Thursday, July 23, 2009

Flying Lobster and Some Good Global Eating

Just because I have been M.I.A. for the last month does not mean I haven't been eating well and keeping track. Today I'll you about a great dining experience I had recently, at 35,000 feet, along with some other great global eating! If you've been reading my writing for a while or have been perusing my archives, then you may remember a rave review I gave British Airways last year for their food.

Well I flew British Airways back to India last month and ate well the entire way. There are several ways to get to India from Boston and one of them includes flying through London's Heathrow airport; ALL of them involve two days of travel. That's right, I left Boston's Logan Airport on Sunday evening and arrived in Bangalore, India on Tuesday morning. Two long flights and a five hour layover in London meant lots of opportunity to eat along the way. I know what you're thinking: "airplane/airport food is terrible!" And I totally agree depending on where you're going and what airline you're flying. I know first hand that food on domestic carriers in the US like American and United ranges anywhere from none to barely edible. Not so on International carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa and Swiss Air; and most of the airports in Europe have very good dining options, especially London Heathrow! So read along as I eat along the way to India.

My first flight from Boston to London took off around 9pm and I had already eaten dinner so I skipped the in-flight meal; here is a jet-lag fighting tip for you: keep the same eating and sleeping schedule of the place you are leaving until you arrive at your destination and you should acclimate to the new time zone much easier. That sometimes means skipping in-flight meals and sleeping when you think you should be awake, OR staying awake when all you want to do is sleep! It was around 9am in London when I landed so walked around the terminal for about 30 minutes to get my blood flowing again and then began my hunt for food. I started my around-the-world eating session with some Eggs Norwegian (poached eggs, smoked salmon, hollandaise on a muffin) at Gordon Ramsay Plane Food in Terminal 5; £7.50 (~$13 at the time) for half a toasted muffin, two poached eggs and some salmon!? Seriously?! Anyway, it was good. The salmon was melt-in-your mouth good and the hollandaise was the perfect balance of rich, buttery goodness and tart, citrusy lemon.

Gordon Ramsay Plane Food

Eggs Norwegian at Gordon Ramsay Plane Food

Having just spent 7+ hours on a plane crossing 5 time zones, I was still hungry, so I headed over to Wagamama in the same wing of Terminal 5. I didn't want to eat too much more since I was about to get on a plane for another 10+ hours so I ordered the Asa Gohan from the menu. Asa Gohan is a traditional Japanese breakfast and at Wagamama it consists of some sticky rice, Japanese pickles, and a cup of miso soup. The miso was excellent, the rice very sticky and the pickles were soft, sweet, crunchy and delicious; what a great breakfast!

Wagamama in Terminal 5 at Heathrow

Wagamama in Terminal 5 at Heathrow

Asa Gohan at Wagamama

So far so good in the food category but it was about to get much, much better!

I prefer to fly on British Airways when I'm going over to India for several reasons. First, the seats on British Airways' planes are comfortable and they have plenty of leg room, even in economy class known as World Traveler - comfort and leg room are important considerations for me since the flights are long and I'm rather tall at 6'2" (188cm for my metric friends.) But more important than the comfort of the seats is the quality of the food. I actually think the food is great on long haul British Airways flights, even in the back of the plane. I wrote about one good dining experience I had on British Airways last year but my experience last month takes the cake - no I didn't have any cake, I chose the cheese course, read on!

I'm also a British Airways frequent flier and on my flight from London to Bangalore I was fortunate to receive an upgrade to business class, known as Club World. I had flown in Club World once before on a return trip from Chennai, India to London so I knew I was in for a treat. Even better was the fact that my seat (also my bed) was on the upper deck of the 747 I was about to board.

Upon taking my seat upstairs on the plane I wasted no time taking advantage of the world class service British Airways offers. I asked for a glass of champagne, and not just any champagne but the outstanding Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut Champagne. I was well on my way to having a very comfortable flight. When flying in World Traveler (economy) between London and India, passengers have a choice between an Indian meal or non-Indian meal, both always good. The same is true in Club World except there are more choices and haute cuisine. After the plane took off I was handed a nice Club World dining menu with several options for each of three courses! Although I was craving Indian food, I took one look at my choices and knew what I was ordering...

After a couple more glasses of Heidsieck Champagne, I started my in-flight meal with a fresh lobster salad with pink grapefruit and mango salsa along with a fresh salad of mixed greens and a simple vinaigrette dressing. The lobster salad was so fresh and tasted so good with the pink grapefruit segments and mango salsa. For my main course I chose a chilled salad of smoked salmon, roasted vine tomatoes and dill potatoes. The alternative choices were whiting in a yogurt sauce with spicy coconut green beans, red kidney beans in masala sauce with yellow lentils and spinach, or duck confit with green beans, cocotte potatoes, and thyme jus! Wow! I bet the duck confit was outstanding but I had a long flight ahead of me and three glasses of champagne already in me, so I went with the light smoked salmon option. For dessert I had the choice of a chocolate cherry trifle with strawberry sauce, vanilla ice cream, a cheese plate, or a selection of fresh fruits and chocolates. The cheese plate consisted of Cropwell Bishop Stilton and triple creme French Brie along with some savory biscuits, so I chose that, I love brie. The cheeses were excellent. I had one more glass of champagne to wash everything down and then slept the rest of the way to Bangalore. Thank you, British Airways, for an incredible flying, and dining experience!

Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut Champagne

Lobster with pink grapefruit and mango salsa

Lobster salad with pink grapefruit and mango salsa

Smoked Salmon and Dilled Potatoes

Cheese Course in Club World

I highly recommend flying with British Airways, check them out at or follow British Airways North American on Twitter at and British Airways United Kingdom at


  1. Hello Food Guy! I thought this was a great post. Like you, I am a foodie and a frequent flyer. I also work for the company, Clearwater Seafoods, that produces the lobster meat that you enjoyed. The reason the meat is so fresh and tasty is due to the fact that the salad is prepared from raw, Nova Scotia Prime lobster meat, on the ground in the UK prior to being loaded on the flight. Your favourable review is very encouraging and I thank you for your comments which will soon be making the rounds both here in Nova Scotia and the UK.

    Safe flying and bon appetit,

    Dan Evans
    Clearwater Seafoods
    Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada

  2. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for leaving a comment. The lobster really was great; so cool to know that it was prepared just prior to get loaded on the plane. I'm looking forward to my next BA flight!


  3. Love Wagamama! Stayed at Metropolis Hotel for 3 months in Auckland New Zealand and the ground floor was devoted an amazing bakery and Wagamama. I hope you get another opportunity to try other things there, you won't regret it!

    cindylee8949 (twitter)