Thursday, 18 December 2008

Sweet on the Swedes

IN my humble opinion Christmas menus are merely an opportunity for restaurants to increase prices and decrease quality.
Twenty-five quid for an insipid roast dinner and a splodge of microwaved Christmas pud? No thanks.
But there's somewhere bucking the trend of poor yuletide grub - and it's conveniently located just off the M6.
Ikea's cafeteria is serving up tasty festive fare at rock bottom prices.
Ikea cafeteria? You may well sniff, but when I ate lunch there yesterday with my vegetarian pal we not only left with happy tummies, but happy wallets too.
Okay, the surroundings might not be glamorous, and yes, you have to clear away your leftovers, but, I promise you, there's not a dry slice of turkey or a soggy roast spud in sight.
We both chose the vegetarian option, which unusually was neither nut roast or vegetable lasagne; instead, a delicious pumpkin strudel with spicy tomato sauce and roasted vegetables.
The meat option looked just as appealing; roast pork with a ginger sauce and red cabbage.
Oven-fresh, the strudel's pastry case was dotted with seeds and just crisp, while the filling - a mixture of pumpkin, chickpeas and spices such as cumin - was full of flavour and texture.
Instead of roasted vegetables we opted for peas, and although they were more than a tad shriveled from the heat lamp, the spicy tomato sauce was more than adequate to perk them up.
Side orders of bread rolls also got the thumbs up. "I thought it was going to be a bit hard, but break open the shell and the bread is lovely and fluffly," reported my mate.
There wasn't room for pud, despite the tempting choice of festive cake, Dime bar gateaux and plumb (sic) tarte.
With refillable drinks our bill came to less than a tenner. Leaving us plenty of change to spend in the foodmarket downstairs... Spot on!


Paolo Panini said...

Yes I love the food at Ikea too, though I avoid the ever popular meatballs and select either the vegetarian option or the pasta dish. I find the food always freshly cooked. In the evening they cook it while you wait. Why can't all mass catering be this Swedish way?

Emily said...

Hello Paolo!
I agree. I think that school caterers also have a lot to learn from this Swedish-style mass catering. The cooking is tasty, fresh and inventive. I love the meatballs, but like you often go for the vegetarian or pasta dish. The salads are good too... In fact, my offices aren't far away from Ikea. I might pop in on the way home for a late night snack!