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The benefits of live yoghurt
23.03.2017

Step away from the “dessert yoghurt", writes Will Studd. The real unadulterated thing is much more rewarding.

All-Star Yum Cha
22.03.2017

What happens the morning after the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards? We treat the chefs to a world-beating yum cha session, as Dani Valent discovers.

Honey Fingers, Melbourne's inner-city beekeepers
22.03.2017

Single-source honey putting community and sustainability next to sweetness.

Vermouth is having a moment
21.03.2017

More and more adventurous local winemakers are embracing Vermouth's botanicals, writes Max Allen.

Exploring Indonesia's Komodo National Park
21.03.2017

Indonesia's Komodo National Park is home to staggering scenery and biodiversity. Michael Harden sets sail in a handcrafted yacht to explore its remote islands in pared-back luxury.

The new cruises on the horizon in 2017
21.03.2017

Cue the Champagne.

Seven recipes that shaped 1980s fine dining
21.03.2017

Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.

Where Melbourne's finest will take the World's Best Chefs
20.03.2017

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Air New Zealand's new Business Premier class

There's no question Air New Zealand is winning the branding wars in true Kiwi style, claiming the mantle of "the fun airline" for both wit and innovation. Left-of-centre ideas like their economy "skycouch" (in which three seats in coach convert to a flatbed), and the recent Tolkien-themed safety video (replete with hobbits, wizards and cameos from Elijah Wood and Peter Jackson) have scored the airline plenty of press and even more buzz on social media. Now, though, it's also making a push on the comfort and service side, especially in the pointy end of the plane.

The airline's new Business Premier class, currently on show in its Dreamliner 787-9 aircraft plying the Auckland to Perth route, has upped the stakes considerably. The leather-upholstered seats are angled diagonally down the cabin, each of them with a little footstool that can be used for an in-flight tête-à-tête with a fellow passenger. They fold fully flat, and are equipped with a memory-foam mattress and good bedding.

The menus, designed in part by expat New Zealand chef Peter Gordon, lean towards the likes of chicken with grilled pineapple, and chicory salad with a mango-yoghurt dressing. The entertainment system, meanwhile, is one of the best in the sky right now. In terms of look and feel, it's fast and responsive, and the selection is both large and smart. There are eight Batmans, eight Harry Potters, five X-Men and, bizarrely, three Blades, but also several Coen productions and plenty in the way of Gone with the Wind, Empire of the Sun and the latest seasons of True Blood, The Knick and Penny Dreadful. Oh, and naturally, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, plus Once Were Warriors and the Footrot Flats movie. (One bum note: sections labelled Chick Flicks and Man Cave. Groan.)

The crew are a delight, right down to, on one leg, the pilot closing his landing spiel with "What a cracker of a day! We recommend you get down to the beach". They're also loving the new cabins. "Yes, we love working on the Dreamliners because our passengers are so enthusiastic about them," said Deb, the in-flight manager on our trip. Count us among them.

Air New Zealand's Dreamliner started servicing the airline's Auckland-Shanghai route this month and will start the Auckland-Tokyo route from December 2014. 

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