This is Part 2 of my review of Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment.
Yesterday I began my report on my recent trip to Abu Dhabi to review the First Class Apartment on Etihad’s A380 fleet. Click that link to see Part 1 which focussed on the seat and cabin.
Today I want to take a look at the food.
Back in February I flew Etihad’s 777 in First Class. Whilst the seat is totally different, the food was very similar and my conclusions are the same – it is noticeably above what you would get from British Airways in First Class, but remains a notch below what you would get from, say, Lufthansa or Swiss.
(There may be a cultural aspect at work here, of course, as those airlines serve a geographically narrow customer base. A Lufthansa flight to the US will be primarily full of US or German citizens which makes it easier to cater. An Etihad flight to or from the UK will have a far broader spread of nationalities.)
Etihad First Class Apartment drinks
The champagne brands had changed from my trip in February. The Gosset had been swapped for 2005 Bollinger, which is a similar £70-£75 at retail. The £35 Jacquart rose had been swapped for a £35 Duval Leroy rose.
The wine selection continued to be ‘cheap’. The Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc I had turns out be just £9.99 a bottle at Majestic Wine at the moment! A typical red, the Line 39 Pinot Noir (2013) is even cheaper! The presence of Heineken on the beer list does not fill you with confidence either although they did at least splash out for Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky.
The food in Etihad First Class
Etihad has dedicated in-flight chefs for First Class. The idea is that, if the main courses on the menu do not appeal (which is likely) he will ‘knock something up’ from a list of ingredients carried on board.
Following an amuse bouche of something I didn’t catch the name of …..
…. the appetisers consisted of:
chickpea soup with arabic spiced raratouille
artichoke ginger soup with creme fraiche
marinated prawns, quinoa and wakame salad and red pepper sauce (which I had, see photo, and which worked well as the pepper offset the tastebud-dampening impact of flight)
Next came that old favourite, the ‘palette cleansing sorbet’:
The three mains did not appeal:
lamb, chicken or fish biryani
roasted lamb loin with oven roasted baby vegetables, purple Majesty potatoes and lamb jus
Mediterranean vegetable tartlet with tomato concasse, basked cherry tomato, rocket leaves and goat cheese
As I did in February, I sat down with the chef (Bead in this case) and we looked at his list. He had beef tenderloin, rib-eye steak, lamb shank, chicken supreme, fish, beans, mixed vegetables, mashed potato, chateau potatoes, french fries, steamed rice and a variety of sauces to work with.
We ended up with the fish on a bed of mash (see below) which, whilst admittedly not ambitious, was actually just what I wanted. Remember that I had a two-course table-served meal in the Etihad lounge just two hours earlier!
For dessert, the choices were:
aumoniere (crepe filled with blueberries and marzipan served warm with vanilla sauce)
bitter chocolate and orange ball
dessert taster (three mini desserts – berry and cinnamon frangipane, apricot cheesecake with passion fruit meringue, chocolate mousse – which is what I took, see below. Reading the list again, I fancy the crepe to be honest!)
What you can see from the photos here is the huge investment that Etihad has made in presentation, crockery etc. This is not expensive in the broad scheme of things but really makes an impact.
Overall, the food and drink hit the spot, although there is clearly some room for improvement. If you want caviar and the trimmings then you are on the wrong airline, unfortunately, although I accept that these sort of items carry less appeal for passengers who fly in First on a very regular basis. I’d also like to see some more investment in the wine list – there is no real excuse for that!
Details of how I used miles for my ticket and how you could do the same are in Part 1 of this Etihad A380 First Class review which you can read here.