Injuring my back, my company allowed me to purchase a business class ticket back to Toronto. However I stuck some good luck while boarding my flight from Hong Kong to Toronto as I was given a complimentary upgrade to sit in First Class!
Despite flying over 180,000 miles on Cathay last year this was my first time sitting in their First Class Cabin and it was definitely a big difference from Business Class.
Passengers were given complimentary Shanghai Tang pajamas and the seat itself was at least 6” long with a width that could sit me and another passenger. There was even a turn-down service after our meal where the flight attendant would convert our seat into a bed that includes a mattress top, over-sized pillow and a super soft duvet.
Besides the seat and additional amenities the cuisine on First was also a far cry from Business Class. Krug Champagne was all you can drink for both the Dinner and Refreshment meals with wider selection of dishes to choose from.
For dinner my meal began with Caviar and Balik Salmon that was served with some Crème Fraiche and Fingerling Potatoes. The Balik Salmon was delicately smoked to maintain the salmon’s moisture and was cut thick giving it a much better texture then the common thin sliced version. It was delicious when eaten with the Osetra caviar and fingerling potatoes.
For my main meal I had the option of having an International or Chinese set menu. Flying a Hong Kong based airline I chose the latter. The first course was Pork Soup with Winter Melon, Chicken and Pearl Barley and a Cold Plate of Marinated Cuttlefish with Chili Vinegar and Szechuanese Cucumber Salad. Both dishes were pretty bland. I felt the dishes were a little too common for a First Class Menu. Serving Sharks Fin Soup and Slices of Cold Abalone might have done the trick!
My main course was Stir-Fried Beef with Enoki Mushrooms that was served with Jasmine Rice and Steamed Choy Sum with chopped garlic. The beef was a little bland bit the Choy Sum was simple and good. Again I felt the dish was a little too simple for First Class.
At the end of my meal I was served two desserts beginning with Fresh Berries and Cream. The berries were served chilled and a little sour which went really well with the warm and sweet cream.
The second dessert was a Warm Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Ice Cream and Vanilla Sauce. The hazelnut flavor of the cake went really well with the vanilla sauce and the dark chocolate ice cream which balanced out the sweetness from both the cake and the sauce. What I loved most was the crust at the top of the cake which had a slight crunch similar to that of a really good muffin top.
Ninety minutes prior to landing we were served a refreshment meal that began with a bowl of fruits and a breadbasket with some butter and olive oil.
For my main course I had the Braised Veal Cheeks with Vegetable Pearl Cous Cous, Asparagus and Vine Ripen Tomatoes . The cheeks were tender but was way too salty to be eaten.
My disappointing veal cheeks was redeemed with their simple Lemon Tart with Creme Fraiche. I'm always a sucker for sour desserts and the tart was no exception. It had the right amount of sourness and sweetness that will leave you wanting more without feeling too heavy or guilty.
Overall the food at First Class was definitely much better than Business. I was a little disappointed with the normality of the dishes except for the Balik Salmon, Caviar and desserts.
Address: Flight CX826 (Hong Kong to Toronto)