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HFP in Doha: How is the food and drink when you fly Qatar Airways Qsuite?

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This is my review of the food and drink available in Qatar Airways Qsuite business class, based on a recent flight on the A350-900.

The introductory article in this series, which reviewed the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 4, is here.  Our two articles reviewing the Qsuite business class seat start here.

As a reminder, Qatar Airways gave me a return Business Class flight from London Heathrow to Doha.  Head for Points paid for all of its other expenses including hotel, transfers and meals.

Qatar Airways qsuite business class breakfast review

Qatar Airways business class food and drink

I decided to write a separate article covering the food and drink options on my flight because I got to experience breakfast on the outbound and lunch on the inbound.

In general I don’t like reviewing aircraft breakfasts because there is very little you can do to liven them up.  A lunch or dinner gives an airline a far better chance to show what it can do.  Luckily I got to try both.

Qatar Airways business class breakfast

I should mention first that, of course, you receive the usual pre-take off champagne if you want it.  Qatar Airways is currently serving Pommery alongside a Canard-Duchene Charles VII rose.  Both retail for around £35-£40.

Qatar Airways offers genuine ‘dine when you want’ and there is absolutely no pressure to order at any particular time.  As it happened, with a breakfast flight and a lunchtime flight, I chose to eat immediately after take-off on both occasions as did the majority of passengers.  It’s worth noting that the airline is happy to serve you another lunch or even another breakfast later in the flight if you don’t want anything from the snack menu!

The breakfast menu was:

Fresh orange juice or carrot juice

Starters:

Seasonal fresh fruits

Greek yoghurt, strawberry compote and toasted granola with nuts

Choice of breakfast cereals

Assiette of cold cuts (smoked salmon, cheddar and rocket leaves)

Mains:

Traditional Arabic breakfast

Cheese and tomato omelette with beef medallion, potato cake and bearnaise sauce

Steel-cut oats served with berries and cream

Bread selection

There is also a ‘light options’ menu. In theory this can be substituted for breakfast but is better enjoyed later in the day – mixed garden salad, gnocchi with spinach and mild blue cheese sauce, afternoon tea, mini sliders (beef and chicken) or a cheese plate.

There was also a separate ‘snack platter’ inserted into my menu as an extra page.  This was promoting a ‘one tray’ snack, available at any time, containing smoked salmon with dill mayo, a feta and watermelon skewer, chicken with apricot and pistachio brochette, pastilla lamb, mixed pepper with turmeric crostini and Battenberg cake.

Before I come to the food, let’s talk about presentation.  Like Etihad, Qatar Airways nails this.  Everything just looks ‘right’. 

This is part of the breakfast setting.  Note the little battery powered candle at the top right which is a signature feature.  Note the smart bread basket with inlay, the cutlery, the butter plate.  None of this is expensive – certainly not setting it up correctly for the customer, which costs nothing except training – but so few airlines get this right.  Click on any picture to enlarge:

Qatar Airways qsuite business class breakfast review

I took the Greek yoghurt:

Qatar Airways qsuite business class breakfast review

….. and the omelette:

Qatar Airways qsuite business class breakfast review

I’ll be honest.  I didn’t read the small print on the omelette, which explained that it came with a chunk of beef.  I don’t have anything against beef, but not at 9am.

Is ‘omelette with beef’ a Middle Eastern thing?  It was a new one on me.  There was nothing wrong with the beef – cooked enough, tender enough – but it wasn’t what I was expecting for my breakfast.

There really isn’t much else to say, which is why I don’t like reviewing breakfasts!  On the other hand, omelettes are not easy to prepare on an aircraft so the fact that this one tasted fine is a positive.

Nearer to landing into Doha I had the afternoon tea.  Again this is a relatively simple thing, but take a look at the photo below and compare it to a British Airways effort.  It is worth noting that catering from London is done by DO&CO who are the British Airways catering company.  BA could serve a literally identical product if it chose to spend enough.

Qatar Airways qsuite business class breakfast review

Qatar Airways business class lunch service

The lunch menu for my return flight gave the airline a better chance to shine.

We started off with an amuse bouche:

Qatar Airways qsuite business class breakfast review

I chose to pass on the soup course and went straight for the appetisers.  The options were:

Signature Arabic mezze

Prawn and scallop with olive oil and lemon, with black quinoa and pickled red onion

I took the latter which was impressive – a surprisingly complex dish:

Qatar Airways qsuite business class breakfast review

There were three choices of mains, which came with ‘a selection of artisan breads’:

Grilled veal fillet, with morel mushrooms, asparagus, garlic confit and saffron mashed potatoes

Seafood tagine with raisin and parsley couscous, mixed vegatables and smoked paprika

Smoked cheese tortellini with roasted cherry tomatoes, Parmesan tuilee and smoked cheese sauce

Here is the tagine (note the smart plate):

Qatar Airways qsuite business class breakfast review

I rarely have dessert wine on the ground, so this flight was a good excuse to crack open a Tokaji Aszu 2008 5 Puttonyos, which retails at around £35 for a half bottle.  A 20 year old Tawny Port from Taylor’s is also available.

Qatar Airways qsuite business class breakfast review

Dessert choices were:

Date and walnut pudding

Fresh berries with rose water syrup

Gourmet ice cream selection

I went with the ice cream, which was substantially classier than you would have the right to expect.   You can probably see a theme emerging here – in general, what you get is a classier and more complex dish than the menu would have you believe.

Qatar Airways qsuite business class breakfast review

I gave the cheese plate a miss (Oxford, Manchego and goat chive cheese) but was happy to take a couple of Godiva chocolates to have with my coffee.

Whilst I didn’t need a second meal, I could have chosen from two light bites (the afternoon tea again, or mini sliders).  There was also the daily snack platter menu.

The wine selection

We covered the champagne options above.  I didn’t drink any standard white or red wine during either flight.

The white selection included a Truchard Napa Valley chardonnay (2017) and a Chilean Duette Indomita sauvignon blanc (2017).  The Truchard sells for around £30 which is very high end for a Business Class wine list, although the Duette is around the £15 level.

The three reds included a Chateau Larrivet Haut-Brion (2012), another £30 bottle, and a Stump Jump Shiraz (2016) from Australia which is a lot cheaper at around £11.

Conclusion – how did I find Qatar Airways business class food and drink?

Some people find the food to be the weakest part of the Qatar Airways business class proposition.  I don’t agree.

Presentation is excellent.  The genuine ‘dine on demand’ service is excellent.  The drinks list contains some gems alongside some averagely priced products.  The food, in itself, was very well put together and perfectly cooked.

The only thing which didn’t hit the mark, for me, were the menu choices themselves.  Serving beef with an omelette was odd.  Similarly, a lunch selection of veal fillet, seafood tagine or tortellini is going to leave some people cold.  In terms of taste, style and presentation, however, I was a happy man.

If you missed the first two parts of my Qsuite flight review, published earlier in the week, click here.

The Qatar Airways Qsuite website is here.

Coming up, I will take a look at the Al Maha VIP arrivals and departure service at Hamad International Airport in Doha, and the Al Mourjan business class lounge.

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Comments

  1. Optimus Prime says:

    Do any other airlines let you choose your meal times? I know Etihad does (or at least they did a few years ago).

  2. fivebobbill says:

    On flight food/drink, but BA.
    When I fly BA Business for leisure I like a vodka (or six), and on all of my flights this past 3 or 4 years I’ve always been served Ciroc Vodka by the bottle(s) along with small tins of Ginger or Coke. However I’ve just returned from a trip to Tel Aviv, and in both directions my Vodka & mixer was served already poured, no bottles or tins arrived. I don’t recall this ever happening before.
    I much prefer to do my own thing, and probably should have asked, but just wondering is this becoming the BA norm?
    I certainly hope not.
    The food was excellent as ever by the way.

    • I had read on FT that certain spirits in Club World are served in large bottles now, not miniatures….but not sure if this is the case. I know Club Europe uses miniatures.

      • fivebobbill says:

        I flew LHR-DXB in May this year and it was miniatures and small cans all the way.
        I would really hate to see them adopt this “serve it poured” as policy, I like to have my own bottle, and top up with vodka/mixer when required to my own taste, not the cabin crews.
        In my opinion this would be a major backward step, having a drink in Business/First should feel a bit special. not like standing in someones kitchen at a house party.

        • I fully appreciate your points about functionality, but re “special”: I hardly think pouring your own miniatures is the epitomy of luxury. I’d like to see how that would go down at an expensive cocktail bar…

          • fivebobbill says:

            The “bit special” remark jc was to be taken in context with my reference to a house party, where a swiftly poured vodka & coke passed to you standing in someones kitchen is hardly special at all.
            I can get that any time. My point being that it shouldn’t be too difficult for BA to improve on that experience. And with all due respect, if I was in an expensive cocktail bar they wouldn’t go out the back to mix it.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Iberia pour the gin from a large bottle at your seat. I wouldn’t mind this approach and cuts down on waste bottles.

      • fivebobbill says:

        In my experience TGL, sometimes you’re lucky just getting a drink on Iberia…!

        • Lady London says:

          Is Iberia that bad even in J?

          • The seat is good, in my experience (taking LHR-MAD runs), to the extent that if the (cash or Avios) price was right I’d be perfectly happy to use them even if the food was ropey.

    • When I was travelling first earlier this year, I ordered a beer which would not fit in the glass so I asked her to leave the can, however she initially refused as it was against there new presentation standards although she did relent when I protested at the beer being wasted so I would imagine it is the same thing with all cans/bottles.

      • fivebobbill says:

        At least they poured your beer at your seat Chris. I like to mix my drink to my own taste, my wife likes her vodka weak, I don’t. I also like to see what Vodka I’m being served, and certainly don’t want my Ginger/Coke coming from the bottom 3 inches of a 2 litre bottle!
        Not a good development if being adopted, and only serves to cheapen the customer whole experience on BA. You wouldn’t have your drink served already mixed in Wetherspoons!

        • Jonathan says:

          Ironically this is supposed to be about improving customer experience. You wouldn’t pour your own in a nice restaurant. I agree it’s hard to adjust for personal tastes so it would be better if they poured at the seat, perhaps from a slightly nicer bar trolley or just went back to the original miniatures.

      • Paul Stevens says:

        I’ve ranted about this before and it really is a downer for me when I fly first. Both in the concord lounge and on the plane they only give you beer in tiny little glasses. I feel like an alcoholic having to keep asking for more. It really annoys me. I only want about two pints and I have to ask for about six drinks. I managed to get them to leave the can for me once as well but they weren’t happy about it. It’s why I always go to the first lounge now rather than concord.

    • Jonathan says:

      I flew home from Rio De Janeiro earlier on this year, in Economy class, we got on the plane, I wanted a drink since was going to a little while before take off, and they couldn’t serve any alcohol until we were in the air!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        That’s pretty normal isn’t it.Even welcome drinks in premium cabins are soft apart from Champagne.

        Have to get in the air before its tax/duty free?

    • Ricardo says:

      Isn’t it for environmental reasons, reducing the number of miniature plastic bottles? (I can’t imagine that all of them are recycled – for instance at a non-UK airport that can’t offer the “right” type of plastic recycling infrastructure will BA fly the empty bottles back to the UK again or does it just go in landfill locally?)

      • +1. The amount of single use plastic / paper cutlery and plates etc from a flight must be appalling.

  3. All looks pretty good.

    BA are serving beef in First with the traditional breakfast at the moment. I had it yesterday. I quite like steak for breakfast!

    Availability of menu items is a very important factor to consider as well. Flying as a BA Gold in First yesterday, I fancied the smoked salmon starter but was told they only had 1 on board and someone else had already picked it. Great First class service from BA…

    • +1 Have had this experience too on a number of BA F flights this year. Not enough items loaded for all F passengers and EC Gold card holders do not have priority, especially if – as in my case – you are in Row 2 or 3!

  4. Worth noting that like with BA First from LHR, you can pre-order your main course in manage my booking for flights departing Doha. There isn’t a wider selection (like SQ offer) but it does guarantee your main course. Caution on A380 routes though as you are treated as a “special meal” passenger and won’t get op-uped to first class.

  5. The cold towel as well as hot is also handy

  6. Jonathan says:

    All this talk about food makes me think how the airlines cater for the vegetarian or (even more difficult for them) the vegan traveler?!?

    • As long as you pre-order it’s fine. Vegan is mainstream now – some ‘special meal’ lists can be huge.

      • I struggle as I’m dairy intolerant so no cheese, cream or milk. I’ve found that it’s often easier to eat in the lounge before I fly. The lactose free meal that BA served on board once was so awful that I stopped requesting it. As flying for me is an ordeal rather than a pleasure it doesn’t worry me not eating on board but I know I’m in the minority!

        • My husband has the same sentiments. ~3 years ago, I ordered a lactose-free meal for him in advance for a work trip with BA (I was not with him). The story goes that when it (a brown mush) was served, he could not recognise what it was at all, and neither did the steward when he asked! He received a sheepish apology and now gently declines my offer to sort his airborne meals…

      • Vegetarian meals on some (/a lot of?) airlines are very poor. Should order one in a future review and see what its like. BA’s is particularly bad, but their menu is good I that it labels which items, including the wines, are suitable for vegetarians and which aren’t.

  7. One of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had with any airline (in fact, perhaps a highlight of my life in general!) – and the main reason why I’ll recommend flying Qatar in Business Class to anyone who will listen – happened on an overnight KUL-DOH leg last year.

    Although the cabin was quite dark, I noticed that another passenger seemed to be having a wine tasting at their seat. A member of crew spotted that I’d noticed this, and asked if I would also like a wine tasting. But of course! She proceeded to spread a tablecloth on my table and set out a bottle of each of their wines (along with a glass in front of each bottle, and a water glass), before pouring very generous samples of each wine and discussing their qualities. A truly unforgettable in-flight experience – I don’t know how often this is offered? Wish I could upload a photo to the comments section!

  8. QR mains menu changes every month, I think it’s on line somewhere if you want to make sure you’re getting what you like. My only real niggle is the breakfasts which can be monotonous after a while but suppose that’s my fault not ordering something in advance.

    When they get it wrong i.e. leave the cheese in the steak sandwich you requested removing, their service recovery is exceptional.

  9. Voldemort says:

    Rob… I flew Saigon to Doha last week and had steak with poached eggs and potato hash.. somewhat similar to what you had. It was great.

    IMO it is good to see beef at breakfast, or at least a bit of imagination.. I suspect the alternative would be some sausage made out of suspect chicken.

  10. I haven’t flown Qatar since they blocked flights to the UAE, but back in 2016 I thought their food was excellent. Yes a little odd combination here and there but couldn’t fault, service, quslity and presentation.
    I hope they sort the blockade out as I would love to try the Qsuite 🙏🏻

  11. Beer and chicken sliders sound interesting!

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