This is Part 2 of my review of Qatar Airways business class, flying from Bali to Doha on a Boeing 777-300ER. Part 1 is here.
This half of the review looks at the food, drink and bedding available on board.
Not long after take off I was brought another glass of the rose champagne and a snack – a serving of warm nuts. Cashews, almonds and peanuts, all warm in a little dish. They actually warmed them up for me? This was a revelation (perhaps I don’t get out enough) but I was very thankful! I love nuts at the best of times, when they are at room temperature, but having them warm took it to a whole new level! They were so good that they were gone before I remembered to photograph them.
It wasn’t long before my dinner started arriving as planned, although the first course was not expected – an amuse bouche in the form of a crab cake. Delicious. I also liked the table presentation very much.
Next up was lemongrass and coconut soup with chilli oil.
This was a decent portion size and also tasted very good. I’d also been served a selection of bread rolls previously so one of those was a perfect complement.
For my appetiser I chose the wholly appropriate classic Arabic mezze – hummus, tabouleh and baba ghanoush with Arabic bread.
For me this was big enough to be a dinner by itself. There was a large serving of each dish and three pittas breads. The hummus was a little bitter tasting for my liking but the other two were fresh and tasty. I couldn’t finish it though as it was so sizeable. I don’t like to leave food but knew I had a main coming up and was concerned I’d struggle to fit it all in. The other appetiser was cajun-spiced roasted duck with spiced raspberry sauce.
Here is my main course – grilled Angus beef fillet with caramelised onion jus, potatoes, asparagus and cherry tomatoes.
As it turned out there was an unscheduled but welcome half hour gap between my appetiser and main course due to an issue with the galley. The attendant was very apologetic but I really didn’t mind. When it finally arrived the beef was tender and cooked perfectly. I enjoyed it all very much and this time I felt the portion size was just right.
Fried prawns with tamarind sauce or stuffed paccheri pasta with spinach ricotta and tomato sauce were the other two choices.
That was enough for me so I skipped the dessert options of warm mango cheesecake, seasonal fruit with honey lime syrup or gourmet ice cream selection. There was also a cheese plate option.
Some lighter options appeared at the bottom of the menu – fresh garden salad, stir fried ho-fun noodles with chicken kebab, mini chicken and beef burger sliders and afternoon tea (comprising sandwiches, warm scones etc). I was curious to try the latter to see how it compared to Virgin Atlantic’s spectacular upper class afternoon tea which I reviewed here but I simply did not have the room for one more ounce of food.
The wine list
I did persevere with the champagne which I was enjoying too much. I stayed on the Ataïr rosé throughout dinner but there were also six wines available too.
The reds on offer were: Château Batailley Grand Cru Classé Pauillac Bordeaux, 2012 (£45 per bottle online), M.A.N. Family Wine Skaapveld Shiraz, 2015, South Africa (£8.75) and Miolo Cuvée Giuseppe, 2015, Brazil (£21).
Whites were: Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay, 2015, USA (£22), Max Reserva Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc, 2016, Chile (£12.50) and Abras Torrontés, 2016, Argentina (I couldn’t find this one for sale in the UK).
It seemed to me a fairly eclectic wine list, at least as far as pricing went. There was also another Champagne – Pommery Brut Royal (£38), a dessert wine – Three Bridges Botrytis Semillon, 2015 Australia (£13) and a Quinto do Vallado 20 years old Tawny Port (£40), none of which I tried. For the cocktail lovers amongst you there were eight classic drinks to choose from including a Cuba libre, dry martini and whisky sour.
Once dinner was cleared away I thought about getting comfortable with a film. The ever attentive flight attendant topped up my champagne. She also brought me some nibbles, in her words ‘just in case I need a snack’.
There was no chance of that but it was a nice gesture and the chocolates, crisps and popcorn went in my bag for later.
It was too early to sleep but I decided to get into the White Company pyjamas I’d been given.
So British Airways aren’t the only airline using this company I thought to myself! The flight attendant had asked me earlier what size I would like. I preferred this to them guessing as I’d always end up exchanging them on the few times I previously received them. I didn’t use the slippers but the pyjamas were really comfy and soft.
Next, unwrapping the blanket was a great surprise. It was the most luxurious feeling cover I’d ever had on a flight. It was basically a thick, warm, velvety soft quilt.
Sorry to sound like an advert for Andrex but it was lovely. Ok, it was purple but that is Qatar Airways signature colour and you can’t tell with the lights dimmed…
Eventually I started to feel tired. I was on a nine and a half hour flight which was due to land at 23.20 local time but actually 04.20 Indonesian time. With this in mind it was time to make the bed and that didn’t take long, pressing the button on the left arm rest control. There was no bed cover sheet, just the purple quilt and a pillow I had been using since I sat down. The bed was ok but not as comfortable as my BA Club World one. I felt more confined and not able to move or turn over as easily. In the end I managed about three hours sleep.
On waking I went to freshen up. The bathrooms were pristinely clean and had Rituals hand wash, lotion and body mist along with toothbrushes and shaving kits.
There were no further food offerings but drinks were still available until we were close to landing.
And that was my first experience with Qatar Airways. Did it live up to my expectations? Mostly yes. The food was some of the best and most substantial I’d ever had on a flight. The IFE was comprehensive enough to keep the most ardent cinephile happy, especially on the large, good quality screens onboard.
The Boeing 777-300ER seat however didn’t quite live up to my expectations. With the lack of privacy I think my flight would have felt quite different if someone had been sitting next to me. These seats are slowly being replaced with Qsuite, however. If you are flexible, it definitely pays to check out which aircraft you are booking. The bed was just fine and the quilt and pyjamas were really great.
Ending on a positive note, the service was excellent throughout. I had high hopes regarding this and I wasn’t disappointed at all. I was diligently and warmly looked after by the same flight attendant throughout the nine hour journey. She struck a nice balance of being formal but friendly and her calmness put me at ease.
I remember thinking I would happily fly with Qatar Airways again – then realised I was going to in three hours time! First, I wanted to take a look at the flagship Qatar Airways business lounge in Doha …..
You can find out more about Qatar Airways Business Class on this section of their website.
Booked on Avios, this flight (a one-way Business Class flight from Bali to Doha) costs 75,000 Avios plus £249 in taxes and charges. There are three flights per day with Qatar Airways, leaving around midnight, 9am and 6pm.
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