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Galleries First (Flounge) LHR: Dining menu and food options 2013

Old May 17, 2013, 11:13 am
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This thread is archived - there is a Galleries First (Flounge) LHR 2014 menu thread here.

This thread gives the current catering options for the Galleries First Lounge (Flounge) in LHR terminals 3 and 5. This lounge is open to BAEC Gold and oneworld Emerald card holders. Passengers flying BA on a First ticket can also use the Concorde Room. The catering supplier was changed on 2 May 2013 to BaxterStorey.

The current catering options in the First lounge can be found in the first post in the thread, or you can click here. For photos: click here.

Catering options - other LHR lounges
Concorde Room (CCR) LHR : menus 2013 - T5 only
Galleries Club lounge LHR: Dining menu and food options 2013 - T3 and T5.
International Lounge Terminal 1 LHR - catering options from May 2013 - T1 international flights

For the lounges in Gatwick and UK domestic lounges in Newcastle, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen:
First Lounge London Gatwick (North terminal): Catering options from April 2013 - see post 2 for the text of BA's leaflet on the supplier changeover.
Galleries Club Lounge Gatwick (North Terminal): Catering options from April 2013
UK Domestic lounges (outside London) - catering arrangments from April 2013

For information on the BaxterStorey changeover:
New lounge catering contract : BaxterStorey replaces Compass - eff 1 May 2013
Your recent feedback on catering in our lounges - Note from BA Executive Club.
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Galleries First (Flounge) LHR: Dining menu and food options 2013

Old May 6, 2013, 9:16 pm
  #91  
 
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If the comments on the guest book are anything to go by, this has definitely been voted down ...

Man, are people upset with this. My own take:
1) I miss black pudding
2) hot food pretty much bleh now, not interested in glazed over stew-like everything
3) pasta looked criminal
4) menu felt way scaled back, maybe just because I was paying a lot more attention to it as a result of buffet changes, and nothing grabbed me particularly
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Old May 7, 2013, 12:37 am
  #92  
 
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From reading this thread, the new offerings look like an enormous disappointment; indeed they look so poor that I would seriously consider paying good money to buy food elsewhere.

The self-service options appear to be a dramatic reversal to something more akin to what was being served in the GC.

- Hot buffet: trays of tasteless slop and no choice of decent meat with potatoes (mashed, fried etc) - why? (Oh -it's cheap and easy to produce)

- Salad bar: (I am not clear why this is viewed as an improvement by some) - it seems to be a small selection of what was there previously, ironically made up of all the items that I used to avoid. What's happened to the coleslaw and potato salad? Any particular reason for this? (Oh - because it's cheaper)

- Desserts: I don't actually see that putting two mass produced desserts out on the buffet is anything of an improvement. All this does is reduce the need for servers. Why? (Oh - it saves money).

- Cheese and meats: ah this is the new home for the cold meats, now sporting cheaper cuts and no pastrami. Cheeses are better than on put out before, but really just the to-order menu selection put out so that a request to a server is not necessary. Why? (Oh, so you can have fewer staff and save money)

- Menu items: breakfast - nothing really to constitute an improvement, but not noticeably worse; rest of the day - looks like a cheap pub menu. I may be the exception on this board but burgers - Please!!!! I am a bit older than seven now! Gone are the more complex sophisticated items and in comes sandwiches. Why? (Oh, because they are cheap).

All in all this is a massive downgrade in the offerings in the FLounge. If I were about eight, this is the kind of stuff I would eat. However, I am not and I would expect in a major airline's flagship lounge (well at least First Class lounge - yes, the CCR is BA's real flagship) a decent and varied selection of good quality food. Instead BA seem to think that what its customers want and deserve is trays of mass-produced lukewarm flavourless slope that would not have passed muster at a failing 70s motorway services.

I for one will be missing no opportunity to make my views on how poor the new offering is known to BA. I hope that BA will listen to feed back and insist that the new contractor offers better choice and quality - indeed offerings fit for an F lounge.
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Old May 7, 2013, 12:37 am
  #93  
 
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I guess you never appreciate what you have till its gone, come back compass, all is forgiven!
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Old May 7, 2013, 12:40 am
  #94  
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Originally Posted by Joely
I guess you never appreciate what you have till its gone, come back compass, all is forgiven!
While I haven't yet seen the reality...this does look very true.

Plane Food will be seeing even more of me in the future.
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Old May 7, 2013, 3:01 am
  #95  
 
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Let's remember the context here. The Galleries First is not a First Class lounge as such, but a clever marketing trick to prevent all the chavvy OW Emeralds from mixing with proper First Class passengers. If you want fine dining and proper table service, that is what the Concorde Room is for (well, at least should be). I suggest those moaners among you try visiting an AA Flagship Lounge, or a LH/LX Senator lounge to get some perspective.

I was really quite pleased with my Schezwan chicken, burger, and cheesecake the other day (well, ignoring the teething problems with service, which I hope will improve with time).

I cannot think of better food offered by any airline lounge that isn't intended for proper ticketed First Class passengers. In this context, I'd say the Galleries First catering is second to none.
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Old May 7, 2013, 4:46 am
  #96  
 
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Originally Posted by ba_cityflyer
I cannot think of better food offered by any airline lounge that isn't intended for proper ticketed First Class passengers. In this context, I'd say the Galleries First catering is second to none.
A few spring to mind.

QF F - SYD/MEL.

CX F - HKG. (Heck, CX J - HKG). And they are a long way down from the likes of the QF Australian F lounges.
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Old May 7, 2013, 5:08 am
  #97  
 
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Originally Posted by ba_cityflyer
I cannot think of better food offered by any airline lounge that isn't intended for proper ticketed First Class passengers. In this context, I'd say the Galleries First catering is second to none.
Originally Posted by Top of climb
A few spring to mind.

QF F - SYD/MEL.

CX F - HKG. (Heck, CX J - HKG). And they are a long way down from the likes of the QF Australian F lounges.
Pretty sure those options were designed with proper First Class passengers in mind

In many respects I agree with you though; I adore the QF and CX F lounges. They absolutely put the Concorde Room to shame. Melbourne is probably my favourite lounge in the world (though sadly I have never tried the LH Terminal at Frankfurt).

As much as I would like it, sadly I don't think it's at all viable for BA to have QF/CX-style restaurant quality dining for all the masses of Emeralds in T5. It doesn't scale, and is financially unsustainable. Think how big the T5 Flounge is, and how busy it is on a Friday night. Many of these pax may be on 10 fares to shorthaul destinations in Y, too. At least on CX and QF they're probably on long-haul.
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Old May 7, 2013, 5:39 am
  #98  
 
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Originally Posted by ba_cityflyer
As much as I would like it, sadly I don't think it's at all viable for BA to have QF/CX-style restaurant quality dining for all the masses of Emeralds in T5. It doesn't scale, and is financially unsustainable. Think how big the T5 Flounge is, and how busy it is on a Friday night. Many of these pax may be on 10 fares to shorthaul destinations in Y, too. At least on CX and QF they're probably on long-haul.
Whilst I agree that we shouldn't be expecting restaurant quality food or the GF to be the CCR, what we have now is inferior to the old GC offerings.

The new "slop" offerings smack of cheap mass catering - far worse than mediocre cafeteria/canteen food. There seems to be little creative imaginaton, more a focus on the bottom-line. Quality food does not need to be expensive food. The contractor's main cost is staff time, not ingredients and with reasonable staff in properly equipped catering kitchens it is quite possible to provide varied and tasty offerings without spending a fortunate or trying to produce something that will not work in quantity or will not last long once prepared.

From my perspective the old offerings - both self-service buffet and menu - were far superior in every way.

Sure the Flounge is not the CCR. BUT it is a prestigious lounge in BA's home hub airport and passengers will quite rightly judge BA as a whole on the care it takes at its home airport. If I were a OWE using the T5 Flounge for the first time, I would be far from impressed and that would impact on my overall view of BA as an airline.

Of course costs need to be controlled, but this is a marginal saving that could be so detrimental as to cost BA in the long run.
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Old May 7, 2013, 6:47 am
  #99  
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Originally Posted by ba_cityflyer
Let's remember the context here. The Galleries First is not a First Class lounge as such, but a clever marketing trick to prevent all the chavvy OW Emeralds from mixing with proper First Class passengers.
Another way of looking at it is that it's not the lounge for 19 year old Canadian singers on their only BA flight of their career, it's for 40-something year old executives spending an average of 50K plus on BA every single year.

Having lost Gold just as the changes came in, this has somewhat softened the blow for me a bit. The proper vintage champagne went away over a year ago. If I were you, I'd keep an eye on the JW Blue...
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Old May 7, 2013, 7:01 am
  #100  
 
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Originally Posted by EuropeanPete
it's for 40-something year old executives spending an average of 50K plus on BA every single year.
If someone is travelling on 50k plus of BA tickets per annum, and is not a Concorde Room Card holder (5,000 TPs), they are doing it wrong.

The average Gold spends nothing like 50k/year. I'd estimate more like 15k.
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Old May 7, 2013, 7:09 am
  #101  
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Originally Posted by ba_cityflyer
Let's remember the context here. The Galleries First is not a First Class lounge as such, but a clever marketing trick to prevent all the chavvy OW Emeralds from mixing with proper First Class passengers. If you want fine dining and proper table service, that is what the Concorde Room is for (well, at least should be). I suggest those moaners among you try visiting an AA Flagship Lounge, or a LH/LX Senator lounge to get some perspective.

I was really quite pleased with my Schezwan chicken, burger, and cheesecake the other day (well, ignoring the teething problems with service, which I hope will improve with time).

I cannot think of better food offered by any airline lounge that isn't intended for proper ticketed First Class passengers. In this context, I'd say the Galleries First catering is second to none.
I don't really agree with your 'contextualisation'. The F lounges at LHR are first of all F lounges and access to OW Emerald is simply because the rules are that OW Emerald have access to F lounges of partner airlines. In T5 and at JFK, BA has indeed created a 'duplicate' F lounge for us to keep the more exclusive CCR for 'genuine' F passengers, that is perfectly fine but that doesn't make it a C lounge or I don't know what. GF at T3 or LGW are used by 'real' F passengers and I certainly don't expect them to benefit from higher products and services than T5 GF. Ultimately, BA said that catering would improve in the lounges and it is only fair that we compare the new offering to the old offering within the same lounge. On that basis, while I thought that the new offering looked very disappointing on paper, I am sorry to say that things seem to be even worse in actual fact based on the first reports that we are getting. That is certaintly a shame.
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Old May 7, 2013, 7:32 am
  #102  
 
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My last years spend was > 20k and I didn't even make silver.... (My own fault I know but we don't all manage to plan in cheap flying around the US trips).
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Old May 7, 2013, 7:40 am
  #103  
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Originally Posted by ba_cityflyer
If someone is travelling on 50k plus of BA tickets per annum, and is not a Concorde Room Card holder (5,000 TPs), they are doing it wrong.

The average Gold spends nothing like 50k/year. I'd estimate more like 15k.
I wouldn't know the average, I admit. 15K feels far too low, especially for a mean if you consider the asymetric nature of the spend (i.e. nobody is spending 0, but quite a few people are spending 200K).

Considering a "standard" Club World return fare might be in the region of 3-5K to destinations like JNB, LAX, JFK and HKG, 15K would get you only 3-5 returns, which would be (approximately) 720-1,500 tier points for someone based in London.

If you're getting a CCR card for that spend, you will be either intentionally or by massive coincidence taking only the most tier point generative flights.

When I've hit Gold in the past I've had to go over about 30K before getting there, and a former housemate says that he typically spends around 90K before hitting CCR card.
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Old May 7, 2013, 7:53 am
  #104  
 
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Originally Posted by orbitmic
while I thought that the new offering looked very disappointing on paper, I am sorry to say that things seem to be even worse in actual fact
Right, well, could you please define your expectations? As I've already said, I was very pleased with the food quality I had under the new regime on Friday night. It fell somewhere between a Wetherspoons and a GBK or Cafe Rouge. I think that's about the right standard to aim for personally.

Yes, the buffet is pretty naff, but it wasn't great before the changes either; I have always avoided it in favour of table service. In some respects this is a good strategy; the freeloading AA EXPs can take the buffet, not knowing any better, while the valued BA Golds who know the score and take the table service. Saves BA wasting money on other airlines' passengers .
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Old May 7, 2013, 7:57 am
  #105  
 
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Originally Posted by ba_cityflyer
Right, well, could you please define your expectations? As I've already said, I was very pleased with the food quality I had under the new regime on Friday night. It fell somewhere between a Wetherspoons and a GBK or Cafe Rouge. I think that's about the right standard to aim for personally.

Yes, the buffet is pretty naff, but it wasn't great before the changes either; I have always avoided it in favour of table service. In some respects this is a good strategy; the freeloading AA EXPs can take the buffet, not knowing any better, while the valued BA Golds who know the score and take the table service. Saves BA wasting money on other airlines' passengers .
Have you only tried one thing on the menu?
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