On Saturday I avoid the Ikea area like a plague. The traffic banks up the freeway as people from all corners of Perth head to the big blue building. Now I accidentally lied to my American visitors in May telling them this was the biggest Ikea in the Southern hemisphere. I was 4 days off and got pipped at the post by an Ikea in Melbourne. I’ve actually never bought anything from Ikea except a 95 cent apple slicer, which is handy for making my signature apple pie (you got me I’ve only used the contraption twice). Rather I go to the Ikea for the restaurant (euphemism for canteen with plastic trays). My sister has been asking me for ages to take her to Ikea for meatballs and now with Sunday trading and no plans I find myself stuck in Ikea traffic. It’s no longer just Saturday. I was in a bit of a Swedish mood anyway as I had just finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. For those who haven’t read the book you are probably scratching your head but it is set in Sweden and they do mention Ikea a couple times. It really has nothing to do with anything that I am about to write about…it’s time to talk food. The restaurant was jam packed; there were long queues on both sides. As we crept along I was in two minds, do I get the salmon salad or do I get the salmon fillet except it didn’t have my favourite potato cake. After putting the salad on my tray, then taking it off, then putting it back the indecisiveness was annoying me. The salmon salad won out. It has been ages since I have seen those potato cakes at Ikea. Mind you I only dare to go into Ikea once every few months. My sister got her wish and had the meatballs and chips. Let’s be honest the food is not amazing but for some reason it does the job and you always head back there. Even I was stealing meatballs off my sister’s plate. For $20 it fed us both and we also got dessert, the dark chocolate tart. The salmon salad has your standard mixed lettuce leaves, red onion (which I scrape off), salmon fillet pieces, tomato and sour cream. I now know why people say you don’t make friends with salad because I was still hungry. To my sister’s chagrin I started on her chips. It’s my own fault I should have got the salmon fillet. Is it the most cost-effective meal going around? The answer is no. I would have probably been more satisfied with Subway or Nandos for the price I paid. But the truth of the matter is that I won’t learn my lesson. I’ll be back in a few months saying the same thing. That blue building really has a magnetic pull. This time at least I didn’t buy anything I didn’t need though I was very close to buying a grizzly bear soft toy. I got stuck in the soft toy section on the way out; Ikea has traffic even in store. I think it takes more time to get out of the store than it is to eat at the restaurant. But that won’t stop me and the thousands of others making the weekend pilgrimage to Ikea for the Swedish meatballs.
THE FOOD JOURNEY