A visit to Ikea in Kuala Lumpur

Our trip to Ikea in Kuala Lumpur was off to a miraculous start when Julia and I, despite all odds, managed to get up, take the LRT and meet John at 9am. The shopping trip to Ikea was full of promise.

John picked us up from the LRT station closest to Ikea, which was conveniently close to his office as well. He had popped in to the office for a bit of early morning work, before we went shopping at Ikea and he would leave back to Kota Kinabalu.

Inside Ikea - it’s huge man.  Oh, btw, photography is not allowed. Ikea, the warehouse part near the checkout.The Ikea Checkout line - always busy.

The first thing that impressed me when we arrived at the new Ikea building (last time I was at the Ikea in Kuala Lumpur was 6 year ago in 2001), was the huge car park with the very clean floor. This Ikea is apparently the largest in Asia, and it’s easy to see why – it’s absolute huge. It’s also very well run and things just work.

Julia has heard much about the Swedish meatballs they serve in the cafeteria in Ikea, so she thought this would idea for breakfast. Unfortunately they don’t serve until lunch time, and we had to make do with some pasties and coffee, which we collected ala school cafeteria style.

After a short re-charge, we headed off into the Ikea jungle to have a look at all the things we wouldn’t be able to buy, because it would cost twice as much to take back with us to Kota Kinabalu.

I heard a rumour recently from an informed source, that Ikea was coming to Kota Kinabalu. Rumour though, but like rumours go, they were told with an authority that is hard to doubt. The supposedly new Ikea in Kota Kinabalu would be at the upcoming 1Borneo development, scheduled to open early next year – the rumoured Ikea would open March 2008.

An even more informed source, a person privy to the plans of 1Borneo however, confirmed that Ikea was in fact not coming, as no provision for anything Ikea like had been made in the plans – which apparently is the protocol when they expect and anchor tenant such as what Ikea would be. Another source chimed in to confirm this, stating that earlier in the year when Ikea was in Kota Kinabalu for a press junket, the top dog confirmed that Kota Kinabalu’s market was too small to sustain the likes of Ikea.

Of course, now everyone believes what they want. Those who really want an Ikea in Kota Kinabalu, and there are a substantial few, believe that they are coming – those who have the inside scoop firmly believe that they’re not. A concession that was made, was that perhaps they would have a catalogue store front, where you could order your Ikea goodies, which would then be shipped over – I choose to sit the fence and see what happens comes March.

In the meantime, we were in the actual Ikea, walking through the linear layout, seeing how our houses could look like if we did it the Ikea way. I have to admit, I like most of it – small-house living appeals to me, and a lot of their designs are geared towards the smaller apartment and I really like the way they utilise space.

A blue giraffe named Beoffrey.After a good couple of hours, we had run the gamut of Ikea offerings. I got a stand-up lamp, an Ikea kitchen utensil set, cutting boards and a utensil tray. The other two also bought a series of goodies, most notably John’s gigantic chopping board, and Julia with the blue giraffe.

After we paid for our goodies, we headed back to the now packed cafeteria for the much talked about Swedish meat balls. All three of us stood in the queue, which in hindsight was not a clever thing to do. After snaking through along the food on offered, with our little food trolley loaded, we tried to find a seat. Nothing.

Every open table had one person sitting there covering 4 to 6 seats saying “they’re in the queque, will be back soon”. We stood around for a good 10 minutes until we found a small table for two vacant. We wrestled a chair from an old lady and the three of us crammed around the small little table and surveyed our selection.

We had the famous Ikea Swedish meatballs in two small serving, smothered in gravy and topped with chips. We also had what was likely Norwegian salmon and two gigantic frankfurters. As is our custom, all dishes were communal and we munched away, each picking their liking from the plates. The famous, much talked about food was, well, average.

Who’s a sausage whore? Salmon - Norweigan Salmon?The (in)famous Swedish Meatballs.  At last!

After lunch we dropped our shopping in the car and crossed the road to The Curve, one the big shopping centres here in Kuala Lumpur. Christmas was quite apparent here as well, and we walked into the central area which was decorated as a small village in a place where obviously it snows, as there was a tiny little ice-ring next to a hut.

In a little forest is a little hut with a little ice-rink where the ice is a little fake.The ‘ice’-rink features the ‘fake’ ice, such as what recently opened in Kota Kinabalu as well (almost the same size too). Neither John nor I was in he mood for shopping, so we let Julia be whilst we went to go have a coffee.

Soon it was time for John to leave to catch his flight, so we returned home, tired, but several kilos in luggage heavier, thanks to purchases. Before John dropped us off, we had some Pecan Pie and a slice of Tiramisu in Bangsar at a place called Alexis.

John left for the airport and Julia and I returned home to drop our shopping and to take yet another little catnap before meeting up with Ian and Eve for dinner at their place.

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