Tuesday 2 September 2008

IKEA restaurant, Purley Way, Croydon

A bustling, self-service, first-floor canteen with solid wooden tables and views over the typically jam-packed car park, IKEA's restaurant specialises in good value staples, ultra-cheap kids meals and the odd Swedish delicacy. The hot dishes (about £4.25) include filling and passable meat balls, served with a creamy sauce and lingonberry jam, or fish in batter accompanied by peas. Both come with a choice of chips or new potatoes. The cold options include open prawn sandwiches and gravlax. There are also chocolaty Swedish deserts from 60 pence each and bigger slices of creamy gateau for £1.70 each. The children's meals (about £1.30) are usually smaller versions of the adult meals plus a free piece of fruit - an orange, apple or banana.

Neat little trolleys
You can stack it all on one of the neat little trolleys, which can carry three trays at once. And make sure you get everything you want first time, as the self-service queues can be long as weary shoppers seek sustenance. Still, once you have paid for a glass you can then fill it up as many times as you like with the soft drinks in the dispensing machines. When you are finished, you are supposed to clear your own tables - helpful signs explain that doing this will help to keep prices low. 7/10