In perhaps the greatest new development of the already great Tom Bradley International Terminal makeover at LAX, oneworld (in this case Qantas, Cathay Pacific, and British Airways) has opened their brand new business class lounge at LAX and it’s a stunner. The space itself is great, but the food… ah, the food. Last time we checked in on the oneworld Lounge at LAX, it was a bit of a letdown — especially for a First Class lounge. The new lounge erases all of those memories and more. The best part? It’s only halfway done.
By 2015, the whole space will double in size, leading to an enlarged buffet area, more seating, and room for over 600 passengers. The First Class Lounge will also open at that time and be modeled after the award-winning Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney with a full a la carte restaurant from Neil Perry’s Rockpool group. I can’t wait.
So what can you expect from the food at the new lounge? A lot. Created by longtime Qantas consultant (and Aussie rock star chef) Neil Perry, the food offerings are not only extensive, they’re rapidly replaced and bring the word “fresh” to mind more than any other airport lounge I’ve visited.
Let’s start with the salads. Sure, you’ve got your traditional green salad, but you also have a wonderful couscous creation with citrus, coriander (read: cilantro), and cranberries. There’s a quinoa salad with feta, spinach, and semi-dried tomatoes. I know. I’ve never seem “semi-dried tomatoes,” either, but they work just fine and could be found in a beautifully vibrant tomato salad further down the buffet with basil. Just look at that stunner…
There was also a German potato salad with bacon, a long bean salad with roasted hazelnuts and orange dressing, chickpeas with tomato and salami, and roasted portobello mushrooms with barley. Like I said, a really nice collection of salads.
It’s interesting to note that the hot food was not nearly as successful as the cold options. You could have a pasta that lacked flavor, a beef stew that was a bit heavy for LA, heavily spiced roasted chicken, and a creamy soup. The best option was a ratatouille-esque dish of stewed vegetables.
Now you may think I’m burying the lede here, but one of the coolest options at the new lounge is Neil Perry’s “street food” carts. Two stations are set up: one with hot dogs, the other with tacos. Just a warning: your hot dog is going to be a little odd. I don’t know where Perry got the inspiration, but these dogs have black beans, onions, spicy salsa, guacamole, and half a hot dog on a really thick bun. It was… strange.
The tacos were better. There are two options here — shredded pork that tasted more like a tinga than carnitas and fish tacos that seem to have a Japanese panko breading. The major issue with the tacos is that they’re served on cold, uncooked tortillas and that’s just not a great choice. I think some things got lost in translation with an Aussie making Mexican food (and hot dogs with Mexican flavors), but I applaud the effort nonetheless.
Finally, let’s talk about the best thing this lounge has to offer: dessert. Huge trays of tiramisu, bold key lime pie, raspberry cheesecake with an Oreo-like crust. There was even a fruit salad that not only eschewed the traditional apples/oranges/bananas you find at other lounges, it actually had fresh, seasonal fruit! Ripe crimson cherries! Blueberries! Strawberries! Pineapple! Quite impressive.
This is a great new development for LAX and I can’t wait to fly international on one of the oneworld carriers so I can experience it as a passenger and not just as part of a media preview visit.
What are you most excited to try at this lounge?