As relationship milestones go, the first trip to IKEA has to be up there in the ‘make or break’ stakes. Tales of woe abound – frayed tempers, ambitious furniture too big for the car, flat pack rage. Our survival strategy was a promise of lunch at the end of the shop. Would it work?
Luckily neither of us were too frazzled by the end of the expedition, and had come away with the planned purchases and not too many other ‘extras’ that usually boost the bill. So we were in fairly good spirits when we made our way through the restaurant area. It’s huge, and even though we were there with the rest of North London on a drizzly Sunday afternoon, the vast space means that it doesn’t feel crowded. If I have a tip to pass on, it’s too avoid the children’s area unless you have your own little darlings with you. It’s clearly signposted, complete with play area and brightly coloured chairs – visual clues that we missed entirely.
The canteen style self-service works well and the staff are well schooled in doling out meatballs. There’s not much to choose from, but then surely everyone goes for the famed meatballs and mash anyway? We did, and left two empty plates – yum! This was filling fare though, and the odd sweetness of the gravy combined with the lingonberry jam makes it hard to eat too much – there are options of 15 or 20 meatballs, and we’d suggest that 15 is plenty!
Like most things in IKEA, the food is cheap, functional and without frills. Although we did reminisce about dinner at Smaka, a haven of Swedish cuisine in Whitechapel. For pudding, we shared a baked cheesecake that had had its flavour fully removed, so perhaps avoid the desserts.
Why wouldn’t you eat at IKEA? This is a reasonably priced place to keep the kids and other reluctant shoppers happy while you stock up on home essentials. Meatballs and mash for two, plus a shared dessert and soft drinks came in at under £15.
IKEA, 6 Glover Drive, London N18 3HF Sunday, 6th August 2017