Ideas Lounge is a wine bar and lunch spot nestled away in the courtyard of the Koerner Learning centre on the very northern tip of campus. You can actually cut through a little path just off the center of the Rose Garden to get to the fairly picturesque patio space. Finding it can be a bit tricky, but there are plenty of signs to guide you the entire way there.
Ideas Lounge started a couple of years back with the central premise being to create a place where you could get a quick and healthy bite to eat while talking with your students or colleagues. Originally, the restaurant was reserved for UBC faculty and staff, but it is now open to students as well.
The restaurant’s food and drink are all catered by Sage Bistro, located just on top of the restaurant. Soup and salad are served in a buffet-style and regardless of what you take, you pay $15, tax included. There are also some desserts resembling little tarts and other assorted goodies, but they cost extra. Beer and wine are available and they are both four dollars each per glass.
The service was friendly, the atmosphere quite nice and the food was decent for its price point. The salad bar is nothing too special — then again, it's not like you would expect anything incredible from a salad bar. The lettuce and toppings available were relatively fresh and more importantly, healthy.
The soup was a pleasant surprise. There are two options offered — my choices happened to be a vegetable soup and a salmon curry. I opted for the curry and found a nice blend of spices and vegetables that worked surprisingly well with the salmon in it. Add in fairly cheap beer and wine, and you’ve got a pretty good and healthy meal — minus the beer and wine.
With a nice view and location, decent food and a smart concept, Ideas Lounge is great spot for lunch, especially if you are a member of faculty or staff. However, it does not seem that the restaurant changed much when they opened lunch service to students. To better attract this demographic, they will need to think more from the student perspective. Paying $15 for soup and salad is not something that most of us will want to do. Add two entrée options for the same price and students will be flocking to the restaurant.
Regardless of whether or not any changes do come, Ideas Lounge is still a cool spot on campus to go chat with friends and — more importantly — take a break from the insta-ramen to actually have a good, healthy meal.