I tried out the new vegan plane food on Qatar Airways – here's what I thought

Have you ever ordered vegan food on a plane?

If you have, you’ll know the resulting meal can be pretty uninspiring. 

Dry cardboard-esque rice cakes, slices of apple, and sandwiches stuffed with soggy bits of cucumber have been among some of the in-flight offerings I’ve received when testing the vegan services.

But all my preconceptions of vegan plane food were thrown out the window on a recent flight from London to the Seychelles via Doha with Qatar Airways. 

The state-owned flag carrier of Qatar has launched a selection of restaurant-standard vegan dishes that you don’t even have to pre-order – they’re included on the regular menu offered to all passengers. 

The only snag is that this service is only offered in business class, so you will need to part with a few pretty pennies in a bid to try it. 

To offer some insight into what customers can expect from the vegan dinner service, I hopped aboard a Qatar Airways flight to the Seychelles and back, with breakfast, lunch and dinner served during all four legs of the flight. 

Vegan menu aside, flying business with Qatar Airways is a trip to remember and last year, along with scoring the Skytrax Airline of the Year award, the carrier deservedly took home the gongs for World’s Best Business Class, World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge, World’s Best Business Class Airline Seat and World’s Best Business Class Onboard Catering.

From my own experience, the Qatar Airways business class offering is one of best I’ve encountered to date.

Some of the perks include extremely comfortable seating pods, the most snuggly soft blankets, effective noise-cancelling headphones, a stellar wine selection, a selection of cocktails, a very comprehensive movie selection and top-notch amenity kits from the likes of Diptyque and Bric’s. 

If you transfer via Doha you’ll also bag access to the carrier’s world-class lounge, which measures around the same size as ten Olympic sized swimming pools.

In this cavernous VIP area you’ll discover multiple dining areas, shower rooms decked out with Diptyque products, sleeping pods that you can book for a snooze and an Instagrammable ‘reflection pool’.

On the service front, I found the flight attendants with Qatar extremely professional and friendly, with an introduction upon boarding and regular check-ins to ensure you’re well-fed and watered. 

On each leg of my flight, there was the offer of a three-course a la carte menu, with vegetarian and vegan dishes among the selection. 

The meal was accompanied by a quaffable selection of wines and cocktails, with everything from Charles Heidsieck champagne to martinis and negronis on offer. 

Topping things off, there was a photogenic selection of tableware and some of the meals were served with a flickering (battery-operated) candle to add a little romance to affairs.

The first vegan dish I tried, during my six hour and 50 minute flight from London to Doha, was a very moreish pesto glazed celeriac steak, served on a bed of Mediterranean risotto and steamed seasonal vegetables. 

It was a hearty portion size and the thick wedges of celeriac had a meatiness about them. 

To start, I opted for the airline’s ‘signature Arabic mezze’, which is a regular menu item comprising hummus, tanouleh, baba ghanoush and Arabic bread.

Other plant-based morsels that are staples in Qatar Airways business include the warmed nuts that you receive when you board the plane, along with a glass of champagne or fresh orange, and the deliciously soft artisan bread accompanied by a range of infused olive oils. 

On my next leg, from Doha to Mahe in the Seychelles, during the early hours of the morning, I stayed awake to sample the next vegan dish, which came in the form of a flavoursome vegetable Indian biryani topped with fried cashews and raita.

Coming back from the Seychelles, there was no vegan option on my first flight so plumped for the vegetable curry with tomato pilaf rice instead, but on the second flight, the vegan concoction proved to be the best of the bunch with an artfully arranged assortment of croquettes fashioned out of arancini, potato and radish and served with a barbeque sauce. 

For those of you who aren’t vegan, Qatar Airways’ business class menu serves up an array of other mouthwatering dishes, with some of the standout offerings including poached Nova Scotia lobster, braised Irish beef cheek and slow-cooked lamb shank ragu. 

On the dessert front, there’s everything from creamy cheesecake to fresh berries doused in rosewater syrup to take your fancy. 

While booking business class with Qatar Airways can be a bit of an investment, keep your eyes peeled for special offers. 

I had a friend who was able to upgrade his seat from economy to business for around £500 for certain legs of a journey – and he said it was well worth the spend. 

For now, my experience with Qatar Airways feels like but a dream, with the smell of those warm nuts, the bubble of champagne and flavoursome celeriac conjuring up the most blissful flight scene yet. 

Flying with Qatar Airways to the Seychelles

Qatar Airways runs regular flights to the Seychelles via Doha with economy, business and first class seats available. For lounge services if you are not travelling business or first, sign up for Priority Pass.

For airport transfers, car services can be booked via Uber.

If you are thinking of travelling to the Seychelles, information on travelling around the archipelago can be found via the tourism board.

Recommended hotels if you are looking for the ultimate luxury break include the eco-focused Six Senses Zil Payson on Felicite island, the slick Four Seasons Resort Seychelles on Mahe and the remote Four Seasons private retreat on Desroches Island.

For a more low key experience, the Augerine Guest House is a charming property on the main island of Mahe with an open-air restaurant and direct access to Beau Vallon beach.

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