OK so I probably don’t deserve to be here.
I’m flying Economy but dining in First Class. Thanks to my frequent flying DH, I get to enjoy the special lounge for First Class/Platinum members before reality hits and I sink into my Economy seat later. Oh what a difference from the highest-level available class lounge for Domestic travel, which is Business (which I’ve also experienced thanks to my FF DH).
The photo above is the “Signature Pavlova with Peach and Raspberry” I had for dessert in the Melbourne lounge. Apparently one of the items which will cause a riot if removed from the menu.
It’s a far cry from the Domestic Business Lounge, which served very average buffet-style food and help-yourself fruit bowls displayed on large centre tables.
And Domestic was almost always crowded. I remember seeing people sitting on the carpet in their suits working on their computers because there were simply no seats available. It was a sight that was at once, both amusing and unsettling that the lounge was so unprepared for the number of travellers using its services. It was also noticeably warmer from the combined heat generated from the extra body count. But I don’t want to be thinking about that right now.
My new experience of the First Class lounge is enhanced by other spruce-ups at Melbourne airport. The changes become more obvious once you get past customs and the tunnel like walkway that leads you to the waiting-to-board sections and escalator to all airline lounges. New wall signboards with illustrated directions also make it feel like a new airport. Unfortunately these were unexpected sights and in my hurry to get through to the lounge I have no photos to show.
But I’m here to talk about the lounge anyway. And there was plenty to smile about. Dining is fancy, as I’ve alluded. You’re greeted with a sign that asks you to wait to be seated. Whoa. You mean staff have time to walk you somewhere? (Please excuse this excited country bumpkin who hasn’t experienced this in her home airport). You’re then shown to a restaurant style table complete with white napkins and a broadsheet menu. Someone actually takes your order. Love it.
Our broadsheet menus. Breakfast is served until Midday, after which you can choose from a seasonal “All Day Dining” menu “available from Midday” (Huh?).
Here’s what we had:
Salt & pepper squid with green chilli dipping sauce & aioli (dipping sauce is a spicy-sweet must-try). Also Broccoli and Kale soup. All yummy.
My DH had Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon.
I will say that the food is very good. Well done Neil Perry and team.
We had one cocktail, the Golden Ticket – citrus, tonic and bitters. It was absolutely yummy and have no doubt the other drinks on the menu will also please.
But I’ve been too excited to get to the food. I must give kudos to the design of the space that is evidence of plenty of love (and probably $$$). I love the modern restaurant design, the adjacent cosy library-style reading nooks and sleek work areas with old style airline schedules in the backdrop. Here are some pics:
Gone marbles at the entrance of the lounge.
Delightful reading nooks. Rather professorial and shabby chic at the same time.
Love the old school airline schedules against the marble walls.
The Executive work area is equipped with Apple computers.
Did I mention there are other goodies to try…like a free 20-minute spa session that includes a massage or facial?
So well done, Qantas First Lounge. It was with some reluctance that I left and headed for our boarding gate. Can’t wait to come back… especially to try something different on the menu.
How the same class lounge compares in Sydney can be found at the Miles Down Under website here.