For nearly 20 years, Australia’s national airline, Qantas has worked with chef Neil Perry of Rockpool fame to design the menus for its first and business class passengers.
While Perry, a very frequent flyer in his own right, is known for elaborate dishes, he also recognises that people love comfort when travelling and he loves nothing better than a steak sandwich and glass of wine in the lounge before he hops on a long-haul flight.
Richard Bateman, the head of international food and beverage for Qantas, said some customers actually plan their flights around the some of the dishes and cocktails they enjoy most. And when Qantas changes the menu, they’re not shy when it comes to making their thoughts known.
“On a few occasions, we have revised some of those popular dishes on the menus as part of our seasonal refresh only to be met with howls of protests by our regular customers who lobbied for their return,” Bateman said.
“We love that our frequent flyers are so passionate about our food and cocktails so we’re happy to keep those favourite items on as regular stars of our menus.”
Business Insider asked Bateman for the top 5 dishes the airline’s passengers insist they keep on the menu. Here they are and where you’ll find them.
1. Steak sandwich with rocket and tomato relish , served in-flight in the international first cabin on all routes
2. Chicken Schnitzel and coleslaw sandwich, served in the international business cabin
3. Salt and Pepper squid with chilli dipping sauce and aioli, served in the first lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles.
4. Pavlova, served in the first lounges in Sydney and Melbourne. It changes seasonally (eg mango and passionfruit in summer, berries in winter), but the signature pav has to stay!
5. The mango Weis bar , served in international economy on all flights departing Australia. It’s loved just as much by passengers up the pointy end of the plane who ask for Weis bars to be nabbed from economy for them too.
Bateman says that in recent times the smoky margarita cocktail served in the Los Angeles first lounge has become something of a cult hit, while the “Arch Angel” cocktail – a mix of Australian gin with Aperol, Peychaud’s bitters and sparkling water, plus a twist of lemon – designed by the Rockpool team for the first lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Singapore and Hong Kong, is the latest hit among frequent flyers.
“One customer had it in three ports in one week!” Bateman said.
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