Sunday, January 14, 2018

British Airways Invests in Substantial New Catering for World Traveller Customers

British Airways has announced a multi-million pound investment in its World Traveller (long-haul economy cabin) catering, introducing an exciting and expanded new menu, which provides more quantity and quality to both meals and great snacking options throughout the flight.

Options now include:
                Pretzels with the welcome drink
                Four-course meal with starter, entrĂ©e, dessert, cheese and biscuits, accompanied by a bread roll and bottle of water
                Second meal or substantial snack depending on the length of the flight
                Regional meal options served according to destination
                Magnum ice-creams
                Tuck box with chocolates and crisps
                Hot breakfast on longer overnight flights
                Graze movie-snack box on longer* flights
                Complimentary drinks from the bar

Previously customers travelling in the cabin were served a complimentary snack, a three-course-meal or a light meal, depending on the time and length of their flight as well as a complimentary bar service of hot and cold drinks.

The new catering arrives from January 17, and the menus that will change every six months.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience, said: “Our customers tell us that when they’re taking a long-haul flight, great food and beverages make a real difference to them. It’s a huge driver of customer satisfaction so we want to make sure we deliver a great experience. With this multi-million pound investment we’ve focused on introducing more quantity and quality to the catering, delivering tasty meals and great snacking options throughout the flight.

“Our new four-course main meal has been developed by our team of chefs to be full of flavour at 35,000ft and we’ve created regional options depending on the route. The second meal option is either a tasty sandwich or a more substantial pizza wrap, both served with additional snacks, depending on the length of the flight.”

“Our customers have also told us they want to be able to save some items for later in the flight, so we’ve replaced the water cup with a bottle of Highland Spring on the first meal, and added Graze snack boxes on our longest flights. We’re also offering Magnum ice-creams on daylight flights from London and a Tuck Box on inbound and overnight flights.”

The airline’s customers will be welcomed with pretzels and a drink. Once they are settled in, they will be served a four-course meal such as a starter of couscous salad, followed by a main course of chicken casserole with an ale sauce, colcannon mash and seasonal vegetables, or a vegetarian tomato, farfalle and vegetable dish. Dessert will be a Pots & Co. salted caramel and chocolate mousse, followed by biscuits and cheese. The meal will be accompanied by a bread roll and a bottle of Highland Spring water.

On the shorter daylight long-haul flights to destinations such as New York and Dubai, fliers will also receive a sandwich such as egg and cress with a chocolate or Nutri-Grain bar. Those on longer daylight flights to destinations such as Cape Town and Hong Kong will receive a hot meal, such as a pizza wrap or a regional option, with a pot of pasta, a chocolate brownie and a drink as well as a smokehouse BBQ crunch Graze movie-snack box. A hot English breakfast will also be served on these longer flights that operate overnight.

Customers on daylight flights from London will be offered a range of Magnum ice-creams, while those on night flights will be offered a tuck-box with options such as Dairy Milk Buttons, Twix, Kit-Kats and Mini Cheddars, which will also be available in the galley for them to help themselves to.

The airline is also serving regional main meal options around its network, such as chicken in spicy cheng du sauce on flights to and from to China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, kathrikai milagu seeragam and channa dal on flights to and from Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai and acchari veg and dal palak on flights to and from Bangalore and Delhi. On flights to the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia,) customers can enjoy chicken in spicy Arabic sauce.

Regional breakfasts will also be served including Chicken Congee for Far Eastern routes and an Indian option featuring: Idli Shanna, Sambhar, upma and dosa.

The popular meal options for customers with special dietary requirements will continue to be available to book on more than 24 hours ahead of their flight departing.

Travellers looking for a special treat can also pre-order meals on flights from Heathrow up to 24-hours before their flight. Options include a Gourmet Dining meal for £18.00, Taste of Britain and Taste of the Far East for £16.00 and a Great British Breakfast, a Healthy Choice meal or a Vegetarian Kitchen option all for £15.00.

British Airways is investing £4.5 billion for customers over the next five years, covering the installation of the best quality WiFi and power in every seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. The airline is also investing £600m specifically in Club World, including outstanding catering and luxurious White Company bedding - plus, from 2019, a new seat with direct aisle access. This year British Airways will start services to six new routes including Nashville and The Seychelles.

The airline’s longest flights serve: Bangkok, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Chennai, Hong Kong, Hyderabad, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, Las Vegas, Lima, Los Angeles, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico City, Narita, Oakland, Phoenix, Rio de Janeiro, San Jose (California), San Jose (Costa Rica), Santiago, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo (Haneda and Narita).

The first flight with the new catering on January 17 will be the BA117 from Heathrow to New York JFK departing at 8.25am.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Going Gaga over Pa Pa Ya

Pa Pa Ya is a refreshing and promising brand of Modern Asian Bistros from the house of Massive Restaurants. What Farzi Cafe did to Indian food, Pa Pa Ya set out to do with Pan Asian Food, making it more fun and contemporary and has been successful in doing so.

I recently dined at the newly opened Pa Pa Ya, BKC in Mumbai and it was a rather pleasant experience. Located in the sprawling Bandra Kurla Complex, the restaurant is poised to attract both corporate crowd for spiffy lunches and friends and family for evenings and weekends. Located on the ground floor, the restaurant is drenched in natural light and radiance at lunch time. 

The place has a very open and luminous feel. The dramatic, kinetic ceiling over the bar adds theatrical allure. There are fluid, curving lines in the seating arrangement giving a subtle oriental touch, with an attractive interplay of light and dark wood being the predominant colours. The staff was literally raring to go on the first day of lunch operations and their enthusiasm was infectious. 

After a glance through the menu and discussing our likes and dislikes with the mixologist and the Maitre'D, and the pleasant and bright staff attending to us, we set on a journey of delectable discoveries and culinary adventure. One startling fact that set the experience apart was the staggering menu knowledge of the staff. Everyone who came to our table described the dishes with such in-depth information about the ingredients and the cooking techniques, that it was literally like attending a master class of sorts. They told us this is the Pa Pa Ya way, to educate and inform the guest about every dish in a friendly manner. How often have you had a brilliant, well-cooked meal at a restaurant, only to have it served by insipid and untrained staff who are simply passing muster while serving. Not at Pa Pa Ya! The service staff simply elevated the experience with their savour faire and verve. Full marks to the training apparatus in place.

My Thai
Hibisco Sour

Now on to the meal. We started with two interesting cocktails recommended by the mixologist, Hibisco Sour and My Thai (Mai Tai, Pa Pa Ya style with an Asian twist of pink ginger and coconut syrup). The cocktails are well blended, balanced and hit the right notes.

Hot Toddy

But since I was nursing a bad throat, I was immediately recommended a Hot Toddy by the waiter-again full marks for EQ, the art of anticipating guest needs and good service-that soon did the trick.

Amuse Bouche

We started with a charming amuse bouche which looked like oysters but it was indeed a sublime melange of watermelon, chilli and lemongrass.       

Crispy Fried Lotus Stem

Nigiri Tree

Next we tried the Tuna Sushi with the best quality of tuna and Crispy Fried Lotus Stem, Smoked Honey Chilli and Sichuan Pepper Dust which I found a bit sweet for my taste. The aesthetically pleasing Nigiri Tree comprising of Mogura(Tuna), Sake(Salmon) Kani(Crab) and Hamachi( Yellow tail) is sure to gratify you with its sheer beauty and sublimity. It coincidentally mirrors the beautiful pink blossoms on the trees outside peeping in through the sparkling open glass walls.

Pa Pa Ya has an impressive collection of dimsum. We had Asparagus Corn and Burnt Onion Dimsum in a potato and wheat starch moulded into a flower. Simply brilliant! The Lamb and Mandarin, Bee Hun was also exquisite. All their dimsums come suitably doused with appropriate sauces that you do not need any other accompaniment with it. Scanning the menu, there are so many fascinating dishes that catch your eye. 
Lamb and Mandarin Bee Hun

Asparagus Corn and Burnt Onion Dimsum

You know it is the type of restaurant where you would like to come back again and again, trying new dishes every time, safe in the knowledge that nothing will disappoint you. On my future tries list are definitely the Sushi Burger, Salmon, Wasabi Aioli and Sichimi Sprinkle from their Modern Sushi section or the Shiitake and Burrata Croquetas from the Veg Tapas section and the Ceviche Frito, Tomaro and Ajji, Tiger's Milk or Salmon Uzukuri, Jalapeno Relish, Blackened Garlic, Ponzu. Through all sections, there are low calorie, gluten free, vegan, chef's recommendation and keto diet options which is the need of the hour indeed.

Singaporean Laksa

We tried two soups-Traditional Miso Soup and a fiery Singaporean Laksa. The Pla Sam Rat Prawns with Green Pea and Green Chilli Sauce and Dehydrated Pineapple was on the sweeter side. The Zing Zang Lamb is a classic starter. 

Lamb Rendang Curry

For main course the Rendang Curry was highly recommended and this robust Indonesian slow cooked curry served with 'Roti Prata' lived upto the expectation. We also tried the Shanghainese Style Pork Belly which is a double cooked Kurobuta pork belly, caramelised and luscious. Kurobuta is one of the Heritage breeds specially raised for its intensely flavourful meat and fat, typical of Japanese cuisine.There are again a lot of intriguing choices here such as Braised Water Chestnuts, Baby Pakchoy, Fresh Sweet Corn for vegetarians or Maine Lobster, Thai Sweet and Sour Dressing for non vegetarians. If there is the dependable Peking Duck, there is also the Pork Belly, Zuzu Beurre Blanc, Quail Scotch Eggs that pushes the envelope somewhat.

For dessert, the Liquid Hazelnut Fondant Cake, Matcha, Blueberry Quenelle is simply stunning. There is a riot of colour on this platter, which itself is an unconventional shape. Their Chocolate Ball on Fire is a rage and we saw many such balls being whisked to eager tables but instead we tried the Aerated Chocolate, Matcha Creme Anglaise has a Jack Daniels and Callebout chocolate mousse and sweetened evaporated milk that dazzle and delight.

Pa Pa Ya BKC carries forward the Pa Pa Ya legacy a few notches higher, innovating, experimenting with finesse and balance, teasing your palate with new flavours and  textures served in startling presentation with many surprise elements. The staff, I would reiterate, is a major wow factor. (Siddharth primarily looked after us with professionalism and panache while the mixologist has his finger on the pulse of the client!) Do visit this sparkling new restaurant to experience a fascinating interpretation of Asian food.