Good vibrations for long haul flight comfort

As you twist and turn trying to find the sweet spot, it's easy to think of airline seats as instruments of torture.

So nothing could have surprised me more than to find an airline seat I like so much I want to take it home.  

Looks like Nicole Kidman, who is the face for Etihad's Flying Reimagined brand campaign and featured often the ads shown while I was flying, enjoyed it too!

Thank you Etihad for combining your business class seats with a massage chair.  Oh, the joy of those little pulsing vibrations during a long haul flight.   It's a long way from a 'Harry met Sally' moment, but it certainly takes the edge of 14 hours in a plane.

There much more to like about Etihad's Business Class service. Even though there are plenty of people around, the space is designed to feel very personal, with direct aisle access and lots of storage space for your flying essentials. The turndown service includes a mattress and pajamas with slippers in a bag.

There's a colourful little bag full of nifty things to make the flight more comfortable including eye shades, ear plugs and some rather nice cosmetics.  Also included is a Lux travel guide with a different destination for each journey leg.

If you've always wondered, like I have, what it's like to be on the other side of the First Class curtain, here's a little tour of what your seat could be like.

I also had a chat to the chef who is 'on demand' for First Class passengers so they can have their favourite food.  Even though chef Emilio is Spanish, don't ask him for paella. He can cook it but the restrictions of cooking on a flight mean he can't get quite enough heat for a perfect result.  

Chef Emilio and the flight Food & Beverage Manager.

In business class you can dine anytime, working your way through the large range of options.  Think pulled barbecue beef sandwiches, carrot and coriander soup or even ice cream. For the sweet tooths, there's Arabic baklava or cookies and madeleines.This works very well if you are not ready to eat at set times, but it's wise to choose your breakfast at the beginning other wise they may run out of the most popular choices.

The menu is inspired by the many destinations to which Etihad flies.  I was tempted by the Arabic mezzo which was a combo of middle eastern hot and cold appetizers but it's the trout confit that won the day. It came with grated daikon, pickled cucumber and tomato. There was lovely attention to detail with the bi-colored soft, warm bread roll that came with a generous pat of butter.

Etihad's Business Class dining - Trout Confit 

Orecchiette pasta with fresh cherry tomato ragout and melted bocconcini char grilled asparagus
Orecchiette pasta with fresh cherry tomato ragout and melted bocconcini char grilled asparagus.

Etihad's Banoffee pie.

When time came for a little shut eye, it was all too easy to hit the buttons and push out the chair till it became a flat bed.

What didn't I like about flying Business Class with Etihad? My only suggestion would be that they change the colour of the pajamas. Brown and beige are so not my colours!

Which planes did I fly on?  Embraer Emb E90, Boeing 777-300 ER, Airbus A332 and A333.

More about Etihad's Business Class service.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK received complimentary Business Class upgrades from Sydney to Abu Dhabi and onward to Frankfurt.  Also from Abu Dhabi to Brisbane.

*The television commercial with Nicole Kidman was shot on a Airbus A380.


How to have a great time at Brisbane’s Night Noodle Markets

Brisbane’s South Bank looks like a scene from an Asian street market filled with flaming grills and flashing lights for another round of the popular Night Noodle Markets.

For 12 days the Forecourt in front of the Performing Arts Centre on the Brisbane River will be filled with hungry crowds chowing down on delicious Asian-inspired flavours, finishing on July 31.  It opens at 5pm weekdays and 4pm on weekend.

Amongst the stalls you’ll find black truffle ramen at Taro’s Ramen, Fat Pho at Fat Noodle, prawn shumai dumplings, Sake and Raindrop Cake at Harajuku Gyoza, steamed duck buns at Madame Wu, plus for the first time Sydney’s Black Star Pastry.

Here’s how to make the most of the markets -

1. Get there early if you want to beat the queues. But if you don’t at least you’ll know which stalls have the most sought after food.

2. Go in a group and leave one person as a table spotter, holder and the rest as runners for the food. You’ll find some of the drinks stands will come to you if you are at the bridge end of the markets.

3. The stalls are cashless, so make sure you take your cards with you or you’ll go home hungry.

4. Plan your attack by visiting the Night Noodle Markets website and downloading the menu.

Hoy Pinoy’s Filipino street food.
Hoy Pinoy’s Filipino street food.

5. The award for most smoke and drama goes to Hoy Pinoy’s Filipino street food. You’ll want to wrap your lips around their baboy (smoked chopped pork belly), inihaw na baboy (pork belly skewers and inhaw na manonk (chicken skewers). No problems finding this stall, just head to the bridge end and look for the smoke.

Bao trifecta of fully steamed buns

6. Best bao buns award goes to Bao Stop for their bao trifecta of fully steamed buns filled with fried chicken, and three-hour braised pork and peking duck.

Want some yum cha?

Let’s Do Yum Cha
Let’s Do Yum Cha

7. Let’s Do Yum Cha has a plate full with a BBQ pork bun, chicken and pork dim sims, and a vege dumpling.

Australia’s most instagramed cake, Black Star Pastry’s Strawberry Watermelon Cake with Rosewater Cream.
Australia’s most instagramed cake, Black Star Pastry’s Strawberry Watermelon Cake with Rosewater Cream. 

8. Best dessert is what is said to be Australia’s most instagramed cake, Black Star Pastry’s Strawberry Watermelon Cake with Rosewater Cream. It’s very light, but the delicate flavours are a taste sensation. Well worth the waiting time in the queue.

9. Chill out in the Cathay Pacfic plaza overlooking the river bank and work out which of your food photos to enter into their competition.

10.Best parking is under QPAC and costs $16 for the evening. You can bring your dog to the event but keep it away from the food stalls.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest at the Noodle Market opening night.