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.