Quality, choice and value on new East Coast train menu - customer feedback at heart of new catering
Train operator National Express East Coast is launching a brand new on-train catering service from today, Monday 5 January – offering more quality, enhanced choice and better value.
For the first time a range of freshly prepared hot food will be served in First Class to customers in the comfort of their seats on selected services seven days a week.
Fine dining in traditional restaurant cars will be retained on peak time services to and from London, and many more trains at other times will switch to a new food menu served at seat in First Class – bringing the best of the restaurant direct to the customer, whilst creating more space by freeing up extra First Class seats.
The new catering launch follows an extensive four-month customer feedback exercise, to find out what people travelling with National Express East Coast wanted from their catering service.
The new menus have been created by the culinary driving forces behind the successful Tontine restaurant in North Yorkshire, Eugene McCoy, and the Bay Horse gastropub near Darlington, Marcus Bennett. Both have extensive experience as restaurateurs and have won wide acclaim for the quality and variety of their menus.
National Express East Coast customer service director Helen Thornton said: “Our customers travelling in First Class told us that while they valued the quality of our on-train food, they wanted a wider choice, including lighter options, and better value. Similarly, customers in Standard accommodation also wanted good choice and value.
“We conducted four months of trials on various trains to gauge customer demand for a more substantial hot and cold catering selection, including at weekends. The feedback we received was clearly in favour of expanded choice seven days a week and improved value for money. We’re confident that our new offer will give more people the catering service they want to see”.
One of the most significant innovations in the new catering service will be the expansion of at-seat dining – which offers delicious, chef-prepared hot food served direct to the customer in their First Class seat.
The selection of tasty options on offer from the new at-seat dining menu includes:
- Italian Breakfast – toasted ciabatta bread, roasted vine tomatoes, hash brown, mushrooms and eggs (£10.50)
- Premium Signature Burger – made from pure Aberdeen Angus beef, topped with cheese, served in a ciabatta roll with real ale chutney and mixed leaves (£10.50)
- Chicken Caesar Salad – classic salad with Cos lettuce, shaved parmesan and a creamy Caesar dressing, topped with chicken breast and sprinkled with basil croutons (£9.99)
- East Coast Fish Pie – white fish and prawns in a creamy seafood sauce, topped with creamed potato and seafood crumble topping (£12.99)
- Crayfish and Chorizo Risotto – with crayfish and spicy chorizo sausage, served with warm crusty bread (£11.50)
- Pasta Bar – freshly cooked pasta served with a rich Bolognaise or Arrabiata sauce. Served with warm crusty bread (£8.99).
Dedicated restaurant cars, offering a range of mouthwatering menu options, will continue to operate on peak weekday services to and from London. Restaurant menu highlights include:
- Rump steak with Café de Paris butter – a succulent rump steak, cooked to your liking, and served with a rich Café de Paris butter (£19.50)
- Roast Chicken Breast with Apricot and Stuffing – a tender roast chicken breast set upon apricot and meat stuffing, finished with rich savoury gravy (£18.50)
- Pan-Fried Whiting with Crushed Potatoes and Tartar Hollandaise - a pan-fried fillet of freshly caught whiting set on a bed of crushed potatoes and accompanied by a tartar hollandaise (£18.50)
- Confit of Onion, Olive, Tomatoes and Pine Nut Tart – a light pastry tart filled with a confit of onion, olives, tomatoes and pine nuts, finished with a creamy sage sauce and garnished with Italian mixed salad leaves.
All of the above dishes are served with vegetables of the day, and accompanied with warm crusty bread.
Services offering at-seat dining in First Class will be able to offer increased seating capacity, by making use of all available First Class seating for travel.
In Standard Class, an enhanced hot food offer will be available from the on-train Café-Bar on those trains with at-seat dining in First Class. The offer will include Chicken Caesar Salad, Pasta Bolognaise, Pasta Arrabiata, Premium Signature Burger with potato wedges, Sausage and Mash, and a Great British Breakfast.
A full training programme to ensure on-train staff have all the necessary customer service skills to deliver the new catering service for customers is nearing completion.