The beauty of a GPS is that it gives you the confidence to take the road less travelled or the ‘scenic’ route. A trip home from the Blue Mountains saw D and I take a detour via Marsden Park to visit the Lindt Factory Outlet. We took a winding road down a steep mountain and we’ve not seen so much untamed bushland in a very long time, probably not since high school. Midway through a stretch of road with fields dotted with horses as far as the eye can see, we began to wonder if we weren’t heading even further away from Sydney.
But we arrived at Marsden Park eventually and got distracted by the IKEA long before we made our way to Lindt.
We stumble into the cafeteria after D checked out their free locker station nearby, and the Nordic Fruit Water ($1.99 for a glass with free refills) catches our attention for the sole reason that it dispensed…
… a Sparkling Nordic Pear Water. The drink smells like pears but doesn’t taste of it. Rather, it reminds of the distinct taste of L&P from New Zealand only that this is less sweet. We like pear, but we like L&P too, so this was a winner.
Another flavour dispensed by the machine is a Still Lingonberry. We’re not familiar with the fruit, though we agreed that the drink tasted like a typical ‘red fruity drink’, slightly tart, slightly sweet. Lingonberries are apparently popular in Nordic countries and have a sour, slightly sweet and bitter flavour.
Their Sparkling Nordic Raspberry Water has a very refreshing mellow sweetness of fresh raspberries. There’s none of that artificial raspberry cordial flavour of our childhoods in this. We’d have preferred a heavier emphasis on the ‘sparkling’ part of the description, though, and that applies to the pear too.
Sparkling Nordic Lemon Water tastes just like regular lemonade from Schweppes. We also try their Green Iced Tea for completeness, which tasted like a sweet, fizzy lemon green tea from Lipton with an awful detergent-like aftertaste.
A few months earlier I’d gotten D all excited over Almondy Cake with Toblerone, only to realise that it wasn’t available to Australia. A quick look at the food selection at IKEA and we spot a slice of the Almondy Cake with Daim ($3.90). This was as close as we’d get to the Toblerone version for now, it seemed.
Unfortunately, the almond caramel base lost its promised crunchiness from sitting outside too long, so the milk chocolate coating with crushed almonds was the highlight, cutting through the sweetness and heaviness of the base and cream. We’d have enjoyed more chocolate for a more indulgent treat.
On a second visit, we try the Passionfruit Cheesecake ($3.90), seduced by the ribbons of passionfruit sauce. The cheesecake itself had a bright and sweet yet tangy passionfruit flavour with a light texture and the passionfruit sauce added that extra delicious kick.
Eventually, we get around to trying the savoury food options. These are the Swedish Meatballs, Chips & Gravy ($13.90) with lingonberry sauce. The meatballs were tender, although processed, and the gravy had a surprising dairy flavour to them that I’ve not encountered in gravy before, while the lingonberry jam added a well-complemented pop of sweetness. The chips were enjoyably crispy.
And this is the Children’s Fish and Chips ($3.49) with peas. The ‘fish’ are fish-shaped! Overall, this plate was great value for $3.49.
The downside, though, was the ‘fish’ were less of a deep-fried fish fillet, but more processed with a distinct vegetable flavour — is there any fish at all?!
Children’s meals come with a complementary jelly cup. This lime one had a punchy flavour, although the jelly frog has become weirdly soft and not chewy from sitting on top.
IKEA Restaurant & Cafe is at 1 Hollinsworth Rd, Marsden Park NSW 2765.