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What's the big Ikea?

Fat Git gets into lumber with laminate and lingonberries in the M62's best looking restaurant

Published on January 14th 2010.

What's the big Ikea?

YOU get a lot of funny jobs when you are out on the bimble, and a lot of funny suggestions.

If I had a cigar for every time some punter said “Why don't you park up and we'll sort the fare out another way?” I'd be a rich man by now.

You say no to most of them, and especially if it's the pension run, but it can get a bit iffy at times. Which is why I sometimes like to take Tony on the box.

I found him, 15 minutes later, in office chairs, swivelling round really fast on one called Klappe

Tony is my cousin. OCD, panic attacks, you name it, so he needs calming down. He stayed in the house for three years once, but he just got claustrophobic.

You'd hardly know he was there when he comes on the rank. He just sits there most of the time, texting people. Usually his legal team about his compo claim, which has been going on years.

But what our kid does best is come in really handy if something needs humping, and I entirely mean in the heavy gear department.

And so it proved to be last week, when a wait-and-return came through on the set, to go up to Ikea.

Happy days, you might think. But I have been on incapacity benefit for 15 years and I could feel my stress levels going. It could only mean a load of flatpack so I was straight round to his mam's.

We turned up at this corpy house in Richard Kelly Drive and the woman said she was going to get some laminate for her conservatory. “Not f***ing laminate,” Tony muttered, right out of the blue.

“Is he coming too?” she snapped, looking at him as if he'd just crawled from under a stone. A lot of women react that way. I told her he was no trouble, but I could sense that today might be a tourettes day.

Have you ever been to Ikea? They think of everything. Ball pool for kiddies to play in and even a big caffe. The Family Restaurant.

So I knew where I was going the minute we got in there. “Come 'ead,” I said, turning to Tony. But he'd got off.

He's always doing this and I found him, 15 minutes later, in office chairs, swivelling round really fast on one called Klappe.

He fancied a load of meatballs, and said he would go Dutch. I told him it was Swedish in here (I was panting with exhaustion), so we joined the queue, but only after he'd gone whizzing through the shop on the chair, swearing and laughing.

It's a bit weird the Ikea cafeteria. For a start you don't know where to queue, whether you are at the back or the front, and people were getting their cakes ( and eating them, in my case) before their main meals.

The drinks cups are at the tills and the coffee and hot chocolate are around the corner with the condiment packets, away from the knives and forks which are back at the tills. In fact they didn't have any knives left. Probably just as well, I thought looking at Tony. They could learn a lot from Sandbach services, he said, where he once pulled (he tells me for the umpteenth time).

But nobody in their right mind would bring a woman here on a promise, not unless they wanted a house full of scented candles, wicker boxes and tealights for their trouble.

I got the fish and chips (£4.25). “Eeeyye,” said a pleasant serving lass, “Do you want peas with that?” She was just my type, a bit jolly, and I stared into her eyes, as green as the peas. “Eeeyye, will you be wanting bread and butter?” I would.

Tony got his meatballs (£3.50). They do them in three sizes: Ladies portion, gents portion and Fat Git portion. He got the tart's size, and we eventually found a seat.

I have to say, it's not unpleasant in here with free tea and coffee refills (75p) and we had a cracking view of the Fairway over in section F of the car park. All these big birch tables and chairs and the lampshades that you actually sit at have price tags dangling from them, and they even tell you where you can find them in the shop. “Do they sell a bin called 'Git' in here?” sneered Tony in between mouthfuls of garlic bread which they could call “Kardboord” if they were flogging it in the shop.

Now I have scoffed fish and chips at some of the finest establishments in the land. The Magpie cafe in Whitby being the best. This, it gives me no pleasure to report, gave me no pleasure. The fish was cod or coley, I dunno, it wasn't specific, and the breaded coating was heavy and thick and stodgy. It's not the fault of the staff. All the gear comes in frozen and is cooked to a formula at Ikeas nationwide, globalwide for all I know. The peas were the colour of pond life and the chips were tasteless frites from a freezer bag. You might like it though.

The meatballs were better. Ten in number and had something lashed on the side called lingonberry sauce which the Scands enjoy. Looked and tasted like cranberry to me, mind. They also chucked a load of pale gravy on them. It looked awful but tasted great and me and Tone both burped contentedly all the way back up the M62.

The cakes? Fabulous. A really nice almondy tart for just 75p, and a passion fruit thing (£1.75) with a big mint heart on, which was as pretty, soft and moist as I imagined my last date, Pauline, to be, when last we met at Bistro Pierre.

“Oh yeah. How the f*** did you get on with her?” blurted the Tourettes Kid all of a sudden

So I told him exactly what had happened.

Rating: 12/20
Breakdown: 5/10 Food
3/5 Service
4/5 Ambience
Address: The Family Restaurant
Junction 8/9
Gemini Retail Park
0845 355 1140

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19 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Lars KrapkokkerMarch 6th 2008.

Hej! In Sweden the dining environment is better. In IKEA in Warrington the area is blighted by loudly-protesting snot-smeared middle-class children with names like Max and Chloë and their scruffy parents leaving the place in a filthy state. In Sweden we wear pullovers with Lego reindeer on them. Ha en bra dag!

SvenMarch 6th 2008.

There must be an IKEA in St Petersburg.

Tart with a heartMarch 6th 2008.

I like the look of that cake. However it certainly does like there's a fly on it. Oh crumbs!

HandymanMarch 6th 2008.

Are you talking beech effect or birch effect here?

London RoadMarch 6th 2008.

Have you seen those Fartyg lamps that they sell in Ikea? I can only imagine that our portly cabbie and his delusional scally cousin were experiencing a lot of that after they had the meatballs and "bimbled" back up the 62 to Liverpool. Open the windows lads!

NadiaMarch 6th 2008.

To you, Fat Git. I see that you are back from your trip with lady in French eating, but you do not say if you were satisfied. Only to this cheap man who is your cousin do you share and I would like to know more. I would like to meet a man like you and eat in fine dining places. I am hot Russian lady and do not know this Ikea.

observantMarch 6th 2008.

It looks like there's a fly on that tart's plate.

TartMarch 6th 2008.

There's no flies on me!

Pauline's mateMarch 6th 2008.

I hope Fat Git used a condiment.

IvanMarch 6th 2008.

its not as good as the one in Novosibirsk

Hurdy Gurdy manMarch 6th 2008.

I completely agree with "our kid" about the laminate flooring. The noise it creates is terrible and I can hear everything from next door where a bunch of Swedish people live. A very lively house it is as well, especially in the middle of the day when their eldest son sneaks home for some "afternoon delight".

SluttMarch 6th 2008.

You can get those meatballs in a bag and take them home, say many people. But, I reply, why would you go all the way to Warrington to do that when there is a perfectly good Asda close to Richard Kelly Drive in Walton.

nellydeanMarch 6th 2008.

We like the meatballs and gravy (you can buy them to cook at home with the gravy and ligonberry sauce, lovely) but we hate their slapdash after-sale service and their colour-blindness. We bought a front room bookcase/tv plinth system, paid a lot of money for it and constructed it ourselves, only to find that the end top corner unit - the one you see first on entering the room - was a differnt shade of medium brown to the rest. Endless journeys back and forth to get a replacement have proved fruitless, plus, we are still waiting for them to send us the correct shade of bolt covers for the insides of the connecting shelves. Sweden has sent us every shade except the right one, medium brown, of course, and so we have about a dozen pairs of these plastic covers, which I suppose we could alternate as the mood takes us..,rather, i think I will line them up, photograph them, and email said pic to their HQ to suggest that whoever is dishing our these spare parts orders gets his sight tested immediately!

nellydeanMarch 6th 2008.

beech effect, birch effect, every colour under the sun except the ones we want - medium brown. It's not rocket science is it? But apparently too much for our Svedishh friends to understand

Rusty SpikeMarch 6th 2008.

Once in search of an organic brush shank, a chum recommended IKEA and mouthed something about the sooper dooper laminate and knock together yourself shelves; in fact build yerself anything ye bleeding like at IKEA, I'll wager even a parrot or a Lancaster bomber if you want. For a dare we also tucked into the meatballs with lingonjuice, which I thought was a character from Star Trek but my companion got a bit shirty at this, being an IKEA nut, so I dropped the guffawing. Oh, and we also had nice cakes, which seems to be the one thing the Vikings do rather well. By chance, I spied a wild eyed chap on another bench - now they are peculiar dining tables combined with high stools that look like they've been nicked from The Last Chance Saloon in Warrington. S'pose the bench things are meant to persuade you not to linger over long on the lingon. Sorry, bit of a digression, so there was this bloke feverishly chewing a plank of laminate, clearly having misunderstood the nature of the beast, and completely missing the food counters; perhaps assuming that the stuff on sale in the store was also edible. Well, you can't be sure. There was a slight hiatus when what could have been his missus began battering three kinds of bells out of him and yanked a glistening giant red candle out of his mouth, although he still had wax stuck to his teeth. Of course, the idea of the canteen style cafe is obviously in case those bewildered and lost on the eternal trek around the stacks of 'test your IQ with this lot, smart arse' clunks of 'to be assembled at a later date' furniture, assorted kitsch lamps and wooden kitchen implements that would terrify Eskimos, sorry Innuits, could take a break and fill up at the Scandinavian chuck wagon before lurching back into the meandering gaggles of shuffling shoppers, some of whom look like they've been there since 1978; some even weeping in despair. Its an odd sort of outing and best never tackled alone. Mind you, as Fat Git mentioned it first, have you ever spent a weekend on the batter in Eisberg, wrapped around fish or nay? Thought not.

SvenMarch 6th 2008.

There must be an IKEA in St Petersburg.

JokkstraaappMarch 6th 2008.

I had the meatballs in there just last week and they looked as disgusting as they look in that picture and made me feel quite queasy. I would have taken a picture myself but the security guard was sniffing atound and I had to go legging it out of the shop in case he saw the sink strainer I'd bagged in Marketplace.

HandymanMarch 6th 2008.

They do a nice line in oak these days. Or is it more the pine look you want? It's terribly frustrating to get the wrong colour and I sympathise Nellydean, especially when you have to keep going back.

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