On the 31st of March 2012, I was very lucky to receive an invitation to Ikea Adelaide’s first ever Candlelight dinner party for Earth Hour. In the past they’ve had all lights out for Earth Hour and the usual but this time, a very brilliant person or team came up with the idea of hosting a candlelight dinner party for 20 guests in their store. I must admit there were a few jokes thrown around about being served meatballs and chips but mostly there was anticipation, huge anticipation because it’s never been done, I had no idea what it was going to be like and what they were going to do. Was it going to be at one of their show kitchen/dining rooms upstairs? Was it going to be in the cafeteria? Is it a sit down meal? A cocktail style celebration? All I knew for sure was there’s food and candles involved. Either way I knew it was going to be unique and I was excited.
When we got there I was trying to peek inside watching everyone busily setting up the place. I like what I see so far. Finally the doors opened at the main entrance and we were treated to canapes and pre-drinks with amazing music provided by Alex and Marie. At this point I think everyone realized we’re not getting meatballs and this is going to be a fantastic night. We were welcomed and shown our way to the table. Getting there was magical. The staff had set up a runway of candles running past the check-outs and the hot dog and food sales section. The ambiance was amazing this photo does not do it justice. (note to self, start learning how to use new camera).
When we got to the table it was a beautiful surprise. I looked for my place card and found my seat at the end of the table – perfect for photo taking (yes!!). On each seat was an Ikea goodie bag filled with goodness. They’d gone through the effort of printing out menus and setting up the table so professionally. Then they brought out Wirra Wirra wines – it’s gonna be a good night!
We started with Kaiser rolls and a tasting plate for entree as per menu above. Ikea have chosen to use organic and free-range produce for which I’m glad as they tasted divine. Every element was enjoyable to eat, the Salmon and shrimp terrine was rich and yummy, the Corn fritter went well with the beetroot and avocado. Last but not least, Lime and dark rum marinated chicken (rum?) it was tasty, tasty, tasty.
In between courses the chef came out to have a look. He must be feeling proud the plates were polished clean. For main we had Crusted fillet of beef served on a potato rosti with a port and lingonberry glaze, served with local organic seasonal vegetables. The potato rosti had lost all of its crunch probably from sitting at the bottom with the jus but it still tasted nice. I thought lingonberry was a nice touch for this Swedish inspired menu, very Ikea too. The beef fillet was very tender, I didn’t have a steak knife and it still cut through like butter. It was cooked well, pink in the middle, full of beefy flavour and well seasoned like good steak should be. Can this get any better? They were bringing the food out from behind the ‘hot dog kitchen’. If this was all made from the hot dog kitchen I’m pretty impressed.
By this time guests were starting to mingle. We were feeling relaxed, enjoying the music occasionally singing along (sorry guests!). Candles can really do wonders. I love candles.
Dessert sounded appetizing and sweet. It was White wine and glogg poached pear with macerated fruit farce and cardamom shortbread. Where’s the fruit farce? Inside the pear! It was a delightful surprised. The pear was poached well and the whole dish had a very Christmassy feel which is no wonder because Glogg is a Scandinavian Christmas wine (like mulled wine). The cardamom spiced shortbread helped neutralize the sweetness.
The night was coming to an end. The music seemed to get better, Marie had a beautiful voice and Alex was a talented guitarist. We were served UTZ coffees and teas with dark chocolate and some Swedish Easter chocolates. The time came for the last song of the night and we waved candles together with the staff and sang along.
Rewind to when I got the call on Wednesday 28th of March, I was excited for all the right reasons. It was unique, magical and top quality dining. It was also something different for the staff and I could tell they were excited and really wanted to make everything right. Well you did. I couldn’t fault it.
Alex, Leah and Jane were responsible for putting on a delicious feed. They are the regular kitchen staff at Ikea. Next time you get your meatballs, just remember this post and what they’re capable of.
The ‘waiters’ are current Ikea staff members Abbi, Sally, Andrew and Rob from different departments who’ve done a great job.
Thank you Andrew @ Ikea for making that call. Thank you whoever came up with the idea and most of all, thank you for a wonderful experience. The meal aside, I feel strongly about Earth’s sustainability and also where our food comes from. It’s nice to see that you celebrate that too.