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The latest refresh of the menu at the Sydney and Melbourne Qantas international first class lounges serves up a taste of Aussie summer, along with some playful US classics to mark the debut of partner American Airlines' flights between Sydney and Los Angeles.
You can also expect some new cocktails for a pre-flight tipple.
Here's a sample to whet your appetite – and as always, at the end of this article you'll find PDF copies of the breakfast and all-day dining menus for you to download.
Shaw River buffalo milk yoghurt with mango and toasted coconut
This wholesome breakfast fave gets a tropical tang with pieces of sweet Queensland mango and crisp toasted coconut shavings which sit well against the yoghurt's clean taste.
Buttermilk pancakes with blueberries and honey lemon yoghurt
Summer sees the perennial pancake stack dressed with fresh blueberries and yoghurt scented with lemon zest and honey.
It's the same mix as debuted on the summer 2014 menu and is back by popular demand says Rockpool chef Alex Woolley, who creates the lounge menu.
"The tanginess of lemon always tastes good against the fluffy pancakes, and blueberries make this a classic combo."
Buffalo mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinegar
What more can we say, but that with tomatoes back in season they've made a triumphant return to the ever-popular buffalo mozzarella starter. This is a must-have for any visit to the Qantas First Lounge.
Avocado and quinoa salad with summer corn salsa
This light summer salad is built around ripe avocado, quinoa, pepitas, snow pea leaves and a salsa of fresh steamed corn, shallots, chives, olive oil and chardonnay vinegar.
And yes, quinoa is the poster child for healthy eating right now – but that doesn't stop it from being delicious, says chef Woolley. "It's got a similar texture to cous cous but works really well in a cold salad."
Five spice duck salad with green mango, beansprouts and rau ram
A crisp salad which isn't too spicy and hits that typically Vietnamese hot-and-sour note.
Rau ram is a peppery herb sometimes referred to as Vietnamese mint or laksa leaf.
The deboned duck leg is rubbed with five spice powder (cloves, cinnamon, fennel, star anise and Sichuan pepper) and salt, then marinated overnight, before being crisp-fried and thinly sliced.
Spaghettini with asparagus, cauliflower pangrattato, basil and poached egg
The trick with this summer pasta is, of course, to break the egg up and enjoy a little of the white or yolk with each spoonful.
The tiny nuggets of fried cauliflower deliver "a strong, almost cheese-like flavour" explains chef Woolley.
Stir fried chicken breast with yellow bean sauce and fresh rice noodles
A Thai-style dish which found its way onto the lounge menu after Woolley sampled it at a hawker food market in Singapore.
Chicken breast is stir-fried with garlic, ginger and yellow bean soy paste, which has a strong fermented taste, then tossed with fresh rice noodles and Chinese broccoli.
Tamarind glazed lamb with chickpeas, tomato and ginger
Not what you might expect on a summer menu, but any season suits this tender fall-apart lamb shoulder from NSW's Riverina region.
It's marinated in yoghurt and spices, slow-cooked, then crisped on the grill and basted with tamarind and apple juice.
Grass fed beef minute steak with tarragon-shallot butter and chips
It's the butter which changes from season to season, and for summer it has the flavours of béarnaise sauce – a classic steak accompaniment – but without the heavy richness, as the base reduction is blended into the butter.
Snapper with zucchini, heirloom tomatoes and white beans
A light moist fish served with a warm summery salad – perfect for anybody wanting to tick the 'I ate a healthy meal today' box before tucking into dessert (see below).
Grilled nectarines, gingerbread, vanilla sauce and lychee granita
Lightly jellied nectarines are partnered with vanilla crème anglaise, soft gingerbread cake, icy lychee granita and fresh nectarines to create what's almost a trifle.
Peaches may be swapped in around mid-season, depending on what is the freshest product available.
Hazelnut and chocolate meringue with cocoa-lime sorbet
A hazelnut cocoa meringue is sandwiched together with a rich chocolate ganache, infused with a little lime zest.
Don't let the photo deceive you: this is a sizeable sweet treat, so leave plenty of room.
Pavlova in a glass with mango and passionfruit
It's the famous deconstructed pav. It's got fresh mango and passionfruit. 'Nuff said.
The stateside triple
The daily Market Inspiration section of the Qantas First Lounge's summer menu now sports three US-inspired dishes in a nod to American Airlines' new Sydney-LAX flights, as well as Qantas' return to San Francisco.
Spiced chicken wings with ranch dressing make a good shared starter – the wings are marinated in a dill pickle brine, cooked to soften the meat and then quickly fried to order, making them much lighter than you'd expect 'fried chicken' could ever be.
The American cheeseburger with fries replaces the regular first lounge hamburger for summer, with both the brioche bun and meat patty made in the lounge's kitchen (the patty is based on that of Neil Perry's Burger Project restaurants but isn't exactly the same, being tweaked to suit the cuts of meat available to the Qantas lounge.
To finish, there's a simple sundae with chocolate sauce and Oreo-style crumbs. Scoops of chocolate and vanilla ice cream are topped with black cookie crumbs and warm chocolate sauce.
You can download the Qantas First Lounge's summer 2015-2016 breakfast and all-day dining menus using the links below:
- Qantas First Lounge Summer 2015-2016 - Breakfast menu [130Kb PDF]
- Qantas First Lounge Summer 2015-2016 - All day dining menu [170Kb PDF]
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