The latest seasonal menu for the Qantas first class lounge at Sydney and Melbourne boasts plenty of ‘winter warmers’ alongside perennial favourite dishes, although some of those have also been tweaked to take advantage of cool weather produce.
Join Australian Business Traveller for this sampling of the latest pre-flight delights at the Qantas first class lounges.
Breakfast is served through to 11am, and while most frequent flyers have their favourites – especially the corn fritters, eggs Benedict and omelettes – it never hurts to try something new or with a seasonal twist.
For example, the buttermilk pancakes are now served with caramel pears poached in rosemary caramel, with coffee mascarpone and topped with toasted pecan nuts and (in place of Autumn’s pancake accompaniments of cinnamon ricotta and maple syrup).
Also keep an eye out for the oat porridge with banana and Qantas honey which appears in the daily set of Market Inspirations dishes.
Yes, ‘Qantas honey’ is a thing – it comes from ten beehives (containing some 800,000 bees) on the rooftop of Qantas’ head office in nearby Mascot.
The honey is smooth and delicious, although the porridge was a little milky for my liking compared to a thicker, more traditional British porridge.
There’s also a revamped breakfast bowl of buckwheat, edamame, mushrooms, baby spinach and picked ginger, served with a poached egg and garnished with a combination of white and black sesame seeds, pepitas and sunflower seeds.
The all-day dining menu kicks in from 11am, although some of the all-day dishes can be served a bit earlier on request, if the lounge isn’t too busy (and of course if you ask nicely).
Interestingly, the breakfast bowl also makes an appearance on the all-day menu. We’re told this is a popular choice for travellers on the early morning flights to the USA and Santiago as well as later services to Dallas and Tokyo, as the dish is packed with Good Stuff which sits well on the stomach and doesn’t tax your digestive system in comparison to many heavier meals.
If you’d fancy something even lighter – perhaps so there’s room for a larger dish to follow – consider the smoked chicken salad with cucumber, chilli, ‘tea eggs’ and coriander.
This sees a shredded smoked chicken combined with cucumber, spring onion, fresh coriander and dried chilli, served with wedges of soft-boiled free-range eggs infused with a mix of dark soy, jasmine tea, star anise and cinnamon.
Also entree-sized is the grilled enoki mushrooms with celeriac, watercress and hazelnut brown butter.
If you’ve previously enjoyed the Gua Bao (which translates ad ‘cut bread’) with lamb from the Autumn menu, there’s a Winter variation with juicy roast pork belly, salted chilli paste, pickled cucumber to help tame the heat, fresh coriander, thinly sliced onion and a sesame dressing. You may end up asking for seconds!
Personally, I find it hard to go past duck – so I tucked into a main of the duck confit with buttered cabbage and crispy potatoes..
It’s a tender leg of duck infused with orange, bay, sage, thyme, parsley and pepper during the confit process. The crispy-skin golden roasted potatoes were an unexpected but very pleasing side.
Lamb is a regular feature of the Qantas first lounge’s seasonal menus, and for winter there’s a hearty lamb shoulder (slow-roasted with garlic, ginger, ground coriander and a hint of chilli) served with toasted pearl barley, roasted eggplant with miso dressing, shiso mint and sesame and garnished with Japanese Togarashi seasoning blend.
The last of the new Winter mains is an orecchiette vegetable pasta based on a slow-cooked soffrito of garlic and chilli, with grated zucchini, Tuscan kale, lemon and parmesan.
If you’ve chosen one of the smaller starters and one of the mains then you’ll probably have just enough room left for dessert, and that’s a good thing.
The lounge’s signature ‘deconstructed pavlova’ (aka, pav in a glass) is always hard to resist and it changes throughout the season to make the most of different market-fresh fruits.
But Winter sees two new sweet treats to tempt you.
These are slices of rosemary-poached pear with caramel sauce, a ginger-yoghurt sorbet and vanilla pastry cream served on a toasted brioche…
… and a dark chocolate mousse served with a scoop of frozen orange and lemon curd, almond biscuit crumbs, crisp chocolate wafers and fine slices of fresh persimmon.
If you’re keen to plan your dining in advance of your next visit to the Qantas First Lounge, or just want to take a peek at what’s served the other side of those frosted glass doors, click here to download the Qantas First Lounge Winter 2018 All-Day Dining menu.