The day: 17th January 2009
The place: BA flight 8 Narita to Heathrow
The venue: Club World
The food: modern British with some fusion
The drinks: carefully chosen both French and New World, bottomless glass
Well, you know now we spent some very exciting times in Tokio. Of course, we had to get to and fro somehow, and this time we did it in style… Enter the Club Class of British Airways flight BA8 from Narita airport.
Admittedly, by the time you get to your seat you might already be thoroughly stuffed, or thoroughly drunk (or both!) after a visit to the reserved Departure lounge (the one in Narita airport not remotely as pampering as the new BA Lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5). But behave, and be assured that they will pamper you properly on the flight.
In a feat of amazing restraint we skip the free champagne (come on, how many people do you know who refuse free champagne?). So we begin with a starter of
– Peppered salmon and yazu dressing:
This is the first surprise: the salmon is plump, moist, tender, very flavoursome and perfectly seasoned… call us uncouth country bumpkins, but we were not expecting this kind of quality 30,000 miles above sea level. The accompanying cous cous is ok, as is the dressing, but to be fair these are rather unmemorable especially when compared to the fish.
Next, our mains of
– Bamboo shoots and kinome yaki with season vegetables;
– Chilled seafood salad with creamy lime dressing
We went for bamboo because we wanted something light. This is precisely what we got. This was overall a very delicate, balanced dish (maybe too delicate) but it was very welcome after our Japanese guzzling, and even the vegetables (some of which rather unseasonable, e.g. peppers) were grilled skilfully, the bamboo shoot notably offering chunky interest on the palate, and with the steamed rice possibly the best accomplished part of the dish.
The seafood salad was positively good. Fat prawns and scallops very fresh and chunky with just the right bite, in a well varied salad of tender greens. Definitely very pleasant.
To conclude, some fresh fruit and cheeses (our by then saint-like restraint continued and we skipped the Port), here a mature cheddar and a blue:
Excellent chocolates to finish, and the usual tea, coffe and so on. All washed over with some unlimited Crozes Hermitage La Petite Ruche 2007, M. Chapoutier, preceded by some Pouilly-Fume’ Les Pierres Blanches 2007, Domaine Masson-Blondelet, both of which were good.
The bill? Let’s say this will set you back quite a bit more than our £100 rule…but it is well worth it. Especially if it is not you who picks up the tab!
Service was smiling, sufficiently cheerful to alleviate our ridiculous fear of flying, helpful and efficient throughout. Our impression is that BA really put a lot of effort and intelligence into the catering part of its operation (apparently unlike some of its rivals). Its menus and wine lists are designed with the help of top experts, such as Jancis Robinson for wines and Michel Roux and Vineet Bhatia for food, just to name some. Our food experience on the flight from London was, if anything, even better.
We are real idiots: we don’t even get paid to say all this.