The Pier, Cathay Pacific’s business class lounge at Hong Kong International Airport, doesn’t feel like just another airport stop-off. Cushy, low-slung leather armchairs fill its modern wood-paneled bar, wooden booths border a clean-lined noodle bar, there’s space for yoga and meditation and another section resembles a spa with barely-there lighting and plush chaises for naps. But beyond the décor and amenities, Cathay’s largest airport lounge (the entrance is in terminal one near gate 65) lures you in with its culinary offerings.
Head to the popular noodle bar to nosh on light and delicious chicken siu mai or a warming wonton soup with prawn and pork dumplings and wash it down with some chilled Hong Kong milk tea. Don’t miss the steaming dan dan noodles, which come smothered in a creamy peanut sauce, a drizzle of chili oil that lends some complexity and a generous sprinkle of green onions. And there’s more than noodles here with dishes like barbecued pork rice and jellyfish salad.
The food hall trots out fresh-baked bread like tomato-basil focaccia, pastries that include croissants with lemon curd and sweet ricotta, and such treats as olive oil cake dusted with powdered sugar. Another station churns out scrambled eggs, bacon, chicken sausage with rosemary, and a vegetarian-friendly cannellini bean stew with mushrooms, pine nuts and basil in the morning, and house-made pizza and lasagna in the afternoon.
While weary travelers tend to go to the bar, noodle bar and food hall, our favorite venue is the teahouse. Sure, we are tea addicts, but even if you get your caffeine fix another way, you’ll find the space enticing. The atmospheric teahouse has wood covering the ceiling and emerald tile adorning the walls, while its lighting is carefully considered — the backlit dark-green tea canisters look dramatic in the dim space with the bar and tables in black.
Select from an impressive menu of Jing loose-leaf teas, ranging from a strong Early Grey to bright lemongrass and ginger to a fresh, clean Organic Jade Sword green variety. And here you’ll find more desserts, including a banana cake topped with chocolate frosting, egg tarts and almond puffs. Quieter than the other outlets, it’s a great place to work: if this stylish teahouse were anywhere else, it would be a jam-packed café.
Before heading for your flight, be sure to visit the Elektra cart to grab an espresso and the addictive chocolate almond, pistachio and — our favorite — black sesame cookies for a later snack.
You won’t need your cookie stash for the plane, though. Cathay Pacific is known for its onboard culinary experiences and, this year, the airline collaborated with Duddell’s, a respected Hong Kong fine-dining establishment, to bring the city’s flavors to the skies. On a recent flight, we savored Duddell’s chilled prawns drenched in aged huadiao wine as an appetizer followed by steamed halibut with aged mandarin peel and preserved black olives and sides of cordyceps flowers (a type of mushroom) and greens. (And non-Duddell’s dishes like an array of dim sum and congee studded with zesty ginger hit the spot as well.)
As part of its wellness and sustainability efforts, Cathay announced yesterday a partnership with Hong Kong vegetarian restaurant VEDA by Ovolo to create plant-based dishes like roasted vegetable tagine with halloumi cheese and pearl couscous for premium economy and economy travelers on select long-haul flights.