Plant balls have launched at IKEA's restaurants.
Instead of actual meat, the "sustainable alternative" uses plant-derived ingredients like yellow pea protein, oats, potatoes, onions and apples.
According to IKEA, this magical combination somehow replicates the taste and texture of meat.
We'll have to gently disagree.
Cooking it at home
For those dining in, it costs the same as regular meatballs, at S$6.50 for eight.
Otherwise, it's S$8.50/12pcs, S$10.50/16pcs, or S$12.50/20pieces.
You can also buy a bag of frozen plant balls from the Swedish Food Market, which comes for S$8/24pcs.
You will require cream sauce (S$2.60/packet), as well as raspberry and blueberry jam (S$6.50) to complete the dish.
After (haphazardly) cooking the frozen plant balls that we received from IKEA, here are some reactions from the colleagues:
Colleague who has never eaten IKEA's meatballs (yeh, they exist): "Mmmmm!! Really good!!!"
Colleague who dislikes non-meat products masquerading as meat: That's me, just read this article.
Vegetarian colleague: Rather stoic expression, but no complaints.
Colleague who runs over whenever there's free food: Came back for another ball.
Colleague who does our food review videos: "Urhm, taste like curry puff leh?"
Frying it in a pan lends it a desirably crisp exterior, although it cannot disguise the fact that the balls are not made with meat.
Cutting it into half also shows the difference in texture with meatballs, but this factor is not immediately apparent to the tastebuds.
While the plant balls are distinctly unmeaty despite IKEA's best efforts, it's not necessarily in a bad way.
The blend of plant ingredients somehow end with an onion-y aftertaste, but the raspberry and blueberry jam is a good counter for it.
Overall, still a decent savoury option.
So... yeah. Go for it if you're keen for a sustainable meal.
Top photo by Mandy How