Flying Foodies take note…


terminal51.jpgMost people cringe at the mention of plane food, with good reason. Luckily, if you’re departing from the ultra modern Terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow airport, we’ve got some good news, says Lindsay Groves . Celeb chef Gordon Ramsay has a restaurant under the rather unimaginative moniker, ‘Plane Food’ on the upper floor (post security).

If you’ve managed to arrive with enough time to spare, then the friendly staff can serve up a lovely meal and glass of wine to match that will see you departing a happy camper.
The freshly minted Terminal 5 was officially opened by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II on March 18, 2008. In line with the feel of the new terminal, the décor of the restaurant is contemporary. Enormous amounts of natural light flood the space; the floor to ceiling windows providing an advantageous view to watch the never-ending air traffic. According to BAA (British Airports Authority), Heathrow is the world’s busiest international airport, although third in total passenger volume after Atlanta and Chicago.
For à la carte dining, I would recommend a revitalizing glass (or Riedel flute rather) of Ayala Brut Majeur Champagne (N/V, £7.50) to start alongside the beautifully presented appetizer of beetroot and goat’s cheese salad with toasted walnut dressing (£7.50). For a main, the wild mushroom oricchiette with sage and parmesan (£7.50 for a small portion) is rich and filling with ample amounts of cheese and a crispy breadcrumb topping.
Wines by the glass If you aren’t in the mood for a full-course meal, it’s worthwhile just popping by for a glass of wine. They have been very clever to offer a good number of wines by the glass, available in 175ml as well as 375ml pours. This is especially important if you are intent on enjoying a little vino prior to your flight but have sadly been stuck with a window seat. Some selections by the glass that would perk the interest of any wine lovers worth their salt include: an English Bacchus white (Silvaner-Riesling x Muller-Thurgau), a Chapoutier Viognier, Grüner-Veltliner, Albariño, Tempranillo, Corbières, Primitivo, a Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitages and even a Tokaji 5 Puttonyos…all by the glass!
If you’re under the gun (not a good phrase to use in an airport!) but still in the mood for some top-notch nosh, the three-course ‘Plane picnic’ is not to be missed. A menu offering your choice of courses is available for a very reasonable £11.95 and comes in a handy (and reusable) insulated cooler pack. I was tempted by the tiger prawn salad with watercress and soy sesame dressing, followed by a main course of smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich with apple and walnut salad. Finally, instead of sweets, I chose a selection of English cheeses with quince and biscuits.
As evil as it is, I can smugly say I was very satisfied with my picnic, as fellow cabin mates gave me jealous glares…

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