15/7.  What a disappointment !  I will say the starters were great.  Tried squid and eggplant.  However the Orecchiette, over cooked and inedible thus returned. A risotto, tasted just like over boiled rice again inedible and returned. Braised beef, tasted like beef boiled in broth, just no body or flavour.  Seriously if this is Neil Perry standard he should be embarrassed.  So reverted back to  simpler fare such as a cheeseburger and this was fine.

I hope they just had a bad day as I will havethe oppottunity to experience it again in late August so hopefully things have imporved greatly !

On a bright note, they were celebrating Boeing's 100th birthday and as such had a 100 yr old port on offer.  This was amasing...then again this did not come from the kitchen !

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