As of this Thursday, all Air Malta flights will begin serving the much-awaited new menu. Featuring over 70 food and beverage items – the large majority of which are Maltese products and brands – the new menu may herald in a new chapter for Malta’s national airline.
“By listening to passenger feedback across various channels, it became evident that our guests prefer a choice of good quality snacks. In line with how the airline business has developed, our guests want better quality and a wider selection. The buy on board concept is the second phase of the new Air Malta product initiated with the introduction of Go-Light last year. We retained the snack in the interim period while we developed the new service”, said Paul Sies, Air Malta’s Chief Commercial Officer, as a press conference to officially launch the menu.
The Air Malta team said they were proud to have a new menu that focuses on fresh local ingredients, and that passengers can expect the menu items to be changing seasonally, as Head Chef Neil Darmanin himself explained.
“You can also expect real Maltese mozzarella on board – none of the elastic stuff,” he said as he introduced the menu.
You can choose between four main hot and cold snacks that come in a snazzy new package
If you want something hot, you can choose between a toasted brioche bread bun filled with sliced ham and melted cheddar cheese or a fresh ciabatta roll filled with sliced mozzarella, tomato and pesto, served hot.
If you want something cold, you can opt for a pre-grilled soft wrap spread with hummus, fresh spinach and falafel, or a fresh rye ciabatta filled with sliced chicken coated in a curry mayonnaise, mango chutney, baby spinach leaves and cucumber.
You’ll also now be able to use your credit/debit cards to pay for your items on board the flight.
The rye baguette and the falafel wrap
All four of these snacks will go for between €6.50 and €7.00, which is damn expensive for a baguette in the streets but pretty acceptable for a baguette in the air.
Alternatively, you can go for the Tapas Tray which features tasty-looking slices of chorizo, iberico cheese, serrano ham, mini-fuets and mini-breadsticks for €8.50.
The falafel and hummus wrap is both vegan and set to be their most popular item
Falafel is having a moment in Malta right now, being found in menus across the island, and now it’s made it onto the national airline. This wrap is vegan, but more importantly, the falafel balls themselves are handmade daily on premises right next to the airport, to ensure maximum freshness.
Airline food has a reputation for being low quality, and anyone who travels regularly knows the highs and lows of airline food. While some premium airlines do go the whole extra mile, many opt for dry bread with crappy fillings that wouldn’t placate a cheerful dog let alone hungry travellers.
Fortunately, Air Malta’s falafel and hummus wrap does pack a tasty little bite. Chef Darmanin said they used all Maltese ingredients in the falafel and wrap, and a hint of garlic and earthiness does make its way above the herby smoothness of the wrap to land pleasantly on your palate.
Air Malta’s team also said they had received the most positive feedback for this item.
Curried chicken that may remind you of mama’s cooking, if your mama was slightly robotic
A major issue with serving pre-made sandwiches in the air is preserving the freshness of the bread. While keeping bread fresh in everyday life is hard enough, adapting to the changing air pressures and temperatures found in cabins is an even bigger challenge.
Rye ciabattas were a good choice for this snack, seeing as the texture is already rather coarse, allowing it to keep the quality for a decent amount of time.
The tangy and bright curried mayo with mango chutney sauce that the chicken was slathered with didn’t taste like it was made in an industrial vat, which is always a plus, and the chicken once again tasted of a higher quality than one would normally expect from aeroplane food.
The toasted ham and cheese brioche
Air Malta has even created its very own Meal Deal
Part of the new menu is dedicated to a Meal Deal offer. Similar to what airlines like Ryanair have, customers can buy any hot or cold bakery item, a savoury or sweet snack and a soft drink/juice/water for €10.00.
In comparison, Ryanair offer a hot meal, water/hot drink and crisps for the same price.
They’ve also got some interesting Maltese snacks on board, such as Joe & Seph’s salted caramel popcorn.
Head chef Neil Darmanin
As far as airline food goes, Air Malta has raised its own standard
Now that Air Malta has ditched that embarrassing baguette as a relic of the country’s parochial past and dived head-first into the cut-throat competitive aviation business, their menu has to be able to compete.
The new menu is similar to the menus you’ll find in most popular low-cost aircraft, albeit with more of an emphasis on local Maltese quality products, which should be applauded.
At the end of the day, if you are looking to eat a large, hot meal with dessert and all the works as you fly across Europe, it’s probably best to book another airline.
On the flip side, if you understand that you are travelling on a plane as a means of getting somewhere and just want to snack on something light before getting a proper meal, it might not be a bad idea to start looking at Air Malta again when booking your next flights abroad.