Ikea Restaurant: Mystery Meat Swedish Meatballs
3200 Sweden Way, Richmond, Canada
We had to pick up a few things from Ikea so we decided to stop in for breakfast. Unfortunately, we didn’t wake up early enough as Ikea’s famous $1 breakfast is only served until 11 am; we arrived at 11:15 am. Boourns. Luckily, there were still ample lunch items to pick from.
The restaurant is set up cafeteria-style, you grab a tray at the beginning of the queue and order over the counter. Some of the items were a little sad looking like the limp boiled vegetables and breaded white fish but there were also some promising items too.
I still have theories that Ikea just slaps the word ‘Swedish’ in front of most of their items and passes them off as authentic European fare. That didn’t stop me from ordering the Swedish meatballs though. Served with a big scoop of mashed potatoes, a cream gravy sauce and lingonberry jam, this dish is only $5.99. It’s cheaper than a food cart meal.
If you’re wondering what the difference is between Swedish and Italian meatballs, there are a few distinctive things: Swedish meatballs are smaller, bite-sized, they’re also softer in texture, they’re fried, not baked or boiled and traditionally, they are served with a creamy gravy sauce. The fact that they’re bite-sized make them all the more addictive.
I still do not know what kind of meat goes into an Ikea Swedish meatball, all I know is that they are moist, succulent and amazingly tasty. It’s hard to stop once the first meatball is eaten. Their soft texture really soaks up all the gravy and side of lingonberry jam. I’ve never seen or eaten a lingonberry but the jam was sweet and slightly tart like raspberry jam. It really balanced out the salty gravy.
The big scoop of mashed potatoes was also smothered in gravy. I liked that the potatoes were mashed in a chunky, rustic way. I cannot stand whipped potatoes. I like to feel some bumps and grainy bits of the potato that were not squashed by the potato masher. The potatoes tasted wonderful, not too buttery and firm and thick enough to stick to my fork as I was eating.
I know this plate only looks like mini meatballs and potatoes but it was rather filling. The gravy and potatoes definitely filled me up.
We also ordered what was called the spinach and cheese crepe on the menu board. They were thin egg crepes and no, I don’t know what kind of cheese it was but it was salty and creamy and went well with the frozen spinach.
The egg crepe was actually pretty light and fluffy. It tasted like real egg but I still have my doubts.
The soup of the day was a cream of broccoli soup, it was thick and creamy, lots of vegetables inside. It did make me think of Campbell soup though.
We also picked up the almond cake because it looked promising.It turned out to be pretty tasty. The yellow icing was questionable, I think it was lemon or some sort of citrus flavouring. The layers of chewy almond cake in the middle were delectable, nutty and sweet and surprisingly moist.
I picked the pink cream cake because it looked so pretty. The inside was a huge glob of whipped cream, a thin layer of jam and the bottom was sponge cake. It was tooth-achingly sweet, no, not in a good way. I’m pretty sure the sponge cake was stale. The pink marzipan top was interesting but I don’t think I’ll ever eat this again if I can help it.
The best dessert was the cinnamon bun. I have to admit that I was disappointed when we cut it open to find that the middle was not gooey. I was prepared to be let down but it turns out the cinnamon bun was scrumptious! Sweet, rich and nutty, the actually bread portion was light and fluffy. I can’t figure out what the little white sprinkles on top are. Perhaps, they were pearl sugar? They were crunchy and sweet, sticking to the top of the bun on a thin layer of syrupy sweet glaze.
You get what you pay for at Ikea (under $20 for two of us) and I wish the seating area was roomier but we couldn’t go to Ikea without eating Swedish meatballs, could we?