Happy Ikea

Saturday, October 12, 2013

One of my favourite places to be in would be Ikea, even though I don't visit it very often. Located in Tampines or Alexandra Road, and not being very accessible by public transport (okay maybe it is, but I'd have to make several transfers, which is quite a hassle), I take around one and a half hours to get to the Tampines branch but all is well when I reach Ikea - it's quite a happy place. 

I suppose there are three reasons why I enjoy being there so much, three things I deem makes it the happy place that it is. First, is that people there are expected to do a lot of things themselves, which somehow makes everyone more courteous (don't ask me why or how, that's just what I personally observed). An example would be the restaurant/ cafĂ©, where there's minimal waiting staff - only what's necessary - so naturally there is a bit more pressure on the customers to clear up after themselves in order for the next patron to get a table more quickly. To me, it's a good kind of pressure and I think it helps both Ikea - in terms of keeping their prices low - as well as the customers, as there is much more efficiency as compared to relying on employees. 

The second thing I like would be the entire concept of the place in general and how it breeds creativity and provides a whole load of inspiration. To those who don't know what exactly Ikea is (highly unlikely), it's basically this store/ warehouse type place where they sell home furnishings and other house goods and they have things like showrooms and sell food too! Yup so basically I feel that the things they sell are truly fuss-free and yet they are presented in so many different and ingenious ways that makes the item appear both functional and appealing. 

Finally, and I think most people would agree with me on this one - I love Ikea for the food!

Today, I headed there with my mum because I wanted to get a bit of ideas for a personal creative project I'm working on - something that is keeping me very busy - and plus we were the only ones left at home (bro and dad were both out), so we decided to have dinner there as well. I haven't had Ikea food for a long time; in fact, it has been almost exactly one year since I've been there so I was really quite happy to eat there again. 

The quality isn't fantastic, but it's passable and really quite affordable, which the company claims is due to the lack of service staff which lowers their operating costs. More importantly, eating there makes me smile and I guess that's what matters. The atmosphere, though crowded and hectic, doesn't hold a lot of tension and it's actually rather relaxing to enjoy a meal there. Finding a seat might be a problem during peak hours though, but one will manage eventually, be it by sharing a table or waiting patiently :-) 

My mum and I got two plates of kids pasta with tomato sauce (yes we are kids), fish and chips, chicken wings, an elderflower cupcake and shared a cup of soft/ lingonberry drink. For such a fairly huge variety of food, the price we paid - $16.60 - was really worth it in my opinion. This price would possibly just yield us one plate of fish and chips somewhere else. There's nothing fancy about the food here - no frills at all but satisfying all the same :-)

Fish and chips for just $5.50 - was quite a steal and if I'm not wrong, this is actually a promotion that only the Tampines Ikea carries and it ends on 31 October (i.e. end of this month)! 

Pasta with tomato sauce for $2.90 - it's part of the Kids' menu so it was quite a small portion but it wasn't too bad, though I think the pasta I tastes nicer than this. 

Chicken wings - 2 for $2.80! Tastes a lot like my grandmother's fried chicken :') 

We also got the soft/ lingonberry drink for $1 - they'll give you a cup and you can fill it up yourself so it's free flow as well. I think lingonberry flavoured stuff is one of Ikea's specialities because it's a staple in Scandinavian cuisine and well, Ikea originated from that area (Sweden)! :-) The drink was really just quite tart, I very much preferred the usual soft drinks. 

Ended the meal with one of the loveliest things - their elderflower cupcake! At $1.50, it's comparatively cheaper to fancy cupcakes they sell outside that usually go for double that price. 

To be honest, the cupcake didn't look very appetizing - I just wanted to eat some cake but didn't feel like eating an entire huge slice of cake so I got this. It looks so basic; baked plain in a blue paper liner and topped with a simple white swirl of icing/ cream and I really wasn't expecting anything. Yet, this was the highlight of dinner. It was really light and fluffy and... floral-tasting, which is what it's name suggests. Elderflower. I don't think people normally eat flowers but that cupcake just completely encapsulated the essence of a flower - it smelt so floral and it tasted really floral and it was rather mind-blowing for myself. Yes, it was that good, please do try it if you ever find yourself in Ikea because this innocent looking thing packs a powerful punch of flowers in your face (I don't know why I wrote that, I just felt like it). 

Again, like the lingonberry, the elderflower is also another staple the Scandinavian people enjoy using in their foodstuff. And I'm so glad they do because I got to taste this amazing flowery cupcake. 

Dinner and food aside, the trip to Ikea was extremely fulfilling and I'm so glad and fortunate to have been able to spend this lovely Saturday evening with Yap Mama! :-) T'was a good day, t'was a good day. 

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