I reviewed the Virgin Australia Lounge Melbourne when I was flying Melbourne to Canberra and it happened to be at the switch over period from breakfast to the lunch/dinner menu which was fantastic as I got a good idea of all foods served. The change over happened at around 11am which was perfect for me to check out all the foods before my 11.55am flight. As many of you know I usually try to fly Oneworld carriers and so haven’t done a lot of travel with Virgin over the last few years. I was really curious to see what the offerings were for lunch/dinner and how they compared to other domestic carriers in Australia. Here is a snapshot of some of the lunch/dinner menus – salads, sandwiches and soups were staples of the food offerings.
- There was not one, but two identical salad bars offering a range of fresh salad vegetables including mixed leaves, capsicums, cucumbers and tomatoes. These are such versatile salad vegetables which you can use to make up a side salad, have as a snack or use to bulk up the premade sandwiches (more on this later).
- There were three premade salads available on the salad bar including a potato salad, a pasta salad and a cous cous salad. The cous cous salad was a pumpkin cous cous salad – while it was great to see pumpkin added to it, unfortunately I found the salad a little bland. The German potato salad didn’t have too much dressing which was nice to see – the dressing complimented the thinly sliced potatoes so it wasn’t too stodgy. The pasta salad was described as an Italian penne pasta salad.
- There were falafels available however there were the driest and hardest falafels I have ever had. I was surprised as the food had only just been brought out and placed on the buffet so it made me wonder are they all like that? Not even the dip could save them. It was great they were on offer – adding a couple of falafels to a salad helps give a splash of plant based protein to the meal.
- Soups were also a staple of the lounge foods on offer – see below for a quick look at the pumpkin soup and chicken and corn soup. I have placed the soups in the What’s Healthy category as they include vegetables however it is hard to tell the ingredients, especially the blended/smooth soups like the pumpkin soup. Be mindful some soups can be made with high levels of salt, sugar and fats such as oil and cream and so just because there is vegetables in the name doesn’t automatically make them healthy. Soups can be quite energy dense so don’t treat them like a snack and assume they are low calorie.
Not so great. Caution.
- This black forest cake had a sign signaling this was one of the morning tea options. Not too many surprises why it is in the caution section – not a very nutrient dense food.
- There was a big tray of sandwiches available which suggests sandwiches are a staple of the lounge menu. When I visited there was only one variety which was a ham and cheese sandwich. It had ham and cheese, and a very small amount of mixed leaves and a tiny bit of mustard (covered one mouthful worth of bread). The sandwich was quite dry and made up mostly of bread. Utilise the great salad bar by adding vegetables to the sandwich to bulk it out and boost the nutrients.
- There was one hot meal on offer – a dish described as penne pasta and tomato sugo. Sounded lovely but unfortunately the execution wasn’t as tasty. The dish was basically just pasta and a red sauce – reminded me of pasta with a jar of pasta sauce. If you visit the lounge and are feeling like a hot meal then you could choose to have some of this but try and bulk it out by adding a side salad. It does lack protein and there aren’t that many protein sources available in the lounge to add on the side (other than the dry falafels) so including a high fibre side salad will help with satiety where protein in lacking.
Final thoughts on Virgin Australia Lounge Melbourne, Australia
Soups, salad and sandwiches – these are the staples of the Virgin Australia Lounge Melbourne. And while this sounds great in theory, the foods just didn’t quite hit the mark in taste and quality. Don’t get me wrong – the foods on offer are a a fairly solid base to eat well (and having two salad bars certainly got my attention). But there is some room to move to bring the food choices up a bit in terms of quality and nutritiousness.
NOTE: All pictures of Virgin Australia Lounge Melbourne are my own and I review the food from the menu I was given and the food I ordered on my flight. There may be different options available at other times.