Review: Etihad business class food menu in 2023
Flying to Thailand and back in Etihad business class, 4 flights in total. What is the food like in 2023, what to expect? And would we recommend it?
Our Thailand trip is coming up.
We chose to fly in Etihad business class from Brussels to Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi to Bangkok – and go back home in Etihad business class from Phuket to Brussels with a stopover in Abu Dhabi again.
So that are 4 flights in 3 weeks time.
Before booking we did a bit of research about possible airlines, read a couple of recent reviews, watched some airline vlogs on Youtube.
And Etihad Airways seemed like the best choice.
So what do we think of this flight?
What did we like and dislike about our Etihad business class flight?
We paid for our flights in Etihad business class and didn’t get or ask anything in return for this review.
We made a video of our stay at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket.
You can watch it here:
Etihad business class
Ready for our first flight Brussels to Abu Dhabi.
After a good cup of coffee and a Danish pastry in the Diamond business lounge, we make our way to our gate where our plane, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, is waiting for us.
Two Etihad Airways crew members welcome us at the entrance, check our boarding passes and point us to the right aisle to get to our Etihad business class seats.
The Etihad business class has an alternate 1-2-1 configuration, 7 rows and 28 seats in total.
Seats in even numbered rows face forward, seats in odd numbered rows face backward.
We are sitting in the middle aisle facing forward, seats 7E and 7F.
These seats are right next to one another, with a divider in the middle that can be lowered.
The centre seats facing backwards are further apart and also have that small divider for extra privacy.
Watch our video from 0:10 onwards to get a better look of how the Etihad business class and seats look like.
The seats are controlled by a console module to adjust your seat.
Beds are absolutely flat in sleeping position.
The Etihad business class provides a large, high-resolution 18.5-inch touchscreen TV.
It can also be navigated with the handheld remote control in the side console next to the TV.
On the left hand side of the handheld remote control is a small touchscreen to adjust or turn on and off the seat lights. On the right are 2 USB ports to charge phones or personal headphones.
Behind this console is a large tray table that easily slides in and out when you pull it. Once out just push it down and enjoy your meal.
In the armrest hides Etihad business class headphones and a bottle of still water.
We didn’t use the headphones since we always bring our own.
Overall the seat was very comfortable and soft to sit in.
Already provided when you sit down is an Etihad business class amenity kit, the food menu and a sanitising kit.
The leather Acqua di Parma amenity kit comes in 2 colors: yellow and orange. It contains a small bottle of lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste, a pair of socks, an eye mask and an Acqua di Parma perfume sample.
In the sanitising kit you can find 4 sanitising wipes, a small bottle of hand sanitiser and a strange black snood to wear over your mouth as a makeshift face mask.
No need to wear a mask on this flight though, staff members included.
Below the touchscreen TV is a footrest and a small storage compartment to stow away shoes or a small bag).
A pillow and soft fluffy and warm blanket wait for you on our seat when you board.
Both are of very good quality and look really comfortable.
Like we said before, the seats in the Etihad business class recline up to 180 degrees, absolutely flat.
The seat and foot space is spacious when you are sitting up. However once you want to lie down, taller people might find it much too narrow and hard to turn around.
Luc is 6 feet tall and found it impossible to turn or sleep on his side. The most comfortable sleeping position was to lie on his back.
We always keep a stash of Netflix downloads close just in case the entertainment isn’t great.
In the Etihad business class the movie, series and music selection was very good with plenty of new releases and classics as well. However, most of the movies have only an Arabic and English soundtrack, without subtitles in other languages, which make it unusable for a lot of people.
The touchscreen TV is very easy to navigate.
The layout and use of the screen is easy to use and pretty self explanatory.
Food and drinks
Menus are already present on your armrest when you reach your seat.
On all 4 of our Etihad business class flights a welcome drink was offered before takeoff: champagne, water, orange juice or their Etihad business class signature non-alcoholic lemon/mint fruit drink.
A flight attendant also stops by to write down your meal choices and drinks order, and ask if you want to enjoy an aperitif with nuts right after takeoff before the food comes out.
Once the plane is in the air, the drinks and meal service starts. You also get a refreshing cold towel as well.
Our aperitif arrives: a glass of French champagne and mixed salted nuts.
A flight attendant unfolds the tray table and covers it with white linen.
Brussels – Abu Dhabi
Our 7 hour flight leaves at 10:05am.
Starters: Arabic mezze, cured salmon and potato salad, asparagus soup
Mains: lamb loin, cod fillet, chicken kabsa, penne rigate
Desserts: molten chocolate cake, pear cake, fresh fruits, ice cream, cheese platter
While we enjoy our glass of champagne, the starters are being served.
The flight attendant brings a tray with bread basket, butter, olive oil, napkin and cutlery. She also refills our glass of champagne.
Watch our video from 2:35 onwards to see how the full menu and our meals on board this Etihad business class flight looked like.
We both went for the Arabic mezze: “a selection of hot and cold Arabic appetizers”, it says on the menu.
Several bloggers and vloggers online loved it, but we were quite disappointed.
The creamy hummus and pita bread were fine but not wow great, the industrial dolmades was just OK.
However the lukewarm falafel was very dry and absolutely bland. The couscous salad was flavorless, grainy and way undercooked.
Not the best start of our Etihad business class meal unfortunately.
Let’s hope that the mains are more convincing?
We went for the fish and the chicken.
The cod fillet comes with a quinoa and bulgur pilaf, cherry tomatoes, baby fennel and red pepper sauce.
And we loved it.
The fish was perfectly cooked and flavorful, the sauce was creamy, the pilav had the perfect moisture and bite, and the cherry tomatoes were juicy and packed with flavor.
This cod main course was perfectly seasoned as well, excellent!
Let’s hope that the chicken is just as good.
The menu says: chicken kabsa, tender chicken cooked with rice and spices.
And it was truly delicious.
Tender and juicy chicken chunks on a bed of rice flavored with cinnamon and other lovely spices. On top of it are yummy sweet caramelized onions, and extra texture comes from a couple of cashew nuts.
Again a very tasty main course!
Are we in for a dessert?
Sure, why not!
The pear tart is served warm and it is delicious.
The crunchy shortcrust base is lovely.
Let’s try the molten chocolate cake, “served warm with whipped cream”.
The warm chocolate cake comes with a small jug of custard however, but it is just as good. Pour it on top and enjoy a scoop of creamy and soft chocolate cake.
We get another refill of our glasses when our empty plates are taken away.
Feeling full for now.
There is no second meal service provided at the end of our flight, however you can always order a selection of meals whenever you want.
The all day menu has items such as the famous ‘Etihad signature’ steak sandwich, leek quiche, fresh fruits, ice cream, potato crisps, baked cookies, madeleines and Arabic baklava.
Simply push the butler button and a flight attendant will come and take your order.
Abu Dhabi – Bangkok
After a 3 hour stop and an enjoyable shower in the Etihad business lounge in Abu Dhabi, we are ready for our next flight.
Our 6 hour flight leaves at 10:50pm.
Dinner is served right after takeoff.
Starters: Arabic mezze, smoked salmon tartare, tomato and coconut soup
Mains: beef tenderloin, seared sea bass, chicken margooga, casarecce pasta
Desserts: mango brioche pudding, cherry caramel tart, fresh fruits, ice cream, cheese platter
Even though we feel pretty tired and not really hungry, we decide to order a bite to eat.
Luc goes for a cheese platter and a glass of red wine before getting some shut eye.
I’m interested in that tomato and coconut soup, and curious to see what that chicken margooga looks and tastes like.
Watch our video from 3:47 onwards to see how the full menu and our meals on board this Etihad business class flight looked like.
My tray table is covered with a white linen again and there comes my tray with bread basket, butter and olive oil. Two slices of garlic bread accompany the soup.
The tomato and coconut soup is lush: it is velvety, packed with flavor, has a nice and spicy touch and that flavor combination of tomato and coconut is something I hadn’t thought of before.
The chicken margooga turns out to be a one pot Arabic chicken stew with subtle spices and lots of flavor. And again it is absolutely fantastic.
Underneath the chicken and vegetables you can also find thick squares of wheat pasta, deliciously soaked in that flavorful gravy.
Very nice Merlot-Corvina, Passori, Veneto glass of wine too.
Luc asks for his cheese platter to be served right after takeoff so that he can have a quick bite and go to sleep right after that.
And it arrives in no time.
The cheese platter contains 2 types of cheese, grapes, crackers and a fig chutney.
The cheeses are brie and a cheddar type of cheese.
No raw milk and traditional small production gastronomic issue, but a plain and simple yummy light bite.
And the Australian Barossa shiraz, Peter Lehmann, was a good companion for it.
No second meal service right before landing in Bangkok, however you can always ask for one of the savory or sweet dinner options if you feel peckish.
We just had a cup of coffee which was nice.
Phuket – Abu Dhabi
The food at the Phuket business lounge was (very) far from impressive so we settled for a naughty double bacon and cheese at the airport Burger King instead. What a good decision was that!
Our 6 hour flight leaves at 7:40pm.
Dinner is served right after takeoff.
Starters: Arabic mezze, spicy Thai prawn salad, coconut and pumpkin soup
Mains: grilled chicken, sea bass, lamb biryani, Thai rice noodles
Desserts: banana cake, sago pudding, fresh fruits, ice cream, cheese platter
Watch our video from 4:10 onwards to see how the full menu and our meals on board this Etihad business class flight looked like.
The Arabic mezze last time was disappointing, so we decide to go for the prawn salad and the pumpkin soup.
Both are absolutely delicious again.
The prawns are perfectly cooked and marinated in a fresh and spicy marinade. The cabbage slaw underneath is zippy and fresh, excellent starter and palate pleaser.
The flight attendant apologises for serving my coconut and pumpkin soup in a coffee cup, due to the severe turbulence hot soups in deep plates are indeed not an option.
Not that I mind, this soup is truly enjoyable. Creamy, packed with flavor and perfectly seasoning again. There are a couple of crunchy crisp bits in it that are very tasty but not sure what they are.
Right, time for our mains: fish and lamb it is.
On the menu it says: sea bass with coconut rice, kale, chilli and basil sauce.
What a lovely fatty fillet of sea bass, perfectly cooked again and super flakey. The rice, vegetables and sauce are spot on as well. What a lovely meal, fantastic!
Let’s take a look at the lamb biryani: tender lamb cooked with basmati rice and spices.
And this main course is perfect as well, I enjoyed it a lot.
The lamb is super smooth and buttery, the rice is fluffy but nicely al dente, packed with flavor and well seasoned. Loved the garnish of cashews, fried onion and raisins.
Go on then.
Sago pudding with fresh mango: so creamy and fruity. The mango coulis was lovely.
The banana cake comes with vanilla sauce and is served hot.
Absolutely loved it: the cake was so light and fluffy, and that sauce was the perfect addition to keep the cake moist and delectable.
This meal was perfect from start to finish, wow!
No second meal service right before landing in Abu Dhabi, however you can always ask for one of the savory or sweet dinner options if you still feel a little peckish.
We decided to have a drink and a snack in the Etihad business lounge instead.
Abu Dhabi – Brussels
After a 3 hour stop and another good shower in the (very crowded) Etihad business lounge in Abu Dhabi, we are ready for our final flight back home to Brussels.
Our 7 hour flight leaves at 3:10am.
There is no full meal service provided at the beginning of our flight, however you can always order a selection of meals whenever you want.
The all day menu has items such as the Etihad signature steak sandwich, samosa platter, cheese and crackers, fresh fruits, ice cream, potato crisps, baked cookies, madeleines and Arabic baklava.
It is very early in the morning, but I feel like this is my last chance to try that Etihad signature steak sandwich the bloggers and vloggers talked about with so much love.
On the menu it says: steak sandwich with tenderloin, Emmental cheese and red onion chutney.
Did I like it?
Not really, the tenderloin was chewy and overcooked after reheating it. This sandwich is served piping hot. I didn’t really taste the chutney. The melted cheese and the fresh arugula were OK. The bread roll was soggy and tasted a bit cheap.
Not sure what the online enthusiasm about this Etihad business class signature steak sandwich is all about, I don’t recommend it at all.
I did like the crunchy crisps served alongside the steak sandwich though.
A hot breakfast is served about 90 minutes prior to landing.
Breakfast mains: cheese omelette, sweet potato and goat cheese tart with lamb merguez, Arabic breakfast, brioche French toast
Extra breakfast options: bread and pastry, yogurt, cereal, fresh fruits, breakfast wrap
Watch our video from 4:42 onwards to see how the full menu and our meals on board this Etihad business class flight looked like.
We both went for the Arabic breakfast and a nice cup of good coffee.
On the menu it says: Arabic breakfast, fatayer selection, sumac labneh, fatteh chickpea.
And on our plate are fresh cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, olives and lettuce. The little ball on the right is the sumac labneh, and it tasted like fresh cheese coated with sumac. The 2 pastries are fatayer or small pies stuffed with cheese and meat.
Not entirely sure what the 2 portions in the middle were: it tasted like beef or chicken mince coated in almonds and other nuts. Served alongside this Arabic breakfast was also a portion of creamy baba ganoush with chunks of eggplant in it (that’s what it tasted like).
Did we like our Arabic breakfast?
I actually enjoyed it a lot, Luc was not at all impressed (so I nicked his plate and polished it off as well).
On the breakfast tray you can also find butter, strawberry jam, and a pastry basket with a croissant and a pain au chocolat. Both were not great, very industrial and a far far cry from the real French stuff.
The flight attendants on our Etihad business class flights we got were mostly friendly, professional, attentive and fast.
Most of them would go absolutely all out to serve and attend to us and give us an extremely enjoyable flight. Moving like whirlwinds through the Etihad business class cabin and offering top ups or extra meals without having to ask for them.
A few were professional but then the distant and cool type of professionalism, running more on autopilot.
Anyway, pushing the butler button during a meal service is not a problem. But that would be the only way to get the attention of your flight attendant sometimes.
Overall the service during our 4 Etihad business class flights was excellent.
Did we enjoy our meals on board the Etihad business class?
There were a couple of hiccups here and there.
Our first starter (the Arabic mezze) wasn’t great, and let’s forget about that steak sandwich real quick.
Fortunately we had more ups than down.
We loved the soups and all the main dishes that we ordered. Same for the desserts, delicious and yummy.
The wine, champagne and fortified wine selection is of an excellent quality as well. The Australian Semillon Eiswein was fantastic as dessert!
Overall the Etihad business class food onboard our 4 flights was good, and yes we would recommend this airline. We will fly with them again.
- good service
- overall excellent food
- excellent champagne and wines
- comfortable business seat
- warm blanket and good pillow
- good inflight entertainment (but not enough subtitled movies)
- a few disappointing meals
- narrow leg space while lying down for tall people
We paid for our flights in Etihad business class didn’t get or ask anything in return for this review.
How about you?
Have you traveled in Etihad business class before?
Did you like it, and do you recommend it?
What did you think of the food?
We’d love to hear from you, leave a comment below!