Behind the Scenes: Qantas First Class Lounge Winter 2023 Menu (2023)

Exclusive Executive Traveler

For visitors to Qantas' flagship world-class international lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, one of the highlights is the seasonal menu in the lounge's à la carte dining room.

Each season, a dozen new dishes appear on the menu, but what does it take to shape these pre-flight delights?

To bring togetherexecutive travelerin the Sydney First Lounge kitchen for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Qantas First Lounge Winter 2023 menu, launching the first week of June.

Dine with the seasons

Every morning, a flood of travelers depart on Qantas flights to Auckland, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, along with partner flights from Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and American Airlines.

For these passengers, breakfast in the Qantas First Lounge remains comfortingly familiar: meals of eggs, toast, corn fritters, pancakes and a 'big breakfast' combo.

The Qantas First Lounge breakfast menu, served from 5am to 5pm. m. at 11 am, "It's all about the classics," explains chef Alex Woolley, a 10-year veteran of the Neil Perry Consulting team.

"It's all very familiar, it's all the things people want because people are a little less adventurous at breakfast."

As a result, the breakfast menu is more about seasonal adjustments than wholesale replacements.

For example, winter sees theButtermilk ricotta pancakesgarnished with poached pears, hazelnuts and Qantas honey (yes, that's a thing: it comes from beehives on the roof of the nearby Qantas headquarters).

Qantas First Lounge Winter 2023 Menu: Buttermilk Ricotta Pancakes.

"We know pancakes are very popular, so we like to offer them with our seasonal garnish...but maple syrup is always available if people prefer it."

The hearty vegetarian breakfast bowl also gets a winter makeover in aBowl of Buckwheat, Mushrooms and Spinach with Sesame, served with poached egg and ponzu sauce, topped with a "mayonnaise" made from silken tofu.

Qantas First Lounge Winter 2023 Menu: Bowl of Buckwheat, Mushrooms and Sesame Spinach.

That was the biggest challenge for Woolley and the Qantas First Lounge chefs.

“It has many components that taste good and balance very well, but it turned out to be a lot of steps to get to the plate, we ate a little too much”.

And time is of the essence during this busy morning period, because the Qantas First Lounge is also like a busy restaurant, with kitchens in Sydney and Melbourne serving up to 1,200 people a day and often multiple courses per person.

Behind the scenes: Chef Alex Woolley (left) works on the winter menu with chefs from Sydney and Melbourne.

To feed hungry frequent travelers, a house rule is that no menu item takes more than eight minutes to prepare.

The kitchen team carefully crafted solutions to "get the process right, simplify the food but keep it tasty, keep things crunchy and tender, and make sure hot things stay hot."

“We tried and designed everything to be a simple process to assemble and cook while still delivering something really fresh, flavorful and flavorful,” recalls Woolley.

Culinary delights throughout the day

The Qantas First Lounge 'all day' menu starts at 11am. m. and continues until the lounge closes, where most of the new dishes debut.

But regular visitors to the Qantas First Lounge will recognize some old favorites making a comeback after the pandemic.

This includes thepoached musselson brioche topped with celeriac and Café de Paris butter…

Qantas First Lounge Winter 2023 Menu: Poached Mussels.

… it is astir fry duckseasoned with chill sauce, black vinegar, ginger and garlic, served over jasmine rice with toasted cashew nuts and fresh coriander.

Menu Qantas First Lounge Winter 2023: pato salteado.

"It's a really tasty duck dish... we've had several iterations of it, but we haven't had this one in a long time," reflects Woolley.

Here's a dish we've found to be a hit on the winter menu: this comforting bowl ofudon noodles with slow-roasted pork, a boiled egg, toasted sesame seeds, garlic and a toasted edible dried nori seaweed sheet.

Qantas First Lounge Winter 2023 Menu: Udon noodles with slow-roasted pork.

There is also a vegetarian dish that we recommend.anycarnivore to try:baked sweet potatowith wilted spinach and a sauce of candied lemons, capers and currants.

Qantas First Lounge Winter 2023 Menu: Baked Sweet Potatoes.

Woolley lists this as her pick on the lounge's winter menu, thanks in part to the sauce: "a nice Italian-style sauce that's sweet, salty and sour, with olives, pine nuts and a little pepper."

"We're hoping to get baby sweet potatoes that we can cook whole, because that way you'll have that crispy skin, too," she adds.

"We're also looking at a smooth cashew-based vegan cheese that we hope to include - replicating that tangy goat feta style that can go really well with sweet potatoes and keep this plant-based vegan dish."

For many travelers who choose to eat lighter before their flight, Qantas recommends thegrilled snapperperched on a slice of grilled romaine lettuce with finely sliced ​​fennel, garnished with lemon vinaigrette and sourdough breadcrumbs.

Qantas First Lounge Winter 2023 Menu: Grilled snapper.

The menu-making session ends, like any good meal, with dessert.

The salon's ever-popular "deconstructed pavlova in a glass" showcases a variety of fruits throughout the winter, depending on "what's best during the season," says Woolley.

"The raspberries are still good... we're at the end of the plums now, so they're in pavlova right now, but that's going to change in the near future."

As always, the 'deconstructed pavlova in the glass' will take advantage of seasonal fruit.

“Winter Queensland bananas can be really good, and in the middle of winter, Queensland strawberries come along and they are amazing. So it's really what the chefs hear from their suppliers, and when something new starts, we put them on.”

But there's always at least one new tempter to hit the dessert menu.

For the winter it's atoasted brioche layered with poached pears and rosemary, drizzled with caramel sauce and served with rosemary vanilla cream, ginger yogurt ice cream and julienned toasted walnuts.

Qantas First Lounge Winter 2023 Menu: Toasted Brioche with Rosemary Poached Pear.

Winter inspired cocktails

Complementing the Qantas First Lounge Winter 2023 menu will be a selection of new Australian wines and bespoke cocktails.

Lexie Bucholtz of Neil Perry's team reveals that there will be several cocktails inspired by the Qantas flights to New York taking off from June 14th, including the Manhattan Spritz, which includes American whiskey, vermouth, bitters and rich Amarena cherries, and the Southside Light Fizz with Mint, Soda and Brookie's Gin from Australia's Cape Byron Distillery.

“We also want cocktails that are something special, not your standard cocktails,” explains Bucholtz, “and something that is refreshing, very easy to drink and with less alcohol”, stating that Qantas' preference is for “a lighter aperitif”. .

"If someone orders something that's not on the cocktail menu but in that lighter aperitif style, we can serve it... but when it comes to things like martinis and double shots, that's not our style."

And like the food, the latest cocktails served at the Qantas First Lounge have "a wintry feel," explains resident mixologist Charles Phillips.

Charles Phillips has developed several winter cocktails for the latest Qantas First Lounge menu.

“Winter cocktails often have this fundamental foundation… for a winter menu, I would use items that have spice, earth and warmth,” he says.executive traveler, citing flavors such as “beetroot, green apple, pepper, winter strawberries and Amarena-marinated cherries.”

He names the Red Eye as a prime example for its blend of Allie's beet juice "containing beetroot, green apple, lime and ginger, blended with vodka and tonic to create a tangy and complex winter cocktail".

The new See Yuzu mocktail combines a yuzu lime soda with orange bitters and a sprig of rosemary.

Winter 2023 menu arrives at Qantas Sydney First Lounge on Tuesday 6th June and Qantas Melbourne First Lounge on Thursday 8th June, followed by similar seasonal menu updates at Qantas First Class Lounges on Los Angeles and Singapore.

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