Singapore Airlines will introduce 'Book the Cook' for its business class and premium economy passengers flying from Brisbane next month: but not before Australian Business Traveller stopped by the airline's Brisbane Airport catering centre to put the new business class menu through its paces.
All in all, Book the Cook will offer a choice between 12 additional dishes on Brisbane-Singapore flights, giving much more variety than what's typically available via the regular inflight menu.
Normally, you'd pre-select one dish as your main course (served in between the usual inflight starter and dessert), but with so much to choose from, we settled on sampling five mains: beginning with the seared salmon steak.
Served with a warm potato and bean salad with a helping of pesto, it's a fresh and healthy option for high flyers watching their waistlines, but a tasty one at that: with the salmon itself particularly succulent.
Yes, in the photo above, the helping does look rather small – so we should point out that our sample meals were prepared at 'tasting size' rather than as full 'main courses', so you can expect larger portions inflight. Here's that same dish at its usual size and presentation, for example:
Next up: a seared lamb cutlet with rosemary jus, ratatouille, and Lyonnaise potatoes:
This proved to be our favourite dish of the day, with the lamb being nice and tender, and a lovely pink inside. Choose this option as your Book the Cook meal, and of course, you'll get three cutlets as a main course, rather than just one:
Next on our list, a chargrilled beef fillet in green peppercorn sauce, with seasoned vegetables – in this case, beans and charred red capsicum – and gratin potatoes:
The sauce has a particularly strong yet flavourful kick, which is designed to balance out once in the air (as taste differs at altitude), while the beef itself was lovely, but closer to being 'medium well' than the airline's ideal range of 'medium rare to medium'.
For our lunch, the catering centre was replicating the processes that would be followed to cook this dish in the air – such as preparing the food the day prior and then heating just before consumption – with today's service a working trial to iron out kinks like this one, ahead of the October launch for Brisbane passengers.
Our meal continued with the Cantonese roasted duck atop Asian greens and steamed jasmine rice:
The protein was naturally the star of the dish, but the sauce complemented it beautifully, and we scooped up every drop!
Our Book the Cook 'sampling' concluded with a Thai green chicken curry with Asian vegetables and steamed rice...
... which was particularly fragrant and had a nice bite to it: again, prepared slightly differently than you'd usually expect at a restaurant, as these dishes are, of course, designed to be eaten in the air where taste can differ to on the ground.
As Book the Cook only considers your main course, there's still dessert to follow, with the standard Singapore Airlines business class ice cream a great way to end a meal, served with berry compote, sweet crumb, and a milk and white chocolate twist on top for a solid mix of flavours and textures.
Now, that's just your Brisbane-Singapore flight, so if you're travelling onwards such as to London, Europe or even within Asia, you'll most likely be able to use Book the Cook to pre-select your preferred meals for the rest of the journey too.
Some of our favourites in business class include Lobster Thermidor, such as you'd find on Singapore-London flights...
... Nasi Lemak, in place of a more typical Western breakfast...
... or when heading straight to sleep after take-off, nothing beats waking up to a delicious plate of waffles, as we enjoyed on a recent overnight flight from Singapore to Paris:
Brisbane travellers can begin placing their Book the Cook orders from September 25 for travel from October 1 – easily done via the 'manage my booking' section of the Singapore Airlines website:
Orders can be placed up until 24 hours before your flight's scheduled departure time, so get in early to make sure the chef receives your special request!