A stunning view, gorgeously plated dishes, delicious beers brewed in-house, and maybe a glass of sweet wine to end the night: LeVeL 33 at Singapore’s Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 is probably one of those places in Singapore you would want to visit for that great night’s out to impress and unwind!
Yet for all that is already exciting, LeVeL 33 has refreshed its menu lineup! Starting this month, the microbrewery, already famous for its crafts beers made in house by its resident brewmaster Gabriel Garcia, is taking a leaf out of the brewmaster’s handbook to incorporate brewing techniques within each dish that is created.
Executive Chef Jimi Tegerdine akins this move as a revisit to the “heart of LeVeL 33’s DNA”. Dishes are inspired, and crafted, out of the brewing process, with an idea to elevate the accompanying drinking experience. It is in essence a marrying of the two key strengths of the microbrewery and restaurant. With visions for such harmony, high expectations are set. Yet for the deep talks about harmonizations being highlighted, there was still little clarity on how the incorporation or inspiration of brewing techniques have necessarily made things different. Nevertheless, in terms of the dishes’ flavour, presentation styles, the accompaniment of delectable drinks, LeVeL 33 definitely does not disappoint!
Impressive Starters – Go for the Japanese Deep-Sea Crab
Dinner got off to a great start with the Japanese Deep-Sea Crab ($28++; tasting portion depicted) that featured a play on both flavours and textures. The crab legs were poached in butter and served alongside variations of corn. With inspiration taken from the microbrewery’s brewing tube, one variant saw the creation of a corn cannelloni sitting alongside nicely with slices of charred corn and a smattering of popped corn. A wonderful presentation! In particular, I found the use of intense, acidic rich lime-gel beautiful. It was gorgeously paired with the sweet crab, cutting through the flavours every now and then. The toasted curry leaves sprinkled over the top also lifted the dish a notch, and lent a delicate spice to what would otherwise be a different dish altogether.
The Hokkaido Scallop ($27++; tasting portion depicted) that was served next looked like something that was served straight out of a landscape painting. Presented in bold strokes, and layered with two to three tones of colour, the scallops invoked pause for appreciation. Lighty poached in dashi, and then served with orange caviar made from agar and blood orange juice, together with a sprinkling of bonito flakes on the top, the scallops were left meaty, sweet and clearly the highlight of the ‘painting’.
Leaping forward with a delightful Kangaroo beetroot main!
Before I get into the what was a personal highlight of the meal, vegetarians would be delighted to know that the Truffled Kumara ($28++; tasting portion depicted) is one main that they can look out for. In fact, the needs and sensitivities of special diets can largely be catered by the restaurant’s kitchen – one would simply need to ask and inform the staff beforehand. That said, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the Truffled Kumara. Although the idea of Kumara sweet potatoes served three ways with trumpet mushroom, sake-fermented leek and truffles sounded exceptionally appetizing, I did not take to the oily sweet potato leaf. The ‘ravioli’ made from sweet potato was also a touch uninspiring, and rather ‘flat’ in my opinion.
I am glad that the popular Kangaroo dish from LeVeL 33 will be left on the menu ($37++; tasting portion depicted)! Kangaroo loin is firstly sous-vide for 10 hours, before it is removed and char-grilled. The portion of meat is then garnished with slivers of beetroot leather, drops of beetroot vinaigrette and puree, and then served alongside a turnip puree. There was a nice smokiness from the grill, and the sous-vide method of cooking ensured that the kangaroo loin remained juicy and tender. Not exceptionally gamey and yet brimming with a subtle intensity of savouriness and the occasional rooted sweetness, I marvelled at the simplicity of this dish. Just a slight shame that the tasting portion and the overt use of beetroot vinaigrette made it all look a touch ‘bloody’. Rest assured that the original portion is much more vibrant and delectable!
One main to share amongst a table of 2-3 is the NY Strip ($135++; original portions depicted). 8-weeks dry-aged French sirloin is lightly roasted to a beautiful medium-rare and then sliced into meaty portions which are then recommended with sides of Butternut Squash ($15++; original portions depicted) and Spinach ($15++; original portions depicted). I am an advocate of LeVeL 33’s butternut squash: sweet, wholesome; and utterly satisfying, it was a perfect accompaniment and staple to the steak.
Desserts kept simple and satisfying!
For the new menu, LeVeL 33 has also crafted, specially, a selection of desserts to lend a sweet smile to diners around the table. Cereal ($13.50; tasting portion depicted), made from shaved macadamias, beer malt praline, almond milk mousse and lemon curd, has been touted as a must try at the restaurant! Light but decadent, the dessert was a homely affair in rounding up the meal with notes of delicate sweetness, and, a satisfactory creamy indulgence.
Alternatively, if you are in the mood for something along the lines of refreshing clarity, go for the Strawberry ($15++; tasting portion depicted). Bits of home-made meringue is plated with a strawberry syrup glazed around a scoop of sorrel ice cream. However, as I was lactose intolerant, the kitchen kindly created for me a portion of sorbet and berries dusted with icing sugar as a sweet treat to finish the night!
Beers, Cocktails, or Wine?
Being a microbrewery, LeVeL 33’s has quite a good selection of craft beers, all made in-house. My favourite had to go to the Session Pale Ale – a creation that though low on alcohol, was remarkably crisp and exceptionally delicious to savour. For the dinner, we had a flight of beers to partake in: Lager, the seasonal Session pale ale, the English IPA, the German Wheat Beer, and the English IPA. A remarkable range, and exceptionally heartening to know that the beer is fresh straight from the tap.
If, however, beers are not your thing, the restaurant does offer quite a decent selection of cocktails. For the night, I partook, first, in a glass of Sundown ($23++). Made from Canadian Club, passion fruit syrup, fresh kumquat and soda, this was probably one refreshing drink to beat Singapore’s sweltering heat. The Skylight ($23++) was made from Ketel One, spicy mango syrup, fresh lime, white sugar and soda. Indeed, as the ingredients would have suggested, this concoction definitely had a lot more zing and zest in each sip.
And if the desserts on the menu doesn’t strike your fancy, there is always the option to tuck in to, and to my surprise, a beautiful selection of sweet wines. I ordered the Zweigelt Tschida ‘Schilfwein’ ($20++ per glass/ $92++ per bottle). Hailing from the Neusiedlersee region in Austria, this particular selection of fruity dessert wine was remarkably crisp, luscious, with just the right balance of honeyed notes and floral scent. Even though LeVeL 33 is hailed as a microbrewery, I would definitely pay a closer attention to the wine list the next time round!
Verdict: Deserves a return visit!
LeVeL 33 at MBFC Tower 1 certainly has my seal of approval as the place to visit for great food, great drink, and great scenery. Though not all the dishes on the new menu were distinct hits, the overall quality and flavour makes the dining experience notable. And the best part to complement the entire meal? A sublime selection of desserts and drinks. An overall package that the restaurant can be proud to say is their own!
Thank you LeVeL 33 for the invitation.