Thursday, March 10, 2011

IKEA was ikky

After weeks of talking about it, today we drove down to the Adelaide airport to visit the IKEA store and try the famous Swedish Meatballs lunch.

It was all new to me as I had not been there before, but my wife was familiar with the place and led the way to what is really a big cafeteria. A rather busy one too when we arrived.
Standing in a queue is never my favourite thing and it took quite a while to finally progress to where the hot meals were being served. I ordered the larger size serve of meatballs as so many overseas friends had told me they were excellent. I was less than impressed to get the small serve handed to me and realise that the staff can hardly hear anything you say over all the noise. Second BAD point was discovering a rather large blonde hair in my meatballs before I had progressed any further. I drew this to the attention of staff and the meal was replaced. I concede that it WAS a Blonde hair and it is a Nordic establishment, but I would have preferred just meatballs.

My wife was delayed as Atlantic Salmon was not immediately available. We were left standing about for a bit, then it was suggested we pay and sit down, with her meal being brought to us later.

On finding a seat I noted signs on every table 'explaining' why the customers were expected to clear their own table after eating. This it declared, was to enable them to keep the food prices low as if they employed staff to do it, the prices would have to be higher. Having eaten around a lot lately I thought that was a downright silly lie. Having counted the price of our meals they were in fact much more expensive than we have paid for full sit down service at hotels and other fast eating places in recent weeks. In addition the seating was far less comfortable and the surroundings quite spartan. The statement that this was why they didnt have more table staff left me feeling a bit annoyed. It was however quite bright and roomy.

The meatballs were a disappointment, being very bland. But they were somewhat saved by the gravy with them being very tasty. The potato chips were at least numerous as well as crispy fried and very tasty. The addition of what seemed like strawberry jam to the dish seemed a bit unusual, but it was fairly tasty to add it to the rest. It did at least help the meatballs gain some flavour.

My wife had her Atlantic Salmon delivered to her table along with apologies for the delay and with some complimentary garlic bread. She enjoyed the meal, found it had plenty of flavour and liked the way the potatoes were done. Sharing the garlic bread we found it to be OK, but rather like any one would get frozen in a supermarket and heat up later.

I had fruit salad and cream with my meal. Tasty due to a good mix of flavors but with cream that was fluffy yet surprisingly tasteless. I did enjoy it and for price I suppose it was reasonable. My wife had a slice of one of the cakes, which she declared very enjoyable too.

On completion of the meal we followed the instructions and took our dishes and trays to where it showed they should be deposited. I had seen a young man hard at work in that area but despite his efforts when we got there it was full of trays and dishes. As a result a glass on my tray fell and smashed. The young man was very quickly on the spot to sweep up the glass, so he was certainly observant and doing his job. Its a pity the management didnt give him a couple more helpers.

All up I felt a bit annoyed and that did not make me a happy shopper when we visited the rest of the store. Having notices telling people that getting them to clean up the tables themselves was to make the meals inexpensive was so obviously a load of nonsense that I felt it was a bit of an insult to ones intelligence. What they should have said is that it was a cafeteria along the lines of those that have been running for decades in crowded factories, schools and etc and that by asking YOU to clear up, they didnt have to raise the prices even more than they were. Because in all honesty, our experiences of the last several weeks show that IKEA was certainly not less expensive than many lunch time eating establishments, and it was far more expensive than some that provide full table service.

So for me, it was bad marks to IKEA for trying to feed me bullshit along with my meal. For that alone I would not be in a hurry to eat there again.

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