Virgin Australia's new business class menu takes flight March 7

By David Flynn , February 9 2018
Virgin Australia's new business class menu takes flight March 7

Virgin Australia is upping the ante with its latest business class menu, which launches on domestic and international routes from March 7, 2018.

The airline's resident chef, Luke Mangan, says the new menu delivers a mix of lighter meals and more substantial plates, in keeping with the changing tastes of business travellers.

"Many of our guests prefer lighter options, such as salads with bold, zesty flavours, whilst others are looking for something more substantial," Mangan relates. "We keep this in mind when designing menus, aiming to ensure we have a range of options available."

Common to each of the dishes is Mangan's subtle contemporary touch and what he terms a "produce-driven style... using premium ingredients which reflect Australia’s rich culinary landscape."

Making their appearance on the new menu is a beef wonton soup with Sichuan pepper and bok choy; and, for breakfast, a falafel with 
roasted mushrooms, bacon and labne, or a ham rosti topped with Tuscan cabbage and tomato relish.

Several dishes – such as an Asian-influenced poached chicken – come straight from Mangan's own Salt and Salta Tapas  restaurants, which can now be found in Singapore and Tokyo.

Australian Business Traveller joined Mangan for an exclusive preview of the menu, where we sampled the following dishes:

Beef wonton soup with bok choy, an entree from Melbourne to Hong Kong...

Poached chicken with egg noodles, coriander and Sichuan dressing: watch for this on domestic transcontinental flights and Los Angeles-Australia flights from March, and from Hong Kong to Melbourne from June.

Steamed barramundi with sweet potato curry, basmati rice and herbs: also appearing on transcontinental flights and Los Angeles-Australia flights from March.

A fall-apart tender lamb moussaka with eggplant, broad beans, peas and oregano: featuring on domestic flights from March and flights to Hong Kong and Los Angeles from June.

Beetroot, caramelised pear and goat's cheese salad with walnuts: on domestic and transcontinental flights from March, and Melbourne-Hong Kong from June.

Snacks include produce from local suppliers such 
Gundowring ice cream from a fourth-generation dairy farm in Victoria's Kiewa Valley, and hand-stuffed olives (both will be on Los Angeles and Hong Kong flights). 

Passengers on Virgin's Los Angeles flights will also find an inflight bar menu with dishes such as garlic toast with prosciutto, fennel and herb salad; and baba ghanoush with marinated feta, pine nuts and toasted flatbread,

There are also two new wines –  a Hardys Shiraz and Grant Burge Chardonnay –  crafted specifically for enjoying at altitude, given how atmospheric pressure and drier air affects our tastebuds.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 348

Has he ever heard of keeping it simple? Sorry but I don’t find any of that appealing.

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

[Deleted by admin: personal attack/remark.]

Mr Miyagi:

Please be reminded of AusBT's published comment policy. As per that policy, personal attacks or remarks made about other users are unacceptable and will be deleted, as we've done above. The comments area is provided for readers to discuss the topic of the article, not for discussing other users.

G'day Russell...I sure like to keep it simple too...but also, having a wife who's a doctor and dietitian kinda helps a bit....her advice to me a long time ago has helped hugely.....STEER AWAY FROM GREEN LEAFY SALAD food when you're up in the air. Greens, if blanched or raw, require the gut to work hard at digestion almost immediately, a by-product being gut gases. If you're at effectively 3000mtrs altitude, you will burp and pass gases and feel bloated very much more than you will on the ground. Sometimes you can feel quite uncomfortable. Try to stick to well cooked foods of a simple nature....don't worry that they may be a little bland...you can't taste properly up there anyway (the airline kitchens add salt to help you!)

13 May 2017

Total posts 2

I'm a salad lover. It's my first preference on any menu. I've never had an issue with bloating or gas. Some of the nicest and most interesting salads I've had were in Business class. I appreciate a lighter meal whilst travelling.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 95

Not a way to make friends.

With respect to 'famous' airline chefs who put their names to airline cuisine, I would caution strongly against light and zesty salad type fare. When you're up above the clouds, your digestive system doesn't react well to blanched or raw green leafy or salad type dishes, or for that matter spicy foods too. The reason is that at lower pressures, foods to which the gut reacts strongly can give rise to uncomfortable bloating and excessive gassing. The digestive system is more respectfully satisfied with old fashioned meat and cooked veg actually...however un-enticing that may sound!...so if you want not to have to be joining the queue soon after eating, choose the meat and potato and COOKED greens option!...good luck!

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 705

The barramundi for me!!!!! I love Indian style fish curries.

27 Aug 2015

Total posts 28

@russell

Pretty sure that for international flights, similar to most other airlines, VA passengers can book a meal to suit bland tastes.

Can't wait to try it myself!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 252

They all look like the sort of food I like, cooked by someone else! I notice they are all basically wet dishes, is that the normal serving on long flights, I suppose you wouldn’t want something that could dry out too easily.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 514

Dare I say it? Whilst visually appealing, even for a 4-5 course meal, the portion size pics above look somewhat meagre to me. The Wonton soup in particular looks as though you'd be scraping the spoon to get a meaningful mouthful.

I do acknowledge that pics can be deceiving - especially with no comparison items included in the pics .. but they do look on the 'small' size ...

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 705

I assume these photos were taken by David during the launch he went to where he basically trialled the entire menu (2 entrees, 3 mains etc). This may explain the reduced serving size as I don't think anyone want to eat 9 full servings in a single sitting.

13 May 2017

Total posts 2

If you ask they will bring you more if there are meals left over.

MarkJohnSon Banned
MarkJohnSon Banned

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 89

While it’s all well and good to sample these delights on the ground, the real proof of the pudding will be in the airborne eating. Any savvy flyer worth their Salt and Salta knows how differently taste can be perceived 38,000ft up.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 514

Thanks, reeves35. Good point. I hope you are correct. The first two pics seem to be normal sized 10" dinner plates, where the white crockery seems somewhat smaller.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 705

I think the first 2 shots may be stock shots provided by VA Marketing whilst the other shots are those taken by David on his iPhone...maybe he can confirm.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2395

All pics were shot by VA's photographer on the evening of the menu tasting – the beef wonton soup and poached chicken were presented as Entrées, which may account for size. I think it's more the way the shots were taken or the size of the dishes used. I wouldn't want the lamb to be any larger as it was quite filling, and even a second slab of the barramundi could be overdoing it if you choose fish as a lighter healthier option. For me, the barra and the beetroot salad would make a perfect combo (and very Australian!).

18 Jan 2017

Total posts 28

Bring back the pork belly and I'll be happiest.
Whilst I may fly business class I still enjoy traditional (simple) meals.

27 Aug 2015

Total posts 28

I can see where those food critiques, who've yet to take the first mouthful of the new menu, are coming from...


We want more mystery-meat and mash....NOT!!!

Want a buffet? Consider cruises.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Feb 2016

Total posts 47

I suspect it will not look the same when presented in the air

09 Feb 2018

Total posts 5

I am confident the vegetarian options will still be poor. Smaller serving sizes, if indeed there are any on board at all.

12 Dec 2016

Total posts 2

The falafel with 
roasted mushrooms and labne was sounding quite promising... until they added bacon.

07 Dec 2016

Total posts 34

Delighted there are delicious veggie options such as the pear, beetroot and feta salad and the fennel with herbs with bar menu, which coupled with the Grant Burge Chardonnay will be heaven!

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

08 Aug 2014

Total posts 41

I'm sure it tastes lovely - I've enjoyed Luke Mangan's cuisine in restaurants and on cruise ships in the past :) - but am I a voice in the wilderness, hoping that this vogue for soupy, sloppy-wet sauced, half-pie Asian-looking food will go away? And don't get me started about the grim, homespun-looking crockery it gets served on - it's as if the bomb has finally gone off and everyone has been bumped back to making their own hippie-style earthenware - badly. Call me old-fashioned but I yearn for "proper" food in the air and elsewhere that is served on nice white china, and recognisable stuff that looks as if it wasn't smooshed, streaked and crumbled by space aliens, and sprinkled with petals.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

03 Oct 2016

Total posts 17

I feel like these options are too fancy. I'd prefer at least 1 simple option. The Barramundi looks good though.

Zac
Zac

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2014

Total posts 128

Dishes looks great and really interesting - look forward to trying them. Glad it's not all soup and salad. Like the idea of the bar menu too.


I've got to say - of all the celebrity chefs who lend their names to airline food, Luke strikes me as actually doing the most work - ie putting in the most thought about what is doable within the constraints of airline catering, and actually producing dishes I'd be happy to eat on the ground. Virgin currently trumps Qantas for J class food imho.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Apr 2016

Total posts 24

I'm one of those people who just love airline food. (Perhaps that has more to do with the fact that someone else other than me is cooking and cleaning up for once).

But I'm actually excited to try any of these and I look forward to reading the reviews from fellow travelers.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Apr 2016

Total posts 24

PS, totally agree about the crockery. I remember reading about those divine plates in Etihad's "The Residence"....

What a shame VA couldn't collaborate with Australia's iconic opal industry and come up with something truly stunning.

04 Jun 2017

Total posts 11

About time, late last year I flew business and complained about an omelette offered for breakfast which was like a piece of rubber . I was given 8000 points.
I'm sure guests will enjoy the updated selections.

15 Nov 2016

Total posts 18

Could someone please suggest to Luke that we don't all love Coriander and almost every hot meal being offered by Virgin these days is covered in Coriander. Just got back from Melbourne this afternoon, opted for the Oriental Pork and Noodles, it arrived with so much fresh Coriander on top I could not see the noodles. Ended up with Egg Sandwiches from Y class. They were delicious.

Velocity Platinum

08 Jul 2011

Total posts 11

A great improvement in my opinion. Lighter, healthier and more tasty meals should be the aim and I think Virgin has thought this out well. There's some imagination too. Looking forward to the new taste sensation!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2013

Total posts 30

What about a decent red meat option???


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