The Qantas First Lounge in Sydney has a well-earned reputation as a pre-flight haven for top-tier Frequent Flyers and those with a seat at the pointy end of the aircraft.
It regularly hosts musicians and actors (is that Ed Sheeran and Hugh Jackman?), has been the airport oasis of Hollywood royalty including Oprah and Ellen and genuine royalty (who shall remain nameless), offers a front row view of one of the world’s busiest airports and serves the finest Australian wines.
Once inside, guests can opt for a complimentary facial or perhaps a hydrating hands massage in the day spa before taking a seat at a front row table in the Neil Perry restaurant with floor to ceiling views of the tarmac.
Guests choose from an extensive a la carte menu offering a variety of dishes featuring the best seasonal ingredients. But the talent of our chefs is not limited to what’s on the menu.
Nothing is too much trouble and when they get thrown an order out of left field, the Neil Perry chefs see it as a personal challenge to deliver — no matter how unusual the request.
We asked our team to share some of the more memorable requests including the time an American business traveller requested the popular cheeseburger and fries but asked for the burger to be “extra extra” burnt and the fries “scorched and charred”.
Or the glamorous reality TV star who — at 5 in the morning — requested a hamburger with the lot and fries . . . and followed that up with a chocolate and vanilla ice cream sundae “mushed up” and topped with Oreo cookie crumbs.
We have one Frequent Flyer who always brings his own zip-lock baggie of Habanero chillies, which he diligently chops up and adds to the (already quite spicy) green chilli dipping sauce that accompanies our famous salt and pepper squid.
And then there was the visitor who politely requested four poached eggs deep fried with a side of chocolate dipped crispy bacon (from the belly only).
An increasingly popular trend is for a “naked and deconstructed burger”. We had one special request to replace the breakfast burger bun with two hash browns to “lower the carbs”.
Unsurprisingly, Champagne is the most popular beverage of choice, with the Sydney and Melbourne First Lounges consuming more than 200,000 bottles of bubbles each year.
Bloody Marys remain a popular cocktail choice, especially at breakfast. One Frequent Flyer regularly requests half a cup of freshly extracted ginger juice followed by a green vegetable smoothie and vinegar water. Staff get to work preparing that as soon as they see him enter the lounge.
While the menu changes seasonally, there are a number of items that remain permanently available due to popular demand, including the pavlova, salt and pepper squid and club sandwich. How you like them cooked is entirely up to you!