IKEA Ätbar it said with big letters in the window as I passed by Nordre gate 15. The familiar Swedish colors above the door. Another IKEA popup store? I remember there was one a few years back in Grünerløkka, but this time the name suggested a food concept.
I went here with a good friend of mine who works in the design industry. We were amazed to see how thoroughly the place had been made into an IKEA home. Kitchen, dining rooms and even a bathroom decorated with art on the wall. The old Asian restaurant that used to be here was completely revamped, walls and ceilings painted, everything decorated with IKEA furniture, lamps, plants, fresh herbs and kitchen equipment.
Obviously, this is a marketing campaign for the new IKEA catalog. However, IKEA has some really nice ideas about food that they want to communicate, and the concept in this store is brilliant. Norwegians throw away too much food – every 5th shopping bag if we are to believe the statistics. IKEA wants to help change this, and they start by cooking your food.
For six days only, from August 6th to 11th, IKEA invites you to bring something from your fridge or kitchen cupboards. Either vegetables or carbohydrates – not meat. A team of chefs led by Andreas Viestad and Tommy Østhagen will cook up a feast! Four large tables are decorated and everyone is invited. There are two seatings, one at 17.00 and one at 19.00. It is based on the first come, first served principle. Similar to the concept restaurant that IKEA had at the food festival Gladmaten in Stavanger this year, you sit down and dine with random people you don’t know. Brilliant!
I told Andreas Viestad after the meal that I was impressed by the level of cooking and the quality of the food they pushed out. My expectations were definitely exceeded. Just look at the amazing amuse bouche of pickled salmon that awaited us at the tables when we entered! Or the succulent piece of lamb with Moroccan spices. It is hard to believe this was almost a free meal.
Andreas told me that people brought a lot of interesting ingredients, which made the job easier for them, but they had also stocked up with some basic stuff and proteins.
– We can’t use the meat that people bring, due to restrictions, he explained.
Many of the ideas and recipes used were from Andreas’ cookbook Noe Godt Hver Dag, which translates to Something Good Every Day. I know which cookbook I will buy next, at least.
There are only two more days left to experience this, and I highly suggest you do! Now, check this amazing grill setup below.