Dining was one of the highlights of the experience. Upon boarding, we were offered Pommery Brut Royal Pommery champagne or orange juice – you can guess what I chose ;). There was also a bottle of Evian in the compartment next to the seat. They provided the Business Class menus for us to peruse during takeoff.
Approximately an hour into the cruising altitude, beverage service began as they prepared lunch. While the standard 4-course meal was not available due to COVID-19 precautions to speed up the experience, I felt the flight attendants did and excellent job making sure the experience felt like normal with the 2-course procedure.
They provided us with white tablecloths, no warm towels though, and a tray with the starter of Smoked Salmon with lemon cream as well as the cheese platter, dessert and the side salad. I promptly put my dessert and cheese platter to the side to save for the end of the meal and dug into the Smoked Salmon. This was served with a selection of wines, cocktails and, of course, the champagne. During this “first course”, they came around with a bread basket of warm baguettes and rolls.
The entree choices were braised beef cheek, roast poultry, pollock with seaweed and lovage sauce or a vegetarian dish of artichoke, polenta and burrata cheese. Both Max and I went with the braised beef cheek, which was lightyears better than United’s fairly good beef short rib.
Our beverages were always full as they came through the cabin constantly to check on guests. The whole experience took around 45 minutes to an hour. I saved my dessert for a fresh shot of illy espresso and a glass of Chateauneuf-Du-Pape Jeanne 2017 Maison Ogier.
Shortly after the meal service, the flight attendants set out a snack stand and bar in the galley between the mini-cabin and the larger business-class cabin. I found myself sipping on a number of espressos and cappuccinos throughout the flight since it was a daytime flight. There was a long delay between meals and while I was content, there were a number of passengers, including Max, who did get pretty hungry by the time the second meal came around. One guest did ask for an express lunch if it was available somewhere around 5 hours into the flight and they happily obliged. It did feel like there should have been a mid-flight light meal offered.
The meal we received shortly before landing was a leek in rhubarb dressing, a crispy goat’s cheese puff and a delicious red berry panna cotta. This was another excellent meal and hit the spot.
Overall, the dining was exceptional. After flying on US-based airlines throughout the pandemic, it was incredible to experience an airline that was doing their best to maintain their service levels and not use the pandemic as an excuse to serve snack boxes or prepackaged sandwiches.