Europe Trip 2014 – Qantas First Class Lounge

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So I am off my usual jetset trip around Europe again…. it will be another whirlwind trip! 8 cities in just 14 days and it starts today!

The Drive 

Its a beautiful morning in Sydney as the Qantas Chauffeur arrives. This time its a beautiful Audi, with a very charming driver who helps me load my bags and I take sit and recline in the soft plush leather seats and relax as the journey to the airport begins.

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The check in staff at Qantas are their usual friendly cheerful and beautiful selves. Kathryn helps me check in my bag and chats about her travels and dining experiences… we have so much in common. Its so nice to meet kindred spirits.

Once I make it through Immigration and Security, I make my way to the Qantas First Lounge

The Dining Room 

When I arrive at the lounge, the lovely hosts immediately help me find a table in the dining room overlooking the beautiful tarmac of Sydney International.

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A glass of Delamotte Champagne is brought out to kick things off. The tiny bubbles keep working their way to top, while the flavours of tart lemon and apple blossoms on the tongue. It is paired with the breathtaking view of the runway… it has to be one of the most beautiful experiences one could ever imagine.

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The entree is the Grilled Sesame Tuna with Red Cabbage and Shallot Salad

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The mild spice of the sesame sauce doesn’t overpower the tuna, but provides a light oriental flavour, while oily jelly-like tuna meat provides the a beautiful clean tasting experience. The soft jelly like tuna is a nice texture contrast to the crunchy red cabbage and the light heat of the shallots provides an extra dimension of flavour to round-out the dish.

I debate about the mains with the waitress, until I settle on the Crumbed Fish Burger with Japanese Pickles and Horseradish Mayonnaise.

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The fish burger is a white flesh fish (Barramundi) with a crispy outside batter coating paired with crunchy lettuce and Japanese pickles on a soft plush burger roll. Its a contrast of tastes and textures and the quality of the fish shines through. The rich creamy horseradish mayonnaise adds some lovely bite (but not too much) to round out the dish.

A Wild Rocket and Parmesan Salad provides the perfect accompaniment as a side dish.

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I switch from the Delamotte to the wine special of the day. It is a Henschke Tappa Pass Shiraz (2010). I love Henschke… it is such a delight to see this and I gaze at the beauty of the Henschke logo as its poured into my glass.

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The waft of berries fills the air as I swirl it in my glass. The wine is so rich and lush on the palate. With the intense and concentrated taste of plums and blackberries that define a SA shiraz shining through. It has intensity but is so well balanced with the perfect tannin structure and a long finish to round out the experience.

So exhilarated by the experience, I move on to dessert. Now most desserts are not exactly healthy, but there are those rich “out there” treats that one should definitely not eat everyday, I think this falls into the latter category. Its a Chocolate Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding with a White Chocolate Gelato.

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Its freshly baked out of the oven with the most amazing textures and taste. First there is the crunchy flaky baked top part of the crossiant which (due to its position in the pan) has not been immersed in the rich cream sauce and has experience the brunt of the grill. This forms this crispy flaky crumbly layer on your tongue. In perfect contrast the it is combined with the soft, buttery rich “below the surface” part of the pudding. Love it.

Then the chocolate which is interwoven in the pastry is rich and provides a sugary cocoa interlude to accompany the rest of the pudding. Next is the beautiful white chocolate gelato, which adds a softer and subtle taste to the dish to complete it. I am lost, like a child feeling so overwhelmed by the flavours as I gaze idyllically across the beautiful tarmac. Its such an amazing tasting experience.

Then I finish with a flat white, where the rich velvety crema and espresso base wakes me up for the day ahead.

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The Lounge also has some lovely snacks and a cool little departure board, so you don’t get to absorbed with the experience that you miss your flight.

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The Private Room

I am the escorted to my suite for the day. Qantas have these lovely private rooms with a lounge and computers so I get the chance to start penning this little memior.

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I then have Henschke withdrawal symptoms and wonder to the bar, where I meet Rebecca (who works in the lounge and I pretty much see her everytime I am here), who is one of the sweetest most friendliest people on the planet. She notes she hasn’t seen me in a while. I lament that my work commitments have hindered my travel lifestyle, but its so nice to see her again.

She agreeably pours a full glass the Henschke Tappa Pass for my enjoyment. I start chatting to her about Europe. She tells me about her trip to Europe and we . Its so lovely meeting someone who loves travel as much as I do!

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Spa 

I then return room and realise I am due for my spa appointment. The Lounge has a wonderful spa, which used to be run by Payot. Its now run by Aurora with Facial products provided by Kersten Florian. It’s my first time with the new company. I really liked Payot, but am keen to see what Aurora has to offer.

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The back massage is amazing, with every tendon loosened, the waft of essential oils fills the air to provide some much needed relaxation. Its such a beautiful experience. The massage loosens the muscles around the spine, while soothing rainforest music dulls all my senses.

Feeling oh so relaxed, I leave the spa and enjoy (another) glass of Henschke Tappa Pass Shiraz.

Board

I often say, my calling in life is the Boarding Call and so the call chimes through the lounge. I grab my bags and make my way to the exit. The First Host passes me my Boarding Pass and Jacket and wishes me well… the journey begins.

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