From its entrance, right through to the depths of its kitchens, the entire food atrium exudes the feel of modern art. At Food Opera @ Ion Orchard, diners get to enjoy traditional local favourites in an charming setting of chandeliers, marble tabletops and animal sculptures. In line with the edgy design of Ion Orchard, this 700-seater food atrium, located at basement 4, occupies 20,000 square feet which houses 22 food stalls and 4 mini restaurants.
Food Opera @ ION Orchard Hot
A Feast For The Senseless
As is always the case with most Food Republic food courts, Food Opera is totally style over substance. The sad part is, it isn't even stylish. The décor is over-designed and the food is over-priced.
Coco Chanel once said “Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.” Food Opera would have done well to heed this advice. There is a plethora of decorative objects on the walls, on the floor, on the ceiling… on every available surface, in fact. We Singaporeans have a word for this OTT approach to aesthetics: “obit”.
I don’t need to mention the lacklustre grub and how over-priced it is. Everybody already knows that.
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Tastes better than the average food court!
Food Opera is the food court of ION Orchard. It is well decorated to give a vintage feel and the fountain in the middle of the food court definitely does add to a bustling atmosphere. A diverse range of foods such as Indonesian, Thai, Chinese cuisines are available. The Fish Soup and Indonesian food are my favourite stalls and they often have queues with waiting time up to 15 minutes.
While the food at Food Opera does indeed taste better than the average food court, their prices are also higher. A person would expect to spend an average of $7 for lunch at Food Opera. However, Food Opera is still packed during lunch and dinner hours as it is one of the cheapest meals one can get in Orchard, where everything is known to be overpriced.
Ninja skills and GPS required
After a few times of eating at the Food Opera at ION, I have come to the conclusion not only do you have to exhibit ninja qualities of nabbing seats during peak lunch hour (which in Singapore it is always peak hour, let's be honest), the huge expanse of the food court makes even the most well directed individual become mind-bloggled after walking in rounds trying to relocate their seat after going to buy food. My advice would be to bring a map with you. Or perhaps a GPS for the more tech-savvy individuals.
I have nearly sprung into tears a few times when I had gotten lost walking around and around the food court trying to relocate my seat after heading off to buy food. Adding in the fact I had to push past throngs of hungry customers with a bowl of hot laksa placed precariously on my tray, and it was potentially a recipe for disaster. Relocating issues aside, during my few times lunching in Food Opera, I have consistently stuck with only one dish, which is laksa! (What else?)The laksa outlet there has delicious laksa and the noodles are especially springy, with the broth very thick and creamy. However, the prices are vastly more expensive than what you will find in a regular hawker centre, which is of no surprise since you have to take in account that everything in ION orchard in stinking expensive.
The atmosphere at the Food Opera is not much different from a regular food court, except maybe you will see shopping bags with Prada and Coach labels on them being used to 'reserve' seats instead of NTUC plastic bags. I distinctly remember there was a huge statue of an ox at the front of the food court, which I have no idea what that was about. Were they trying to emulate a 1960's Chinatown vibe? That, I have no answer to, however I find that the clean up service is much faster here than in regular food courts and clean tables are much more common sight.
Overall, if you are too cheap to go to those high-end fancy restaurants at the top floors, Food Opera might seem like the more economical option in comparison (to a certain extent). I would advise newer patrons to try memorising certain landmark stalls near their seats, or else it would be a great tragedy to be lost among the crowds with your food, but no table to eat it on.
Conveniently located in the buzzing ION Orchard, this sprawling food court offers a wide variety of foods that can definitely cater to all sorts of tastebuds. However, I found that it was always very crowded on the numerous occasions I visited, and seats were quite hard to find. Walking areas can also get a bit cramped during peak periods, so do be careful while with hot food!
I loved the dry beef noodles from there. The beef was soft and tender, and there was even a hint of flavour in the noodles themselves. The fishball noodles there are also worth a try :)
However, I think the food there in general is a bit too pricey. I prefer the food court at [email protected]; they offer a wide variety as well but they are cheaper and definitely less crowded.
The opening of Food opera is a double-edged sword. The excellent location that provides such incredible convenience to shoppers obviously comes with a price (pun intended). One would be delighted to find all sorts of local delights here, including fishball noodles, char kway teow, bat kut teh and the like, but at a higher than average cost that undeniably turns Singaporeans who have been used to affordable hawker fare off.
I see no issue in paying for food here IF I am 1) extremely tired from all the shopping 2) too lazy to decide on another dining option. In their defense, the food served is somewhat above average — not exceptional, but not disgusting either.
Even the food courts are expensive in Orchard
Never come to Ion Food Opera for a meal. Their prices are ridiculously expensive, portions are small and the taste is just average. I'd rather pay a few bucks more to dine at a restaurant then to eat overpriced food at the food opera. I would think its a tourist trap, and we locals should not really patronize these stalls.
I tried the sergeant chicken riceand it was badly prepared. The chicken serving was so small and the meat was tough. I also tried the handmade fishball noodles and this was much better and one of the longer queues seen. the fishball were soft and bouncy.
Despite the average and overpriced food, food opera still remains crowded especially on weekends even at a odd timing of 3pm. It is quite difficult to find a seat.
I will not come again unless i wish to rest my legs from the endless shopping or have a bowl of fishball noodles
Go to kopitiam, cheaper.
Unless you're really hungry, don't step in here. Why get unauthentic food here when you can get authentic ones outside at a fraction of the price?
The fishball noodles, fried carrot cake and the other local delights cannot hold a candle to the ones you get at food markets and hawker centres. Granted this place had air conditioning, but kopitiam also has them too, selling cheaper food with the same standard. So unless you just want to fill your stomach, don't bother stepping in.
I am not impressed nor full
High end prices for low end food, what?
This place is a black hole for money. Don't eat here because your money will be squeezed out of you. I remember needing to order twice because my fried kuay tiao was in-consumable. The drinks are overpriced and you can get the same thing just walking down 3 stores to the Indian news-stand.
This place is always full despite its jokes for food and it's not even funny anymore -- who would pay through their nose to eat food even a hawker center would laugh at? I used to work here and after the first 3 dishes (kuay tiao, chicken rice and wanton mee), I completely gave up and avoided this place like the plague.
"Food Opera" isn't fooling me.
Great concept and all BUT....
$6 for a glass of orange juice.
In a food court.
I mean, the concept of the dining hall is nice and all, with great decoration, but honestly, people patronize food courts because they are generally cheaper than restaurants. Apparently in this particular food court, the prices of the food and drinks are almost equivalent to those of established restaurants. Now, where's the logic?
On weekends, it is packed like crazy and the staff working there gets impatient and rude. The layout of the place is pretty complicated and good luck with carrying your tray back to your table (if you can even find one) without spilling any of your soup or having hand cramps.
This food court is situated at basement 4 of ION Orchard together with the food hall. I vividly remember ordering something from the mixed vegetable rice some time this year with a friend and I was totally shocked when we found out about the prices of our food. With two plates of mixed veg rice that probably has 2 meat 1 veg/1 meat 2 veg, we were charged a bomb of $16. It was ridiculous! However, we knew that there was nothing we could do about it since we were in Orchard.
Surprisingly, with the inflated food court prices, this food court still receives a large crowd of customers daily, something which I cannot fathom. The taste of the food here's equivalent to those of other food courts and hawker centres where one only pays for at the most $6 for a plate of food with many ingredients. I would not recommend one to dine here, as one can head to a place with cheaper and better food.