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My review of Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment, Part 2

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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 A380 First Class Apartment food

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 …..

Etihad A380 First Class Apartment food

…. 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)

mezze

Etihad A380 First Class Apartment food

Next came that old favourite, the ‘palette cleansing sorbet’:

Etihad A380 First Class Apartment food

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!

Etihad A380 First Class Apartment food

For dessert, the choices were:

ice cream

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!)

Etihad A380 First Class Apartment food

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.

Etihad’s official A380 First Class Apartment website is here.

Comments (32)

  • Leo says:

    Rob, isn’t this a bit of an odd option if you are travelling as a couple or even with friends? I know you were solo – but aren’t you a bit cut off from companions? I’m not taken with the solitary aspect of suites in general but this looks well…..like a few hours in the cooler!

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  • Andrew says:

    Hi Rob, I’m curious what beers you’d expect if Heineken isn’t great? I’m a big craft beer fan but even I accept that travelling means lowest common denominator, and Heineken as a slightly better than Fosters lager should satisfy most.

    • Rob says:

      I would have expected something more niche. Heineken is an odd product because it is promoted differently in differently countries – in some places it is positioned fairly upmarket, in other it is effectively Carling Black Label.

  • James67 says:

    On my EY economy class flight from EDI to BKK back in June I was very unimpressed with the quantity of food offered while the quality was mixed. I was of the impression the food for EDI-AUH arrived with incoming flight rather than being prepared locally, it was very poor but a little better AUH-BKK. It was my first economy longhaul in a decade or so, so I have no idea what airlines are serving up these days. Worst food I tasted since USAiways started flight to the UK. On way back in business I skipped the meals to sleep. On most of my J and F flights the food has been edible if uninspiring but some exceptions. Top marks for breakfast on LH F, apart from them I find breakfast on planes universally awful. Other highlights have been Rudolphs friends on Finnair, curries on Sri Lankan, curries on Thai to/from KTM. Contrary to most I havd been unimpressed with food on Swiss, maybe I was jusg unlucky but meat was poor quality and badly prepared, desserts were pathetic. Likewise, I was uimpressed with Austrian despite their making a big deal about their food. SQ book the cook looks more impressivd on paper than in practice. BA just saved from the wooden spoon by all our North American friends.

  • oyster says:

    Looks like the chef had a lot of chives in stock!

    He/she should know better than to garnish a plate with something that you won’t can’t eat.

    In F those wines sound horrific.

  • JamesW says:

    Can these be booked using AirBerlin’s TopBonus points / miles ?

    Raffles, any chance you could do a few articles on the best ways to use TopBonus points ?

  • Joseph says:

    I wish someone in this industry would say “It was/wasn’t a nice wine” for once rather than just list the prices… A wine can certainly be good/bad value for money but the mere price doesn’t really give a whole lot of useful information

    • Rob says:

      Wine is a very personal thing though …. whilst price is not necessarily a marker of quality, I do genuinely believe it is a better marker for you than me telling you whether I liked something.