We felt like getting out of the house on Boxing Day and went to IKEA. Amazingly, we hadn’t been to IKEA since it moved from Osborne Park to its current location at Innaloo. When we got there just after 10am there was a long line of people moving slowly into the store. Jac detests waiting in queues and would’ve gone straight back to the car and driven off, but there was no way I was going to get that close to my beloved Swedish meatballs and walk away! I managed to convince her to give it a go, despite the crowd. Thankfully, once we got in through the doors the store was busy, but not congested.
In anticipation of getting Swedish meatballs at the restaurant (this is an IKEA ritual for me – every time I visit IKEA I must have meatballs), I hadn’t eaten breakfast – my tummy was growling loudly and I was starting to get a headache. But when we reached the restaurant, DISMAY! A staff member greeted us, then apologised and advised: “Unfortunately we had a power failure overnight so the restaurant will be opening at 11am today.” We had no choice but to walk around the store while my tummy continued to grumble in protest.
Lunch at the IKEA Restaurant
We returned to the restaurant just before 11am and were relieved to see that everything was ready for an onslaught of now starving customers (well, at least one starving customer!). Finally, I got my Swedish meatballs! When IKEA first opened in Perth, they used to serve the meatballs with your choice of boiled potatoes or fries, but I guess due to people overwhelmingly choosing fries over boiled potatoes, there’s no more boiled potatoes option. You still get a generous serve of meatballs with cream gravy and a shiny blob of lingonberry jam. One thing they don’t do any more is stick a little Swedish flag toothpick on the dish – I presume this is a cost-cutting and/or environment-saving exercise, which I have no problem with, as the meatballs are still plentiful, tender, bouncy and delicious and fantastic value (AU$6.95 for the standard size serving, and even cheaper on Tuesdays – AU$3.50!). The chips were on the floppy side, but the cream gravy saved the day.
I bought a serve of garlic bread as well, AU$1.00 for 2 pieces. It didn’t look like anything special, but the bread was buttery with a good garlicky flavour. We had a piece each and enjoyed it very much.
Jac got herself a smoked salmon platter. She loved the dill sauce that came with the salmon and she loved the delicate triangles of bread spread with cream cheese, but it’s quite a small serve and she was still hungry after finishing her meal. She was glad she had that piece of garlic bread to eat as well. And a few of my meatballs.
Ah, meatballs. On our way out, we did pick up a bag of frozen meatballs, two packets of cream sauce mix (as per IKEA’s recommendation of two packets of sauce per bag of meatballs) and a jar of lingonberry jam, so I we can enjoy Swedish meatballs all over again at home.
A snack at the IKEA Bistro
We spent a few hours in the store that day, and just before we left, still-hungry Jac stopped at the Bistro downstairs to grab something else to eat and drink. She bought one of IKEA’s famous $1 hot dogs. Next to the meatballs, these hot dogs are my favourite. You really do get a decent sized hot dog for a dollar. I love the flavour and springy texture of the sausage. I’ve thought many a time about getting behind the counter and eating the sausages straight out of that steaming bain marie of brine. Mmmm, steaming bain marie of brine…Heheheh. I had a few bites of hot dog too. What can I say, shopping always makes me hungry!
Jac washed the hot dog down with a tall can of Swedish pear cider. She’d never had pear cider before – she found it to be most refreshing. I didn’t really like how it tasted, but then I’m not a big pear fan. I’ll eat them if they pop up in a salad, but I never buy pears to eat.
We left IKEA after a few hours of shopping with some new items for the house. I was happy, I’d had my meatballs – that’s all I really cared about. :D
Swedish meatballs recipe
You can buy the frozen meatballs, cream gravy packet mix and lingonberry jam from the Swedish Food Market at IKEA. But if you’d like to try making them yourself:
Here’s the original post featuring Swedish meatballs for dinner, cooked by Juji.