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

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 Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

31 comments

  • russell

    russell

    9 Feb, 2018 06:34 am

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

    Mozzie, worldwanderer

  • Mr Miyagi

    Mr Miyagi
    Banned

    9 Feb, 2018 01:59 pm

    [Deleted by admin: personal attack/remark.]

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    9 Feb, 2018 02:50 pm

    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.
    Members who gave thanks

    worldwanderer, QF WP

  • Private Pilot

    Private Pilot

    9 Feb, 2018 04:46 pm

    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!)
    No member give thanks

  • SooziQu

    SooziQu

    9 Feb, 2018 05:18 pm

    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.
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  • Simon Coveney

    Covvers

    9 Feb, 2018 07:55 pm

    Not a way to make friends.
    No member give thanks

  • Private Pilot

    Private Pilot

    9 Feb, 2018 04:57 pm

    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!
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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    9 Feb, 2018 06:37 am

    The barramundi for me!!!!! I love Indian style fish curries.
    Member who gave thanks

    QF WP

  • rencontre

    rencontre

    9 Feb, 2018 07:34 am

    @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!
    No member give thanks

  • GBRGB

    GBRGB

    9 Feb, 2018 08:40 am

    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.
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  • kimshep

    kimshep

    9 Feb, 2018 10:36 am

    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 ...

    Member who gave thanks

    deegee93

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    9 Feb, 2018 10:48 am

    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.
    Member who gave thanks

    deegee93

  • SooziQu

    SooziQu

    9 Feb, 2018 05:21 pm

    If you ask they will bring you more if there are meals left over.
    No member give thanks

  • MarkJohnSon

    MarkJohnSon
    Banned

    9 Feb, 2018 10:53 am

    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.
    Member who gave thanks

    Carrots

  • kimshep

    kimshep

    9 Feb, 2018 10:56 am

    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.
    No member give thanks

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    9 Feb, 2018 12:16 pm

    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.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    9 Feb, 2018 12:35 pm

    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!).

    No member give thanks

  • bagpuss

    bagpuss

    9 Feb, 2018 11:25 am

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

    Mozzie

  • rencontre

    rencontre

    9 Feb, 2018 12:00 pm

    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.
    No member give thanks

  • Matt_01

    Matt_01

    9 Feb, 2018 01:19 pm

    I suspect it will not look the same when presented in the air
    No member give thanks

  • gazzax2

    gazzax2

    9 Feb, 2018 02:46 pm

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

    JRyan

  • JRyan

    JRyan

    9 Feb, 2018 03:16 pm

    The falafel with 
roasted mushrooms and labne was sounding quite promising... until they added bacon.
    No member give thanks

  • Merry

    Merry

    9 Feb, 2018 03:52 pm

    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!
    No member give thanks

  • John Corbett

    John C

    9 Feb, 2018 04:03 pm

    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.
    No member give thanks

  • Josh Kendrick

    banana0692

    9 Feb, 2018 04:20 pm

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

    simulate

  • Fqtv

    Zac

    9 Feb, 2018 07:45 pm

    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.
    No member give thanks

  • Lyn Woods

    lw1962

    10 Feb, 2018 05:31 pm

    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.
    Member who gave thanks

    simulate

  • Lyn Woods

    lw1962

    10 Feb, 2018 05:52 pm

    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.
    No member give thanks

  • PHILLIP

    PHILLIP

    10 Feb, 2018 08:32 pm

    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.
    No member give thanks

  • Simulate Aero

    simulate

    11 Feb, 2018 04:09 pm

    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.
    No member give thanks

  • mstyson22

    mstyson22

    12 Feb, 2018 10:00 am

    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!
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16 Aug, 2018 01:09 am

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