Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Ozeki Sushi + Qantas/Virgin/Jetstar Sydney Lounges + No Pram Policy at Caffe Panette

Despite having the best of intentions of making a blog post yesterday, I was distracted by meetings and being social as I took a whirlwind one day trip to Sydney. It was a long but productive day and although I was dreading going to Sydney, I enjoyed myself. Perhaps it was because the sun was shining for a change and people just seemed happier. I could have used the Blogger application on my Android phone but I thought I would reserve the first mobile post for something really special or amusing.

The highlight of my trip was lunch at a sushi train in Chatswood called Ozeki Sushi. In a way, it is degrading to the restaurant to call it a "train" but I need to describe it somehow. They offer some of the best quality fish that I have ever had at a "train" style restaurant, the staff are all very friendly and the chef is happy to provide salmon sashimi in bulk at your request. If you are in the Chatswood Chase area, check it out. Reviewers on Urbanspoon seem to agree with me also with 82% of them liking it at the time of this post.

Ozeki Sushi on Urbanspoon

It has been over a year since I flew with Jetstar however when they are offering a round trip ticket from Melbourne to Sydney for $90 which includes the credit card booking fee, it was hard to ignore the deal. They got me where I needed to go on-time which is saying something. They even moved me to an exit row and gave me a free can of Heineken on my return journey which was surprising.

Over the last two years, my loyalty to Qantas was destroyed. The constant delays, industrial action, apathetic staff, horrible lounges and disgusting food that was on offer caused me to switch my loyalty to Virgin Australia. Although I let my Qantas Club membership lapse since I no longer actively try to fly with them, I had a one time use pass for the Club, which I used yesterday whilst waiting for my flight at Sydney Airport.

As I did not enjoy a formal dinner in the Sydney CBD, I decided to eat what was on offer in the lounge. I knew they would have cheese and some sort of salami. As usual the cheese looked to be about twelve years old however when matched with the salami and a constant flow of Coopers Green, it was edible. Even though I haven't been in the Qantas lounge in a year, they still are serving some other sort of slop. I have no idea what it is but there were some potatoes in it. Some of the food that they have on offer is mysterious and even though I am a hedonist, I am not stupid enough to try it without knowing what it is.

One of my worst experiences eating out was at Mexico in Manly but the worst food I have ever had was on one particular Qantas flight. They served some sort of sandwich with olive spread and a mystery meat. I nearly had to spew. I would say that it smelled like the sewer but it would be an insult to the sewer.

It wasn't long after that horrible experience that Virgin Australia offered me a couple of lounge passes. I was amazed at how clean the Sydney lounge was and what food was on offer. I could actually identify everything and they had on offer and they were providing bottles of Asahi at the time. It was a calm experience unlike the Qantas facilities which resemble Taronga Zoo.

Over the last year I changed my credit cards so they would earn Virgin Australia points and have been enjoying the Virgin lounge on every trip as access is included if you fly Business with them, which is a great experience. I was so happy with what they consistently provided that I sent them web feedback saying so. As much as I like to tell people tales of woe when it comes to service, I do enjoy identifying winners and Virgin certainly is one.

Finally I chuckled when I read that Caffe Panette in Port Melbourne has a no pram policy on the weekend. I am going to have to check it out and support them as restaurateurs who take a stand against prams (and children) for the benefit of the safety and the comfort of the other patrons are my heroes.