Thursday 06 November, 2014

Dine at Patina on your way to Japan on ANA Airways

Patina Omaha Shortrib ANA

Chef Joachim Splichal and All Nippon Airways Senior Vice President Yuji Hirako hosted a luncheon this week to announce and preview an impressive new service for ANA Business Class customers heading to Japan from Los Angeles.

Starting this December 1, ANA will be serving a seasonal menu for all meals designed by Splichal and his Michelin Star-awarded Patina Restaurant team.

"I've flown to Japan over 20 times and can attest ANA is the best airline in the world," Splichal raved at the intimate luncheon, at which I was among the lucky dozen-plus attendees.

While the process by which Splichal and ANA partnered wasn't explained in detail, the Chef did explain some of the nearly year-long effort to create the menu and insure proper execution of the dishes, which will actually be assembled by flight attendants in the air. "You have to have something streamlined, four to five steps at most, for stewardesses," said Splichal. "They're very precise how they do it in the air." Also, in regard to the effect of altitude and cabin pressure, the Chef explained that sauces are somewhat more reduced than they would be on terra firma, and things like berries and herbs have to be avoided.

This is actually the second time Splichal and Patina have partnered with an airline: previously, he worked with Lufthansa for a few years.

At the lunch, we sampled:

* An ahi tuna tower, assembled with soy onions, a layer of avocado, tomato, olive oil and topped with a yuzu graniteĀ (to be served March-May)

* Sunchoke agnolotti with black trumpet and maitake mushrooms in a turnip nage (Sept-Nov.)

* Braised Omaha shortrib with potato celery mousse, celery 'batonets' and fried and pureed parsley (March-May)

* "Exotic Coconut" tapioca verrine with passionfruit

While it was a bit challenging to enjoy the dishes over the ingratiations of one table partner, they mostly came off quite well, although I have my doubts about the yuzu granite, since it was clumpy even coming out of Patina's kitchen; the agnolotti seemed relatively skimpy, while the genuinely fork-tender short rib was a very healthy portion.

Oddly, no wine or sake pairings were offered, but I would assume alcohol will be served on the flights.

Patina restaurant official page

All Nippon Airways official site