Here’s The Menu & Wine List For My Upcoming Flight In The Etihad Residence

I’m shortly going to be flying in the Etihad Residence from Abu Dhabi to Sydney, which I’m super excited about. This is Etihad’s private three room suite with butler service at the front of the A380 upper deck, and it’s supposedly the pinnacle of commercial aviation.

Etihad-A380-First-Class-24

I’d like to think I got a good deal on this, especially since my booking came with two nights in a specialty suite at the swanky Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi (well, after a bit of back and forth).

While I’m sure I’ll be giddy the entire flight, I’m still skeptical of the overall Residence experience, given how good Etihad is at hype. Etihad Residence passengers can make special requests, and I’m still trying to decide what special requests I plan on making.

Anyway, Etihad has sent over the menu and the drink list for my flight from Abu Dhabi to Sydney, and I figured I’d share it here. I’ve flown Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment many times before, so was curious to see how the selection compared in the Residence.

Here’s the menu for the flight:

Menu1 Menu2 Menu3 Menu4

And here’s the drink list:

Residence-Wine
Residence-Wine-1

If you’ve flown Etihad first class before, this might look familiar. It appears as if Etihad’s menu and wine list for first class and the Residence are identical, with two exceptions (someone correct me if I’m wrong):

On one hand I’m a bit surprised there isn’t more differentiation. Then again, Etihad’s menu can be customized quite a bit, and perhaps if you’re in the Residence you have the advantage of getting your first choice, so they won’t run out of things, as sometimes happens in first class. 😉 Furthermore, I guess I should request a few things in advance, which I’m still trying to decide on.

What do you make of Etihad’s Residence menu and drink list? Is it what you expected, or are you surprised it’s not more differentiated?

Comments

  1. I agree that there’s not much differentiation. I’d ask for Krug 2002 or something like that, along with any dishes you might enjoy. Actually I’d probably ask if the chef can come up with a tasting menu with wine pairings that incorporates seasonal ingredients.

    One other point about the Champagne. The wines are not just from different vintages; they selected not the standard 2004 but the 2004 Blanc de Blancs, meaning that the wine is made solely from Chardonnay grapes. Otherwise, Champagne is made from a combination of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. Champagne that is exclusively from one grape (Blanc de Blancs = 100% Chardonnay, Blanc de Noirs = 100% Pinot Noir) is of a much higher quality. That is what accounts for the price discrepancy, not the difference in years, in this case. Their choice is of a high caliber and is even better than the standard Krug Grande Cuvee or 2006 Dom Perignon.

  2. The wines are mediocre at best. Qatar occasionally serves Y’quem (in its own class as far as dessert wines go) and Air France has Taittinger comtes de champagne (which is my fave).Very disappointing food and wine list.Hope the bed is at least comfortable.

  3. Save the wine rating for narrow minded, financially driven individuals like RP. These are all very good wines and it’s a matter of preference which is better. They are all immensely different from each other. I for one would prefer a NV Krug over either. Now we wait for some hipster to come on and talk about how Selosse makes the best champagne hands down. This wine rating stuff is so absurd.

  4. That’s a pretty poor champagne selection in first class. Let alone what I would expect from all of the hype EY has about the residence.

  5. Love the comments so far!!!! Part of the fun of reading Ben’s posts: people actually know their wines

  6. I only care for champagne and red wine and the list did not impressed me at all. Agree it is not about price but still these are very cheap wines for what is supposed to be the best first class in the air. Among 4 red wine options 2 are blend and fairly new vintages.

  7. I had a $25 ice tea at the Emirates Palace hotel yesterday. It was worth it! Delicious and a great presentation to boot!

    Other than that, the hotel is soulless and I truly felt guilty staying there.

  8. Cutting corners. To be expected.

    Their introduction letter was already so poorly written to you. Attention to detail seems to be lacking.

    Have a great experience.

  9. Cathay used to be great, now they are just ok. This is about 3 levels down from CX’s offerings overall.

    Some price quotes from Wine Searcher Pro (lowest worldwide retail price listed, in US $). Most aren’t available at retail in the US

    Fraser Gallup Partere Chardonnay 2015 $20 in Australia
    Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc 2016 $14 in the UK
    St. Michael-Eppan Anger Pinot Grigio 2015 $11 in Germany

    Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reseve 2011 $14 in Spain ($19 in US)
    Croix de Beausejour 2011 (couldn’t find the 2012) $19 in Netherlands
    Stellenrust Peppergrinder Stellenboch 2014 (2015 not listed) $22 in Poland
    Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir 2014 $23 in US

    The Billecart Salmon Blanc de Blanc came up with one store in France at $65, but most are around $105.

    While there are many great wines that I love that are inexpensive (Peppiere Muscadet, many Cru Beaujolais), the still wines above are not among them

  10. Good evening, Ben

    I would be so grateful if you tried the truffle chicken appetizer. I *love* truffle chicken. It has such a delicate flavor that I am now very curious to know how well it fares at 30,000 feet.

    For your special request, someone suggested asking for a preflight walkabout of the plane with a member of the flight crew. This is a splendid idea! Getting up close and personal (sort of) with an a380?? Yes, please!

    Now for my expert opinion of the wine list: 2004 Billecart-Salmon or 2016 Boones Farm Apple, it’s all swill to me.

  11. If I were flying the Residence as a paying customer I would very strongly consider bringing two bottles of my own Champagne from the airport’s duty free. I would really want to be sipping my favorite bubbly rather than the “great value for the price” choice. Considering how arabs are obsessed with the bling factor they should serve at least Dom and Krug in the Residence. I had Salon on several occasions in JAL F and that’s still the most treasured airplane champagne experience.

  12. Highly subjective, but for me 2004 blanc de blanc BS (Billicart Salmon) isn’t a patch on NV Krug. I’d like Lucky to request it just to see how they turn him down. BTW Krug 2002 in LHR T5 only £185 – must be a mistake as duty free in LHR is normally more expensive than UK shops. Get buying before they realise!!!

  13. Looks like some people sorta beat me to it, but Billecart’s vintage blanc de blanc is actually a different wine than their vintage brut. The BdB bottling is better, and they make MUCH less of it. I think of this bottling as similar in quality (but obviously very different styles) as Dom P, Krug, etc.

    If you want to make an interesting request, and keep everything within the Billecart family, you could ask them to get a bottle of Billcart’s Clos St. Hillaire, which is their 100% pinot noir bottling and is their rarest wine. If you can find it, it is usually $300-400 and is a special champagne. They should be able to do this since it seems like they have a relationship with Billecart.

  14. I think we should reserve judgment on the menu/drink list until the special requests are made. TPG had a thanksgiving dinner as the residence passenger. Gary at VFTW discusses ad nauseam the ability to customize your food in such a way that isn’t duplicated by other airlines. I feel like the entire premise of the residence is that you direct the service not the airline. Maybe the menu can be considered a starting point.

  15. I’m a whisky guy, and I’m pretty surprised at the options here – worse than business class on many carriers. I’d at least expect Johnnie Walker Blue or something from Macallan or Dalmore, given that they’re the most commonly visible status symbol whiskies.

  16. All that money and hype, and the best they can come up with is variations of chicken? That’s really sad. I would have expected at least a lobster dish and maybe a filet.

  17. I still find it surprising that the best American Whiskey (or Bourbob) that is offered in F on many airlines is Jack Daniels.

    Even Delta offer Woodford Reserve in economy.

  18. Agreed with the others that the wine list is simply laughable relative to the Residence’s price tag. Dear Etihad, Applebee’s called they’re missing their wine list.

  19. @Lucky and presented in the FWIW Dept. —> I was in the wine trade for more than 40 years, both here in California and internationally. So here’s my opinion on the wines, and — please — feel free to take my comments with how many ever grains of salt you deem appropriate . . .

    1) Billecart-Salmon. They have been around for 199 years, and are truly something special! While an occasional *specific* Rosé Champagne will be better than Billecart’s nv Brut Rosé, no other non-vintage Brut Rosé comes close — this wine is consistently outstanding. (That’s why we could grey-market so much of it!) Their 2004 Brut Blanc de Blancs is a Grand Cru and produced from 100% Chardonnay from the very top villages in the Côtes de Blancs. Again, consistently, one of the finest vintage-dated Brut BdBs in the marketplace. I would be extremely pleased to drink either one of these throughout the entire flight, and indeed have several bottles of both the Brut Rosé and (2006) Brut BdB in my cellar.

    THAT SAID, once you move beyond the bubbles, I fear the list drops off considerably. It isn’t that the wines are bad by any means, but were I flying in the Residence — or even Ethihad’s FC suites — I’d be highly disappointed in ALL of these wines . . . particularly were I paying for the ticket(s). Of the whites, I’d opt for the Craggy Range SB, presuming it would accompany my meal, or the Alsatian Riesling. Neither are mind-blowing, however. Margaret River Chardonnay can be exquisite — take Leeuwin Estate for example — but this one is OK. And what can you say about Italian Pinot Grigio?

    The reds are all too young! For example, I have half a dozen of the 2011 Marquis de Murrietta Rioja Reserva in my cellar, but I’m *drinking* the 2001 and 2004 vintage — and, again, for the price of the ticket, I’d expect more. Calera produces some extraordinary Pinots, but the Calera “Central Coast” Pinot Noir is their “entry level” wine and — while good — isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. Croix de Beauséjour is the estate’s second label. The estate itself is a very good one, but why they choose the *second* label is a mystery to me. And since Stellenbosch has never been my favorite source for Syrah, I’d pas on this one.

    I’ve had several excellent bottles of Château Romer du Hayot over the years, but this one is so young yet. I’d opt for the Novel 10 Year Tawny Porto. And I’d definitely have some of the Cognac, even though Rémy Martin isn’t my favorite house.

  20. Far too small to read on a phone, and it’s not worth the bother of clicking every image – twice – so I can expand them. But thanks anyway.

  21. @Brendan — a) Jack isn’t Bourbon, and b) it’s the largest selling whiskey in the world. That said, I wouldn’t expect that *either* in the Residence or even FC. They serve Jack in Coach; Maker’s, too. For something like the Residence, yes, Woodford’s would work. So, too, something like Blanton’s, Booker’s, etc. But definitely not Jack!

  22. These comments are hilarious, wine is all the same to me haha. *sorry*.

    Anyway, Etihad doesnt serve caviar in business nor in First? Really?

    How cheap are they…

  23. @schar —>”These comments are hilarious, wine is all the same to me haha. *sorry*.”

    Why be sorry? Wine isn’t the most important thing on the planet, even to the people who are deadly serious about it, or who have made a reasonably good living from it. But not everyone is “into” wine, just like not everyone is into football or baseball or politics or live theater or . . . or . . . or . . . but for those of us who ARE into wine — just like any hobby or vocation — it matters to us. Can we live without it? Of course we can! But is it better to drink a good wine than a bad one? Absolutely! And is it better to drink a great wine than a good one? Absolutely!

  24. I am still crapping myself from the #2 conversation and now this! So I propose a complete mashup; Do us all a favor, drink the most expensive beverages they serve you, eat until you are ready to explode, then do the #2 for all of us. Report back here in 24 hours. I can’t wait.

  25. A better vintage Billecart is nice, those who think Krug or Dom are better without mentioning which vintage don’t know what they’re drinking. Yes some vintages of Krug are better than Billecart, but the NV Krug is no comparison to a 2004 Billecart.
    Other airlines offer Caviar (some used to offer Beluga, not sure if any still do) in F, so for a product above F this isn’t a big deal.
    I’d like to see Kagoshima A9+ Wagyu, Uni, Hokkaido Scallops, Jamon Iberico, Culatello, Sicily Red Prawns, Phuket Blue Lobster, U10 Gulf Prawns, O-Toro, Foie Gras, Alba Truffles, Amedi Chocolate, Hereford Asparagus, Jerusalem Artichoke etc etc. for this level of service.
    I’ve flown EY F many times, and based on the menu I’d never bother to upgrade.

  26. Also….

    Got to love how a Saint Emilion is called a “Merlot”!!

    As someone who won’t touch New World wines, I’m in fits.

  27. @K4 —> that’s OK, I go into fits whenever anyone makes some HUGE blanket generalization such as saying, “As someone who won’t touch New World wines…”

    I spent my entire 40+ year career in the wine trade based in California. I have worked for California wineries, for retailers, wholesalers, importers, and in restaurants. My cellar, however, is filled with roughly 90 percent imported wine, ALL of which originates from Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Lebanon. The remaining 10 percent is composed of wines from both California and Washington State — overwhelmingly from the 20th century and in roughly equal proportions; and I’d say that almost all of those are produced more in an “Old World” style (as opposed to Parkerized fruit bombs).

    We all have our own personal palate preferences, which is — of course — crucial, and *highly* personal. But I would NEVER say that I wouldn’t touch (e.g.) Australian, or Chilean, or South African, or Israeli, or English, or Slovenian, or Moldovan, or . . . . and I don’t know any true wine lover who would.

  28. These facilities are only for the first and business class travellers, where as economy passengers are treated as beggers who has to wait for your alarms. So no point in speaking about the care for rich people.
    Even in long routes other airlines treat economy passengers more better than you, where as your only serve with water in between. I don’t want to write more…… about your services.

  29. Wines are mediocre. Last I flew Emirates F they offered free flowing Dom in first class – this isn’t even in the same league. Menu is also pathetique, not even close to SQ book the cook but you already know that. I almost think they offer this cabin just to get free publicity from the bloggers.

  30. Well this is for any one who knows all the notes,turns,cuts and corners of wine.At an altitude above 10000ft and ATM pressure above 5000,no sane human can have 100% taste buds working on its maximum efficiency.
    Everything is blurred.Its a scientific fact.
    So either you have Bellacart of DOM,its just mental satisfaction.

  31. @Vembora — Absolutely correct! Which is precisely why several airlines actually conduct wine tastings *either* at altitude or (at the least) with that fact in mind. It’s not how the wine tastes at sea level, but how it tastes in-flight that’s important!

  32. @Jason Brandt Lewis

    At times I try different wines, but with this many years of wine drinking I go back to Piedmonte and Burgundy wines. It’s my personal choice to only drink Old World wines, being based in London it doesn’t make that much sense to drink New World wines. If you like them I’d say that’s your taste and doesn’t make your understand or wine superior in any way.

    The point (which you seemed to have missed) is that calling a St. Emillion a Merlot is like calling an Oregon Pinot Noir an American Burgundy. Old World wine has never and will never be about the grape varietal. It’s about the terroir.

  33. I’m with K4, I never go near New World wines made after 1996. And only very rarely after 1991. Even if one in 20 might be palatable, life too short to wade through 19 wines I don’t like

    And I’m a true wine lover, a little presumptuous to say I’m not.

  34. Wow. I am *so* not impressed by that menu. Personally, I’d love to see what they’d do with a Coquilles St. Jacques appetizer, Steak au Poivre with grilled vegetables, followed by a Grand Marnier souffle. It’s hard to find a Grand Marnier souffle even in the finest restaurants anymore, so I grab one whenever I get the chance. I’ll even settle for a chocolate one, which is slightly less rare. But those dishes hit a variety of notes that will be a true test of your chef’s capabilities.

    I’m not a big drinker, so I’m not really sure how my personal favorite champagne – a Moet Brut – compares with the rest. But I’d order that, as well.

    Looking forward to hearing about the experience.

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