Woke up at half passed five in the morning, I immediately went to the kitchen to get me my glass of hot tea that Mom made. The bathroom was occupied, so I waited at the living room, sipping on the hot beverage and browsing through some my Dad's roommate's Japanese comics. I didn't grab anything to munch because I know, if I did, I wouldn't be able to stop. Dad came out of the bathroom, letting me use it to get myself clean. In a few minutes, my Mom and I were going to go back to our hometown, while Dad would navigate an aircraft to Dhaka, Bangladesh. "Ket," my Dad called out, "Doha - Jakarta flights have great selection of airplane meal". Man, you can't imagine how ready my stomach is for breakfast.
Flash forward as I hopped into the aircraft, I immediately grabbed the menu and read it thoroughly. As I opened the first page of the fancy-looking menu, I was welcomed with four gentlemen in their chef uniform. There were Chef Vineet Bhatia, Chef Ramzi Choueiri, Chef Tom Aikens, and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. These chefs are famous and highly skilled, they were even awarded with Michelin Stars. Combine Michelin Starred Chefs with Five-star Airline and what would you get? Incredible dinning experience, of course!
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice & Laban
Mom had a glass of Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice, while I had me a glass of Laban. In Qatar Airways, when they said "Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice", it is freshly squeezed Orange Juice. It's zesty and thirst-quenching, not to mention there are pulps in it. What more awesome that fresh orange juice to start the day?
Laban is Arabic for Yogurt. The Laban that I had during my flight from Doha to Jakarta was more watery than the usual yogurt that you can find in the supermarket. It didn't have any flavor, although I could taste a hint of sour in it, and it was pretty light. I would settle for another round if they were serving Strawberry Flavored Laban.
Breakfast Bakery Basket: Croissant, Blueberry Muffin, Arabic Bread, Brown and White Toasts
Blueberry Muffin was the first of the warm bakery products that I devoured from the Breakfast Bakery Basket. It was delicious! The muffin was vanilla, but there was a hint of banana also. There were not as many blueberries as I thought they would be, which is good because I'm not a big fan of baked blueberry. The muffin was delicious and stomach-stuffing.
One of the stewardess, who happen to be an Indonesian named Gadis, offered me some jams to eat the bread with. There were Strawberry Jam, Blueberry Jam, Honey, and Marmalade Jam. I choose the Marmalade Jam because it's the only fruity spread that I fancy.
Later on, I proceed in munching the Brown and White Toasts with some butter spread. They were delicious and plain savory. The Breakfast Bakery Basket was served warm and soft. Simply delightful.
Roasted Bell Pepper Frittatas, with Zucchini Potato Rösti, Grilled Chicken Patty, Cherry Tomatoes, and Herbed Cream Sauce
Roasted Bell Pepper Frittatas was one of the main course available on board. Mom ordered a plate and, soon, a stewardess named Nur served it on her table. The presentation was very appealing, the food were nicely organized and the dinning utensil was spotless. The dish came with a slice of grilled chicken, potato, and crisps leaves. Mom's breakfast looked savory and palatable, I was an inch close to change my meal like hers.
Gravlax and Lemon Scented Prawn, with Crisps Leaves, Caviar, Gruyére, and Dill Cream Cheese
The thing about Qatar Airways' airplane meal is that they come in components, or courses, like at those fancy restaurants that you see on Tv. Gravlax and Lemon Scented Prawn was the next thing that I had, which was the appetizer. It consisted of seafood, crisps leaves, and cheese. One of them was lemon scented prawn, with caviar on top, on a bed of dry bread. In between the prawn and the bread was Dill Cream Cheese that tasted creamy and sour. The Lemon Scented Prawn was sweet, but not that sweet, and it reeked of lemon.
The only thing that I know about Caviar is that it costs an arm and a leg. I have no idea what kind of fish produce such roes other than the sturgeons. Compared to Salmon roes, Caviar is way smaller and they are black in color. Salmon roe is very fragile and easy to burst, pinch it with your tongue and the liquid inside would leaked immediately, but not Caviar. I'm no expert of fish roes, but I would say that Caviar was very enjoyable and light, and the liquid inside it was not fishy, nor sickening.
"I have no idea what Gravlax is," is the only thing that popped out in my mind as I read the menu. I decided to give it a try though, but still, I had no idea what I ate. The fish was topped with a pair of plump Salmon roe, which I ate first because I'm not a big fan of the fishy liquid inside it. Then I proceed to unwrap the fish-based petals and dig in. It was very delicious, not fishy at all, very light and soft, and savory. I enjoyed every single bite of it!
Nobu Fruit Plate (Chef Nobu's Artwork)
Nobu Fruit Plate was what Mom had next. It consisted of Melon, Mango, Kiwi, Rambutan, Tamarillo (or what we Indonesians refer as Terong Belanda), Green Grapes, Pitaya, Blueberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, and Raspberries. They looked beyond juicy and sweet, I couldn't help but to salivate.
Banana Crêpe with Chocolate Sauce, with Strawberry and Creme Frâiche
A plate of crepe is my main course. The crepes were thin, yet it has some density in it, and cooked along with some ripe bananas. They were served with a scoop of sour cream, fresh and juicy strawberries, mint leaves, and chocolate sauce. I immediately drizzled them banana crepes with some sweet chocolates and started munching. They were the definition of breakfast! As soon as I finished my fried batter, I dipped the strawberries onto the chocolate syrup and indulged myself.
Grilled Teriyaki Salmon
The menu said that main dishes were to be accompanied with Corn Fritters, Grilled Teriyaki Salmon, or Chicken Seekh Kebab. I see nothing wrong in having crepes with fish, so I asked the stewardess for some Grilled Teriyaki Salmon. Gadis, the stewardess, came with a small plate with a couple grilled salmon on it. "Since you had a sweet main course, I took the advantage of serving the savory salmon on a separated plate," she said thoughtfully.
The Grilled Teriyaki Salmon is my favorite dish during breakfast. They were perfectly grilled and bathe in Teriyaki sauce. The flavor was perfectly balanced, not too sweet, nor too savory. What I love the most is the crispy skin attached on the fish, as they were very delightful and deliciously addicting.
I ended my breakfast with a glass of Cafê Latte. The coffee was foamy and it tasted bitter, yet left an acidic aftertaste. Brown sugar was served instead of creamer or white sugar. I dipped on cube of brown sugar, but the coffee was still too bitter for me, so I dipped another. I enjoyed the coffee with some in-flights entertainment.
Hours after hours passed. It was a nine hours flight and I kept myself busy by watching movies or continuously going to the lavatory. The sun set and the sky got dark. Soon, it was time for dinner and I could feel my stomach is empty once more.
King Crab Taco (Chef Nobu's Artwork)
A small portion of King Crab and Taco shells for appetizer. Both food combined tasted like salty dumplings. I'm not a big fan of the Taco shells because they were fragile and airy, when they were supposed to be crunchy and savory. Them King Crab was nice, but not like how I expected it would tasted like, which is sweet and soft.
Lemon with Mint
Lemon with mint is the second cold beverage that I always order during flight, after mineral water. This particular drink is sour, yet sweet and very refreshing. It comes with a leaf, or two, of mint, and the leaf itself is eatable and minty in flavor.
Cauliflower Soup, with Créme Frâiche and Spiced Cheese Straws (Chef Tom's Artwork)
Mom had a bowl of creamy Cauliflower Soup and Spiced Cheese Straws. This dish right here is one of Chef Tom's masterpiece and it tasted nice. I tasted a spoonful of the soup, it was creamy and tasted like how cauliflower tasted like. The Spiced Cheese Straws, on the other hand, was puffy and crispy. I dipped the pastry into the soup and indulged.
Bakery Basket: Laugen, Onion, Sourdough, and wholemeal roll
What caught my attention was the Laugen Roll. Laugen Roll, you see, is like Pretzel without sprinkles of sea salt on it. It share the same texture and flavor with Pretzel, which is hard as a rock and savory. I only had the Laugen Roll from the Bakery Basket because the other dinner rolls were not as attractive as the Bavarian-origin bread. Butter and salt were the perfect companion for the brown-skinned roll.
Gong Pao Tofu, with Steamed Rice, Stir Fried Sugar Snap Peas, and Shiitake Mushroom with Celeriac Salad
Mom had a plate of Gong Pao tofu for dinner, a traditional dish from China. The dish came with sliced Shiitake Mushroom and stir fried peas, and a small bowl of creamy and juicy salad. It seemed that Mom was a bit hungry that night because she managed to finish the whole dish. She didn't even left any rice on the plate!
An individual selection of Butterfly Prawns, Sliced Tuna, and Oak Smoked Salmon, with Toasted Brioche, Apple Turnip Salad with Lemon and Horseradish Cream
I had me some more seafood for appetizer. Ms. Gadis, the stewardess that kept spoiling me during the flight, came with the bright colored dish. On my plate was a small bowl decorated with Apple Turnip Salad that was topped with Butterfly Prawns, Sliced Tuna, and Oak Smoked Salmon. As a person who loves Sashimi, or fresh raw fish, I enjoyed my appetizer very much.
I loved both Oak Smoked Salmon and Sliced Tuna! Those fish were creamy and soft, and they didn't smell foul. The Butterfly Prawns were also delicious, but they were not as sweet as I thought it would be. The Apple Turnip Salad underneath the seafood was juicy and very refreshing, and surprisingly tasted good when you eat it with the crunchy Brioche.
Pistachio and Mango Ice Cream, with summer berries
Surprisingly, after those Gong Pao Tofu and Cauliflower Soup, Mom still had some room left in her stomach and decided to have a dessert. She had some ice cream and summer berries. The presentation was simple, yet beautiful. My Mom is a not a heavy eater, and I was amazed by the fact that she finished three dishes in a row.
Seared fillet of Cod and Ginger Butternut Purée, with lemon, pine nut, and sage butter (Chef Tom's Artwork)
Fish is what I had next for dinner. The main course came with bowl of mixed boiled nuts, such as Red Beans, Chick Peas, and Chinese Long Beans. The Cod was well-cooked and nicely spiced, the broth came out from the fish as I press the soft white meat with a knife. As delicious the fish was, eaten with sliced potatoes and Purée, I couldn't help but to think that it would probably tasted more delicious with some warm rice.
Macana (Chef Nobu's Artwork)
The word "Macana" was written on the menu, with no explanation on what it was or what it consisted of. It is said that this dessert is one of Chef Nobu's masterpiece. As a curious gastronomer that I am, I decided to abandon ice cream and fresh fruits to go with this peculiar dish.
As Ms. Gadis marched towards my seat, I could feel an excitement building up in me. The more closer she got, the more my view of the dessert became unclouded. On her hand was a tray with a crystal clear glass on it. The glass was filled with numerous objects with different colors. "Is that a Macana," I thought to myself. "Here's your Macana, Ms. Kinan," said the Indonesian steward. Dilated pupils and dropped jaw were what decorated my face. I glanced at my Mom and she glanced back at me with "Wow" written on her forehead. It turned out that she had been observing the dessert as well.
At the top of the glass was a thin black object, which I assume was sugar glazed sesame seed. It was nailed on chunk of snow flakes. Underneath it was a round thin crispy chocolate, and on its' sides was fresh Raspberries and diced sponge cake. At the bottom of the glass was white creamy substance mixed with thick orange liquid. I certainly had no idea on what kind of dessert it is, nor how to eat it.
I didn't know how to eat it, so I savor each component first before I indulge the rest of it. It turned out that the snow flakes was lemon sorbet, the sponge cake was soaked in ginger water, that the white substance at the bottom of the glass was white chocolate mouse, and the orange liquid was mango cream.
I browsed the web for macana and found a website for Chef Nobu's restaurant in London. It is said that Macana consisted of: White Chocolate Mouse, Pistachio Charged Sponge, Mango Cream, and Kalamanzi Sorbet and that the dessert costs £ 10.50 or around Rp170.000,00. That is one expensive dish I had as complimentary.
Cheese Plate: Mature Cheddar, Fourme d'Ambert, and Brie le Maubert, with Prune Cake and Dried Apricots
My dinner soon would come to an end. The only meal that I haven't order was the Cheese Plate, that consisted of three kinds of cheese, fruit products, and crackers.
Mature Cheddar: This cheese had a rather stiff and brick-like texture compared to the other two. It had a very strong and sharp sour flavor, yet still milky and savory.
Fourme d'Ambert: Share a similar physical appearance with the infamous Blue Cheese, Fourme d'Ambert tasted delicious and enjoyable. I was expecting a painful and excruciating un-delightful flavor, but it turned out fine and quite delicious.
Brie le Maubert: The creamiest cheese among the three. The cheese was tasty and went well with some crackers.
I didn't quite like the Prune Cake because it tasted sour and odd. The dried Apricots were sweet and delightful though.
Kopke, Colheita - 1974
Douro Valley, Portugal
What's the point of Cheese-tasting without some wine? I browsed the wine menu and decided to have a wee bit of Kopke. To me, all wine tasted like cherry-flavored cough syrup, but this particular wine that I drank didn't taste as sharp and cherry-like as the wine that I usually have during mass. I managed to finish the drink and landed safely at Jakarta. I'm pretty sure that I have a good tolerance to alcohol, yet Kopke made me tipsy.
Incredible, right, the love child of Michelin Starred Chefs and Five-start Airline? Dad didn't lie when he told me that there would be great airplane meal on Doha - Jakarta flights, because I had a fantastic time during my nine hour flight to Jakarta.