After eight successful years in business, LeVeL 33, the craft brewery cum restaurant billed as the world’s tallest microbrewery, looks set to take-on new culinary challenges.
Recently, the restaurant introduced a new executive chef, Hong Kong-born, Australia-trained ArChan Chan, who joined chef de cuisine, Maksym Chukanov, in the restaurant’s quest to evolve towards a less meat-intensive menu, one that is more refined and which embraces the microbrewery’s expertise in brewing ingredients like hops, yeast, spent grain and malt.
The sour dough, for instance, is baked with warm beer malt and served with a dollop of malt chips-flecked butter whipped with oven-roasted yeast. Together, the aroma of the sour dough with beer butter is mild but on the palate, it takes on an intoxicatingly nutty journey.
The kingfish sashimi ($26) dish is also a highlight. Kombu is first soaked in soy sauce and housemade lager, then used to marinate sliced kingfish. Served in a dressing of cucumber juice, parsley and sesame oil with pickled cucumber, tapioca chips and tapioca sago pearls, the kingfish arrives with piles of spent, a by-product of beer-making, that has been dehydrated and blended with nori, puffed rice and malt. If we may say so, the savouriness of the gritty spent ‘sand’ threatens to steal the limelight from the kingfish.
LeVeL 33’s wheat beer also makes an appearance as dashi, but with kombu and katsuobushi, in the dish of Hokkaido scallop ($24). Served in its shell with a piece of the pan-seared scallop on a bed of seaweed salad and the same spent ‘sand’, the dish is umami personified.
While malted barley is a common ingredient in beer-making, Chan thought it a great idea to serve the ingredient as risotto ($36) and she cannot be more right. The fibrous grains are boiled and pickled (to extract their flavour), added to malt puffs for added texture, then cooked with butter, shallots, white wine, Parmesan and cream, and finished with dill oil. Served with pan-seared local sea bass, the risotto is surprisingly light and tasty – I wouldn’t have minded a solo dish of malted barley risotto without the seabass.
There are other dishes that don’t call for beer-related ingredients, amongst them an under-seasoned tomato consomme ($22) with heirloom and vine-ripened cherry tomatoes that passes muster.
And the vegan-friendly and gluten-free gardens green tart ($29) of seasonal vegetables (fresh peas, zucchini, flowering chives and fresh herbs finished with lemon and grate garlic) encircled by a crispy ring of fried taro ring topped with shaved macadamia nuts, lovely if a little weighed down by pea puree.
Just as you don’t come all the way here and not order a mug of the freshly-brewed beer, I would also suggest that you don’t leave without trying Chukanov’s layered honey cake ($15). An ode to his Russian heritage, the cake is teamed with a quenelle of sour cream ice cream, lemon balm, fermented kamquat and beer aerated honeycomb. It is guaranteed to end your meal on a high.
Did I say that you should come for the beers and panoramic views, and stay for Chan’s food?
Tower 1, Marina Bay Financial Centre, Singapore 018 981; level33.com.sg