A Series of Afternoon Teas – The Raffles Grand Hotel d’ Angkor(Siem Reap) and The Majestic Hotel(Kuala Lumpur) Edition

The Raffles Grand Hotel d’ Angkor, Siem Reap

I flew into Siem Reap in the evening of October 30, 2018. I was going to attend the conference on “Globalising Your Practice: Opportunities and Challenges”, organized by the International Bar Association, LAWASIA, The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the European Lawyers’ Foundation, on November 1st. The flight I took was the only direct flight from Manila to Siem Reap that fit my schedule.

It was my second time in Cambodia so there was no pressure to go sightseeing. Instead, I slept in. About eight days earlier, I had returned from a two-week trip in Europe – a week of which was for the International Bar Association 2018 Annual Conference in Rome. After my return to Manila, I had to battle jetlag, work backlog, and deadlines before flying off to SIem Reap. My only itinerary for the day was to drop by Raffles Grand Hotel d’ Angkor, considered to be one of the best heritage hotels in the world.

I purposely woke up late and had a late breakfast, after which I took a nap. Around two in the afternoon, I left my hotel and walked about two kilometers to Raffles to work up an appetite for late lunch/afternoon tea.

Conservatory
The Conservatory

This sounds very cliché but stepping into the lobby of the hotel was like being transported back into another time. Even though the hotel was right smack in the midst of the commercial center of the city, its walls seemed to contain a different world. I asked where the Conservatory – where they served afternoon tea – and I was told it was right straight ahead.

The Conservatory had a view of the hotel’s pool. The atmosphere had a very colonial feel to it, made more palpable by the high ratio of white people whiling the afternoon away there. I took a seat near one of the windows to have a good vantage point from which to people-watch.

Raffles Tea
Raffles Local Khmer Tea

I asked for Raffles Local Khmer Tea(Street Stalls Selection:Local baguette, pork paté, pickled vegetables, coconut and spring onion rice pancakes with coconut sauce, fresh vegetable spring roll with lime and chili dressing. Sweet Selection: taro and sago coconut pudding, palm sugar and coconut dumpling, yellow bean cake. Ancient Traditions Selection: Glutinous roasted rice cake, slow cooked local banana with palm sugar caramel), instead of the traditional afternoon tea because, after all, I was in Cambodia. I paired the set with a Taste of Singapore Tea(“harmonious mix of Ceylon black tea, ginger mango and pineapple dices, passion fruit, and soursop flavoring). It was a very tropical afternoon tea.

The attention to detail was impeccable, which explained why it took some time to assemble and serve. Every morsel was placed on top a banana or palm leaf, moulded into small cups and held by pins. There were a lot of pins. Such attention demonstrates this hotel’s dedication to service.

Raffles Pool
Raffles Pool

Service was very warm and meticulous. Since I look Cambodian, the food attendants politely engaged me in conversation and in the process extracted information on where I was from and what I was doing in Cambodia. I may have also called to attention to myself as a lone diner who ordered a large meal and possibly being the youngest in that room. After discovering that I was Filipino, they also informed me that the front desk manager and the pianist, who plays during evenings, were also Filipino.

As I slowly gobbled up the pieces of food, the attendants occasionally checked on me if I needed anything. One of them asked me how the Khmer fare was compared to Philippine cuisine, and I said we use the same ingredients but use them differently. After tea, I walked on the balcony and decided to have a cocktail there.

Airavata
The Airavata

I ordered the hotel’s signature cocktail – the Airavata. Each Raffles hotel has its signature drink: Raffles Singapore has the world-famous Singaporean Sling, while Raffles Makati has the Makati Sling – which has gold flakes drizzled on it. “I’ve heard of the Makati Sling. Have you tried it?” asked the food attendant. “Yes, I have”, I replied. Maybe I should start a blog series on cocktails.

The Airavata( Rum, Malibu, Creme de Banane, Fresh Coconut Juice and Lime Juice) is described as a “refreshing cocktail x x x named after the mythical white elephant ridden by Indra, the Hindu King of Gods and Ruler of the Heavens. It’s told that once, Airavata sucked up water from the underworld and sprayed it into the clouds, which Indra then caused to rain forth as cool water for the earth”. It came in an elephant-shaped urn. For contrast, I was served fried green banana chips with pepper powder and fried sticky rice balls with paprika salt. I never knew that banana chips and pepper went so well.

The Filipino pianist, before starting his set, came by and introduced himself. We had a brief chat and discovered that we came from the same region in Mindanao and spoke the same dialect. Afterwards, I walked back to my hotel, slightly swaying and sweating heavily. Man, that was a strong cocktail.

The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Orchidarium
The Orchidarium

From Cambodia, I flew to Kuala Lumpur to visit a couple of friends who were a couple. On a lazy Sunday afternoon, my friend Kates, took me to The Majestic Hotel, also considered to be one of the best heritage hotels in the world. Kates tried to reserve a spot inside the hotel’s Orchidarium – a room filled with rows of orchids, a fancy greenhouse so to speak – but it was already fully booked.

“They offered me a spot in the Drawing Room instead” Kates said. “I’ve never been inside although I’ve seen it from the outside”. The Drawing Room felt very British, which makes sense because Malaysia used to be a British colony. We were seated near the window with a view of the lawn, where a small group of people were having a party while accompanied by two people playing a violin and a cello. They even had balloons.

Drawing Room
The Drawing Room

A group of Chinese ladies were already having their tea and were whispering and giggling. “I think I may be the only guy here” I observed. A little while later, a couple came in. “I think they are on a date” Kates noted.

We had the Traditional Afternoon Tea Set (Lemon Tart, Raspberry Tart, Chocolate Ganache, Eclair, Strawberries and Cream, Sandwiches- Salmon, Chicken, Turkey) which we paired with Darjeeling Tea. There was also a Box of Savouries(Seafood Bun, Chicken Roll, and Chicken Pie). I think our set perfectly matched the colonial atmosphere of the Drawing Room. The dark wood paneling and heavy curtains encouraged one to whisper, which Kates and I tried to do. But, as people from the Visayas and Mindanao, respectively, our voices were naturally louder.

Majestic Box of Savouries
Box of Savouries

“These are the largest scones I’ve seen so far” I said. I was used to perfectly cut and shaped scones. “Really? I thought these were normal” Kates replied. The food attendant, dressed in all white sailor-type long-sleeved shirt and pants ensemble, who was assigned to us, occasionally checked if our cups needed refilling and if dishes needed to be taken away. We were entitled to two refills of hot water and after that we had to order another pot. Since we were tea guzzlers, we asked for a refill. I appreciated the service given to us – unobtrusive but attentive.   The portions were quite generous and despite our considerable appetite, we could not finish everything.

We would have wanted to sit around more and ask for another refill but the sky was turning dark. After tea, we went off to look at colonialist architecture in Kuala Lumpur’s heritage area.

Majestic Tea
Traditional Afternoon Tea Set

 

 

 

 

 

Other afternoon tea experiences are here:

A Series of Afternoon Teas

 

 

 

Seven Business Class Seats on Emirates(Part 5)

On my return flight from New York to Manila in October 2016, I flew with Emirates. From New York to Dubai, I was on an Airbus A380 in Economy. It was a pleasant flight and I slept throughout most of it. I even had a pleasant chat with my seatmate who was on her first trip to Asia via Thailand. There was just a slight hitch when we were disembarking in Dubai.

The tube intended for Business Class and First Class passengers, who were all on the upper deck of the plane, was not working. So, they had to descend the grand staircase and use our tube. I was one of the first in line to get off the plane because I only had about an hour in transit time. But, our way blocked by the flight attendants so as to let the upper deck passengers disembark first. They took their sweet time.

The upper deck passengers leisurely went down the staircase and exchanged pleasantries and goodbyes with the cabin crew. One of the passengers was hugging and slapping the shoulders of the bursar. A toddler was also being coaxed to get down the stairs on his own. The flight attendants fawned over the kid. “This is very ‘Titanic’” I said loudly. My Economy cohorts who got the reference looked down and suppressed their smiles. The flight attendants gave us a commiserating glance and one of them said “Please hurry up” under her breath.

A lot of the passengers who died on the Titanic were third class. During evacuation, first class passengers were given priority and people from lower classes were not allowed to mingle with them on the lifeboats. “Don’t worry. One day, it will be your turn to fly in business class” my seatmate comforted me, while smiling slyly at my remark.

Fast forward to October 2018 and her prediction came true.

Three days before my flight from Manila to Rome, I received an email offering me a Business Class seat onboard an A380 for my Dubai to Rome leg for only 39,000 Skywards miles. At the time, I only had 36,000 miles. This was a very rare opportunity so I did not hesitate to pay USD90 for 3,000 additional miles. If your dream is within reach, it will not hurt to put in a little more effort, or expense.

Gate
Gate in the Business Class Lounge

As luck would have it, I arrived in Dubai via Building A after a 20-minute bus ride. All A380’s depart from Building A and from some gates in Building B. My Rome flight was going to be from Building A so I went straight to the Business Class lounge. Normally, if you get an upgrade through a discounted rate, you will not have lounge access. Since my Silver status had been restored after my Amsterdam to Manila flight in June 2018, I regained my lounge access. This was important because from the lounges in Building A, you have direct access to the upper decks of A380’s.

After hearing the boarding announcement, I went to the designated gate. There were two elevators, one for Business Class and First Class passengers and one for Economy Class passengers who had lounge access. I was joined by a man and a woman on the elevator. We gave each other small nods and smiles so as to acknowledge that, yes, we are in the same class. The elevator door opened on the upper tube that led directly into the upper deck of the plane. Yep, we were totally separated from the other passengers.

A380 SeatUpon entering the upper deck, the cabin crew greeted me with a hint of surprise. After a cursory glance at the other passengers, I realized I must have been the youngest in the cabin. Most of them would have been 15 to 30 years my senior. Before taking my seat, I snapped a photo of it. “Is this your first time with us?” asked the flight attendant. “My first time in business class on an A380” I replied. “Oh, this is much better” said the flight attendant with obvious pride. “After you settle in, maybe I could give you a tour later on?” “Sure, that would be great!”. She snapped a couple of photos of me.

I noted that it was on older aircraft based on the state of my screen and portable controller. I fiddled with the controls but the mouse on the screen would not budge. I began to plot to what seat I could transfer to. However, when the plane took off, the controls were functioning normally. I was also thrilled to have so much personal space and to try my own mini-bar, which had sodas, juices, and beer.

I had my usual welcome drink – champagne. After the seatbelt sign was turned off, I set my seat to fully flat. I was promptly offered a duvet, which I accepted. While I was lying on my back, a flight attendant knelt beside me and asked what I’d like to drink and what I’d like for lunch. Right away, I noticed that the service on this flight was more personalized. The lay-out of the seats must have had something to do with it. Having previously read the menu before the plane took off, I dictated my order from memory.

Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary

I asked for Bloody Mary because I read that this cocktail, as well as red wines, taste better up in the air. The altitude somehow affects our taste buds. When I took a sip, it was very tasty and not disgusting at all. I thoroughly enjoyed it that I decided to sip it very slowly while waiting for lunch to be served.

While I was in the midst of watching Deadpool 2, my appetizer was served. I had Salmon Gravadlax with Lemon Blinis and Cucumber complemented by Moghrabieh and Feta Salad. The cucumber gave a nice cool touch to the palate after the strong flavor of the salmon. The salad was too heavy for me. I was already half-full after finishing it all.

Salmon Gravadlax
Salmon Gravadlax

In keeping with my surf theme, I had Seafood Provencal (Fish, prawns, and scallops, with orange saffron broth, braised fennel, and new potatoes). I paired the dish with Chateau de Tracy Pouilly Fumé 2015. When the wine was served, the flight attendant asked if I wanted to try a little first to see if I liked it. I assured him I’ve had it before and told him to pour away. The Seafood Provencal was the best seafood dish I’ve had on Emirates. The ingredients were fresh, delicately cooked, and the flavors were balanced.

When a flight attendant came to clear away the dishes, I told her to cancel my order for dessert, which was a cheese platter. “Oh, that’s too bad” she said. “I’m so full already”. I just had green tea to cleanse my palate. After the movie, I took a nap. Since the flight was only five hours, I did not go into deep sleep because I still needed to see the famed onboard bar and lounge.

Seafood Provencal
Seafood Provencal

As I made my way towards the back of the plane, the flight attendant who greeted me when I first came on board saw me. “You want to see the bar?” she asked. “Yes, please”. “Follow me”. At the bar and lounge, some people were already having drinks and snacks. Networking had begun and business talk was the norm. Another flight attendant was mixing drinks at the bar. It was there I realized that the cabin crew were multitaskers. The one who did the mixing served me tea earlier.

“Would you like a photo inside the bar?”. “Yes!”. They brought out a polaroid camera and took a couple of shots of me. One of the passengers jokingly said “Can I have a glass of soda water please?”. Everyone chuckled. They also took photos of me with my phone. While waiting for my polaroids to develop, I was asked what I wanted to drink. “Do you have any mocktails?” “Yes, we do.” “What would you recommend?” “How about a Cucumber Spritz?” “Sure!” They handed the two photos to me in red cardboard frames(these are now on my office desk).

BarI sat on one of the mini-sofas while sipping my drink. It was very refreshing. I did not know that soda water and cucumber, with some lemon juice and mint leaves, could be so delicious. “Would you like another?” the bartender asked. “No, thank you. It was very good!”. I went to the toilet and availed of the Bulgari eau de toilette. I went back to my seat and started watching a movie. Right then, the captain announced that we were commencing descent.

Frames
Polaroids in frames

I took me an hour to get through immigration because the lines were so long. It took me some time to find my chauffeur. Yes, I had a chauffeur because Emirates gave me a free ride into Rome. The way I upgraded my ticket would not have entitled me to a chauffeur service but I was surprised that they activated this service in my Emirates app. Emirates had a tie-up with Blacklane in Rome. When I approached the Blacklane booth near the exit doors, I saw well-dressed men – wearing coats and ties – holding up signs. I said my name and the men, who were all older than me, gave me a surprised look. I must have been younger compared to their usual passengers. My driver, who later introduced himself as Giorgio, stepped forward and took my two bags. My driver was better dressed than I was.

Giogio
Giorgio and the car

It took us about ten minutes to get to the car. Giorgio asked me not to eat the sandwich, that I’d bought, inside the car because it might smell. As we drove, he asked where I was from and whether it was my first time in Rome. Our conversation started with the weather, places we’ve been to(he went to Mexico once because of a girl), and Roman history. He was genuinely pleased that I knew a lot about Roman history and some philosophy, so our conversation turned to historical revisionism. He took the route with a lot of scenery, pointed out monuments, and gave commentaries and recommendations. I began to wonder if he was once a professor – some people do quit the academe and live a carefree life – but tact kept my tongue in check. I did find out how much he loved his dog.

Inside Car
Inside the car

I was a bit nervous about my hotel’s location. I picked a decent boutique hotel but was not quite sure about the neighborhood. I did not want to arrive in a ghetto with a chauffeured car. And what would Giorgio think? Giorgio, however, said that I picked a very good and safe location. As we entered the neighborhood, I gave myself a pat on the back as I saw cafes and restaurants as well as wide and clean streets. Giorgio told me to wait in the cars he got out to look for the entrance of my hotel because the street it was on was cut off from non-resident vehicles. After he came back, he pointed out where the entrance of my hotel was. I handed him a tip and he was genuinely surprised.

I could definitely say that I arrived in Rome in style.

Seven Business Class Seats on Emirates (Part 4)

In May 2018, I found myself yet again traipsing around Europe – this time doing the Stockholm, Oslo, and Hague route. I decided to swing by Stockholm, because I’ve never been, before going to Oslo for the International Bar Association Mid-Year Meetings, and then to The Hague because I was invited to sit as a Bench Judge and Memorial Reviewer for the 2018 International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition organized by Leiden University.

I flew from Amsterdam to Dubai on Emirates Economy. I was worried if I would make it in time for my Dubai to Manila flight because my transit time was only a little over an hour. Based on experience, an hour is barely enough to get off the plane, clear through security, and make a mad dash through the humongous terminal. Since my flight was slightly delayed, I asked a flight attendant if I could still make it to my next flight. She assured me that my Dubai to Manila flight would wait for me. I was stressed once I landed in Dubai because the plane was parked far from the terminals and it took a 20-minute bus ride for us to be dropped off at Building B.

I managed to get through security quickly and looked at the information screens for my connecting flight. Good thing the boarding gate was in the same building and I knew where exactly the gate was. When I reached the gate, the economy passengers were still boarding. A female ground staff tapped my boarding bass on the scanner, which made a loud beep. She pressed a button and a business class boarding pass came out. She handed the boarding pass to me with a respectful nod. Naturally, I skipped the queue. At that time, my Silver status had expired a couple of days earlier and I was damn glad I still had the ability to skip lines.

I was very pleased to board a new Boeing 777-300ER. It meant brighter and sharper screens. The entertainment controls were seamless and I could watch and listen to whatever I wanted with just a tap on the screen or the portable controller. Ever since I’ve started flying in business class, I noticed that I developed a sense of entitlement – even though I never paid for these upgrades. I felt a slight irritation whenever something on my seat was slightly off or the controls had a slight glitch. I also got a little annoyed if the dish I first wanted had ran out and I had to settle for my second choice. Yes, luxury had bred a monster in me. During these moments, I slapped my inner self so that I would rouse from the throes of ungratefulness and petulance.

Continental Breakfast
Continental Breakfast

I had champagne for my welcome drinks as usual. I was later surprised to see that their menu now offered breakfast instead of lunch and I was not asked what I’d like to drink before breakfast. After an hour, I was served Continental Breakfast consisting of bread, yogurt, slices of fruit, jam, and a cup of finely brewed coffee. This must be part of Emirates’ revamp of their food service for they wish to ensure that their passengers would not get hungry throughout the flight. It is considerably a better replacement to their light snack option. Plus, passengers would have a better appetite in the latter part of the flight, which would be a good time to serve the main meal.

The breakfast was pleasant. I did not feel pressured to eat a three-course meal first thing in the morning. I sipped my coffee while watching “The Greatest Showman”. The noise-cancelling earphones were a great help during the singing parts. After finishing the movie, I decided to go to sleep. I had set my seat to fully flat mode when I was asked if I’d like a duvet. A duvet makes the flight more comfortable. Despite the strong coffee, my body gave in to exhaustion and I promptly fell asleep.

Smoked duck
Smoked Duck

I woke up because nature called. I jumped at the chance to once again generously sprinkle Bulgari eau de toilette on my wrists and neck. Apparently, I had woken up just in time because the crew had started the meal service. I was excited to try the food because I noted that the menu on this flight was totally new.

For appetizer, I had Smoked Duck served chilled with mango jelly, pickled beetroot, and asparagus. The duck was a bit tough yet tasty. The jelly, beetroot, and asparagus made a nice contrast to the smoky flavor of the duck. The salad had mozzarella balls in it. I was definitely hungry because the appetizer had accomplished its purpose, to whet my appetite.

Chicken with Moroccan Spices
Chicken with Moroccan Spices

My main course consisted of Chicken with Moroccan Spices served with tomato and lemon salsa, steamed broccoli and moghrabieh with olives. I paired them with Chateau La Nerthe Chàteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2016(dry and medium-bodied palate with flavors of honey, pear, peach and just a lick of spice). My only issue with the dish was that the sauce was a bit tepid. I would have liked it thicker, but then again, this was my first time to try Moroccan-inspired food. Everything was cooked well.

I looked at the dessert selection and decided to try the Passion Fruit Tart, the only item on the dessert selection that I haven’t tried. The first time I asked for it, it had run out. This time, when I ordered it, the flight attendant had to check first if it was still available, and since it was my lucky day, the tart was. The tart had a delicately balanced sweet-and-sour taste. The three dashes of cream added to the layer of taste. It went very well with the green tea. No wonder this dessert was a bit difficult to get.

Passion Fruit Tart
Passion Fruit Tart

This was the most pleasant flight on a Boeing 777-300ER I’d ever had so far. Service was excellent, as usual, and my experience was enhanced by the new entertainment and seat features. I slept well, the longest I’ve slept on a business class seat. Maybe, I was more relaxed that time because of my familiarity with the seat features. I was not pressured to try everything out. I already had a rhythm going on. Getting used to luxury is going to be the cause of my demise – very “Bonfire of the Vanities”.

I again wondered if it was going to be my last business class seat for some time. My heart once again sang to the universe, praying for a chance to fly business class on an Airbus A380. It is said to be an experience on a totally different level. The universe had granted my wish, many times, to fly business class on a Boeing, maybe it will deign to grant me this wish.

All I can say is, be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.

Seven Business Class Seats on Emirates (Part 3)

Hennesy
Hennesy XO Cognac

I decided to welcome 2018 in Madrid and spend my birthday in Lisbon. I came to this decision in October 2017 while in the midst of completing the last stages of my master’s degree and realizing that I’ve never been on a real vacation for some time. All my trips had an official or educational aspect to it. It’s been a while that I purely travelled for leisure. Since there were still a few months left in my Schengen visa, I decided to go for it.

I was supposed to fly home for Christmas but a typhoon got in the way. I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Century Park Hotel so as not to be completely miserable in my apartment. I was not inclined to listen to the reveling of my neighbors. Besides, my flight to Madrid was on December 27th so I considered it a vacation in preparation for another vacation.

Chick Pea Soup
Lemon and Chickpea Soup

While I was waiting for the boarding announcement, my name was called over the PA system. I approached the staff at the boarding gate. They asked for my Economy boarding pass and casually handed me a Business class boarding pass. Once I got back to my seat, I took to social media to brag about the upgrade and called my sister.

We boarded an old Boeing 777-300ER. As in my previous flight, the touch screen did not work well so I had to make do with the portable console. If you intentionally fly business class, you pay the same price regardless if the plane is old or new. Well, I got my seat for free, so there was no point on griping. Any business class seat is better than an economy seat.

Pinatisang Manok
Pinatisang Manok

After finishing my welcome champagne, I asked for Hennesy XO Cognac and watched Groot dance in the opening scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I had selected Lemon and Chickpea Soup with Focaccia Croutons for appetizer, which was served with garlic bread and a salad. While the soup was being served, a flight attendant saw what I ordered and she smiled and said “Good choice!” and made a smacking gesture with her hand and mouth. Since I am in constant need of validation, I was flattered by the affirmation of my good taste.

Emirates had started to incorporate regional elements in their menu. I decided to try Pinatisang Manok(braised chicken in fish sauce served with steamed rice and vegetables stewed in coconut milk) and paired it with Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-Du-Pape Blanc 2015. I noticed that they used Thai fish sauce on the chicken. The dish was similar to Hainanese Chicken rice – which could have been the inspiration. For dessert, I asked for a Selection of Pastries: carrot and pecan cake, chocolate brownie, and fruit choux. The carrot and pecan cake was quite rich and went well with the tea.

Selection of desserts
Selection of Pastries

After a short nap, I put on Spiderman: Homecoming. For light snack before landing, I was served Fried Prawns with Sesame Seeds served with Egg Fried Rice and Sweet Chili Sauce. It was tasty and I wanted to have more. I don’t know if it was allowed to ask for seconds though. The cabin crew were very busy during meal service and I did not want to appear greedy. Besides, I could always gorge myself with the buffet offerings in the Dubai business class lounges.

Fried Prawns with sesame seeds
Fried Prawns with Sesame Seeds

As usual, service was excellent which made up for the not so perfect entertainment system.

Negroni
Negroni

For my return flight, I flew from Lisbon to Dubai. I spent a good six hours in the business class lounge in Building A, Terminal 3 – the glitziest and least crowded among the Emirates business class lounges. An hour before the scheduled departure, I took the train to Building B and walked from one end to another to get to my gate. When I arrived, they were already admitting Economy class passengers and the queue was quite long. I heard one of the staff call out for business class passengers as well as Platinum, Gold, and Silver Skywards members. I skipped the line and went directly to the gate.

The guy inspecting the boarding passes noticed that the machine did not recognize my boarding pass. He pressed a button and a Business class boarding pass came out. “Business class” he said while staring at me, bewildered. He must have wondered who I was and I would have replied “ I am no one”.

Mezze
Traditional Arabic Mezze

After my usual champagne, I asked for a Negroni(Sipsmith London Dry Gin on the rocks with Martini Rosso and Campari). While waiting for lunch, I went to the business class toilets but they were full. I headed to the Economy section and parted the curtain between the two worlds. One of the Economy toilets was available. As I went back to the portal into Business class, I heard someone say loudly “He’s in business class, why is he using the toilet in Economy?”. I would have preferred to be in a Business class toilet so that I could douse myself with variants of Bulgari eau de toilette.

Grilled Beef
Grilled Beef Steak

For appetizer, I had Traditional Arabic Mezze(Spinach bil zeit, labneh, houmous, and stuffed vine leaves) served with salad and bread. I’ve seen this item on every business class menu on Emirates and I thought it was high time I tried it. It was delicious. I’m used to eating ground grains but I was surprised by the strong flavors. It was also my first time to eat grape leaves.

The main course selection was the usual Emirates business class fare. I was a bit hungry so I had Grilled Beef Steak served with green pepper sauce, steamed green beans, and potato cakes with truffle and fittingly paired it with Chateau La Marzelle 2006(“a powerful nose with scrubland aromas, savoury red berry fruit, black tea, black pepper, and cedar, The palate is medium bodied with supple tannin, persistent sweet black cherry, fruit and a distinct earthiness”). For dessert, I again had chocolate truffle cake with cherry compote.

Savouries 2
Selection of Savouries

I slept throughout most of the flight and woke up just in time for light snacks. I ordered a Selection of Savouries: Hoisin Chicken Drummettes, prawn dumplings, and lemon grass chicken parcels and orange juice. In terms of food selection, I took the safe route and had the things that I’ve tried before. The plane was an old Boeing 777-300ER but I had already gotten familiar with getting around the defective entertainment system controls.

When I got off the plane, I thought it would be the last time I’d fly Business class for some time. I did not know there would still be another.