It's the second leg from Doha to Sydney flying Qatar's exceptional business class offering. First we take a peek at the lounge at Doha Airport before boarding our flight home to Sydney!
I have just two hours at Doha airport so I make my way to the third floor Qatar Airways Al Mahoor lounge. It’s an enormous, modern lounge with an extravagant pool in it. There are lots of places to sit and several food stations.
The main eating area has a bistro at the end towards the quiet area and the showers. I quickly have a shower - shampoo, conditioner and body lotion are provided and any anything else can be requested from staff. The showers are clean and well maintained, the towels thick and the shower pressure strong.
There are two types of snacks at the bistro: sandwiches and salads. I feel like a sandwich so I order the slow roasted lamb shank in a sourdough bread with onion, cucumber, lettuce and mint yogurt. I like a lot of spreads on my sandwich so I get pots of hummus, moutabal and tabouli and add these to my sandwich. I make use of the internet and then board the flight from Doha to Sydney.
This leg from Doha to Sydney is on an A380 and boarding is separate for business and economy classes. Economy boards earlier and in a separate section and I don’t see Mr NQN at all during this time. Once on board I visit him as he’s in the upper deck section at seat 31A.
I take my seat, 19A a left hand side window seat and the cabin is around 90% full. The seat layout is the same as the A350 except there is one extra side compartment for storage and the overhead lockers for the window seats are narrower.
I’m offered a drink and a choice of a hot or cold wet towel. The flight attendant Mario introduces himself. They have a special lime and mint drink that he offers and it’s delicious and very sweet. He takes my order for my meals and drinks.
The bar area is a bit quieter on this flight as people seem to want to eat their dinner and go to sleep but fills up a bit more after dinner.
Dinner starts off with an amuse bouche of roast beef with a spicy sauce.
I’m still on Edinburgh time so it’s dinner time in my head. I’m also not very hungry after consuming a large sandwich that I stuffed even further with dips through my greed. However I do love soup on a flight so I order the creamy, smooth eggplant soup.
This comes with a trio of bread buns baked together in a sun dried tomato, rye and white with some butter and a choice of vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
The next course is grilled prawns and scallops in a spicy yuzu sauce with onion and shaved carrots. It's a little hard to eat given the knife isn’t very sharp but I do like the spicy yuzu sauce.
The main course is one of their specialties and it was highly recommended. It’s an Arabic style biryani with chicken kapsa, sauteed vegetable saloona, fried onion and a pot of cucumber raita. This is really good, especially the rice, vegetables and onions.
There is a lemon lava cake with raspberry compote but I really felt like eating the fruit salad. It’s fresh blueberries and strawberries with a rosewater syrup and a scoop of ice cream. The flavour of ice cream isn’t what I ordered (it’s chocolate instead of stem ginger) but the berries are delicious and I was too full to really eat any ice cream.
There's also petit fours in the form of the two boxed Godiva truffles. These are brought along with a rose scented hot towel.
One of my favourite features of the A380 on Qatar Airways is the bathroom which is a bit odd to say but it's true. The bathroom tap is like a regular tap at home (albeit a sensor one) with a waterfall tap that dispenses plenty of water.
I also don the pyjamas by The White Company in London.
I take a sleeping pill, pop on the eye mask and put in ear plugs and fall into a deep comatose sleep only waking when I can smell breakfast being served. Slightly groggy but awake and I sort of mumble at Mario who gently says that I can have breakfast whenever I am ready.
I can’t even remember what I’ve ordered but he brings a basket of pastries (a croissant, pain au chocolate and a breakfast roll) along with my choice of strawberry jam and butter. My fruit plate arrives first and it’s a refreshing mixture of melon, pineapple and rambutan that helps me rehydrate.
Then it’s a Greek yogurt parfait with sweet pineapple compote on the bottom topped with nutty granola on top. All I can think is how Mr NQN would love this and I almost contemplate sneaking into his section to give it to him.
I must admit I didn’t expect much from the waffles. I pictured rubbery waffles but these are crisp and served with caramelised banana and crème anglaise. The crème anglaise is quite thick and some more caramelised banana would be fabulous but the waffles are great.
Then I remember that I have an afternoon tea reserved. It’s 4pm Sydney time so I ask for that because I never pass up an opportunity for afternoon tea with another cardamom karak chai, a delicious cardamom scented milky chai. The sandwiches are fantastic. There’s a egg salad, chicken and a smoked salmon on rye. There’s a plain and fruited scone as well as a mini cheesecake and a blueberry mini cake with seeds.
Can I imagine anything better at 40,000 feet? I think not.
So tell me Dear Reader, which airline do you think does the best food? What is your sleeping ritual on a plane?
NQN flew as a guest of Qatar Airways but all opinions remain her own.