‘Well at least there’ll be no delays with the way they serve the nuts’ I thought to myself referring to nutgate. I was travelling back from Perth after experiencing the new Qantas Business Suite and was a little disappointed that my return flight had the older recliner style seat in Business Class. Thats ok, the flight was leaving in the afternoon and not a red-eye so I wasn’t planning on getting any sleep.
The Airbus A330-200 “Tamar Valley” registered VH-EBM has been in the Qantas fleet since November 2009. This aircraft is leased, probably why its hasn’t been upgraded to the new Business Suite. The 36 recliner style seats could actually hold more passengers if the middle seat was used but it is permanently blocked off giving those in the middle section a little more space, perfect for the business or solo traveller. The seats have a comfortable width of 21.5 inches or 54.61 centimetres and a pitch of 37 inches or 93.98 centimetres although being in the first row did make it feel less with the bulkhead wall.
So those nuts and ‘Nutgate’. You’ve probably heard the story of the Korean Air Vice President Cho Hyun-ah who went (shall I say it?) ‘nuts’ over being served macadamias in their packet and not on a plate in the First Class cabin of a flight leaving New York’s JFK airport. She ordered the flight attendant off the plane and delayed the flight for 20 minutes. In the end she lost her job and received a 12 month prison sentence, not to mention the ‘loss of face’, her honour, prestige and reputation worldwide. When I was served these almonds right after take off, I was pretty impressed, sure it wasn’t on a plate but the little disposable dish made the pointy end service a notch above those down the back.
With the almonds came a drinks service. I opted for some mineral water with a slice of lemon (seriously, its not vodka!) and a lovely glass of Mesh 2014 Eden Valley Riesling. The wine was quite a nice fresh zesty drop and had me nice and relaxed to while I perused the dinner menu with 2 entree choices and an impressive 5 choices for main.
The entree choices were Roast Tomato and Basil Soup or Asparagus, Soft Boiled Egg and Parmesan Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, as you can see I chose the latter with a a grind of pepper from a pepper mill. It was a perfect starter, the egg and asparagus was cooked just right and all the flavours balanced perfectly, I could have gone another serve of this dish, but I had the main to still come. It was a tough decision from the list of main as to what to choose. The choices were – Big bowl of roast tomato and basil soup, Roast chicken, couscous, chickpea and chargrilled eggplant salad with aioli, Lamb kofta with cucumber, tomato and coriander salad, Steamed white fish of the day with heavenly vegetables and fragrant rice or Seasonal cheeses Taleggio, Valtaleggio from Italy Wykes Chedder from England with accompaniments. I went for the fish dish.
Plated in the galley, it was nicely presented with the curled spring onion garnish adding a lovely touch. The fish, and I would have loved to have known what it was, was firm and moist although slightly flavourless. The heavenly vegetables were nice but nothing special. While the snow peas were still crisp with a nice flavour from the ‘heavenly’ broth, the mushrooms were soggy tasting, obviously reconstituted from dried and then theres the baby corn – never been a fan of that 80’s veg. The rice was moist and worked well with the dish overall.
Not being much of a desert eater, I enquired whether there was any of the cheeses left and was promptly served a plate. The 3 hard cheeses came with accompaniments of dates and a lavosh style bread. The Italian cheeses, while reminiscent of an aged parmesan, were the real winners here, bitey and tangy and the perfect match for…..
….another glass of the Mesh 2014 Riesling. But guess what I was handed to go with the wine…..
It didn’t bother me, I love cashews anyway they’re served! The flight landed slightly ahead of time and I disembarked into a dark Sydney night and headed home after my Perth adventure. Although there was no bed nor oversized AVOD screen as on my flight to Perth, I thoroughly enjoyed the service and food onboard this flight and although a dish was nice, didn’t care how the nuts were served. I wonder if Cho Hyun-ah now feels the same way when she flies? The flight was paid for independently by FreakyFlier.