Level One - Electra House - Menu Tasting

Level One - Electra House, 131-139 King William Street, Adelaide SA 5000

On The Chopping Board (OTCB) was invited to Level One at Electra House for a menu tasting. All food and beverages were provided on behalf of Level One.  Level One is situated on level one (funny that!) of Electra House and recently took over the same dining room where Olea once resided.  We had the opportunity to visit Olea on a couple of occasions but were never really very impressed (see Olea Launch and Where's the Meat for our previous reviews).  So on invitation to Level One we were a little apprehensive to say the least, as to what this new look, cuisine and chef would deliver.

The centre table at Level One
Arriving for dinner mid-week we are greeted by lovely aesthetic changes to the dining room.  What once was white, white and more white, is a soft pink and navy colour scheme throughout.  A long high table and chairs sits stunningly in the middle of the dining room, making it a great option for groups of approximately 12, to take centre stage and overlook an impressive tree lit with fairy lights on King William Street.  Overall the interior design brings a lovely chic but relaxed vibe which makes it easy to want to stay for hours and hours... and that we did!

We were presented with an impressive feast of dishes to allow us to sample numerous items across the concise, well designed Asian fusion menu divided into raw, small dishes, land, sea, seasonal, feast (large dishes) and dessert.  My foodie guest this evening (Paula) is pregnant which presents a challenge as she is unable to eat raw meat, seafood or egg but the chefs take this in their stride and kindly design a custom menu to ensure she does not miss out.  A perfect example of the thoughtful and kind service we received throughout our entire visit.

Now to the food! Satoshi Kikuchi (Sato) is the Level One Head Chef and holds an impressive CV, previously working at Sean's Kitchen, Black by Ezard, Tetsuya's and North at SkyCity amongst others.  To kick start the 11 courses for tonight's tasting we are presented with 'Oysters' prepared as a modern take on  'Angels on Horseback' which is traditionally prepared by rolling shucked oysters in bacon and baking them in the oven.  Tonight the oysters are served raw but with a slight grill under the salamander with Guanciale (salted and smoked pork cheek).  The combination of the sea salt flavours from the oyster and the smokiness of the pork is a tasty start to the night.

Fried Balls
Due to the oysters being served raw, the alternative dish for pregnant Paula is 'Fried Balls' filled with ungai (eel), cod, fungi and reggiano.  An enjoyable dish with a lovely crisp fried outer and oozing cheesy centre elevated with some bechamel sauce and tender pieces of eel, cod and mushroom.

To accompany our food tonight, Level One select a BK Wines Adelaide Hills Chardonnay for us to enjoy in the biggest wine glasses I've ever seen!  It seems I was quite in awe of the glass that I forgot to get a photo.  Not one to select a Chardonnay myself, I am pleasantly surprised that this one does not taste like the dry acidic version I've had in the past.  We are informed this wine is a mix between new and old age Chardonnay and I place this BK Wines Archer Beau drop in my memory bank for future reference.  The wine list is large and full of many local, interstate and overseas wines to select from.  If you are easily overwhelmed with these sorts of decisions like myself, then let your trusty waiter make the selection for you.

Next up a fun dish of 'Scampi' served with lime, avocado, chilli and puffed wild rice.  Delicate meaty pieces of raw scampi and accompaniments are proudly sitting on top of half a fresh lime.  The idea of this dish is to scoop the scampi and all it's toppings into your mouth, tilt your head back, give a good squeeze of the lime in your mouth and enjoy!  So much fun, almost taking me (Amanda) back to crazy nights of tequila shots at the club!  An awesome concept and a fresh and delicious way to let this scampi shine.  I could have over-indulged in half a dozen of these easily.

Cooked Scampi
For Paula, a cooked scampi with the same accompaniments is served and just as delicious as the raw version with the refreshing lime, creamy avocado, heat from the chilli and crunch from the puffed wild rice balancing out the sweetness of the scampi well.

The 'Scallops' with oyster cream, bacon and ginger are impeccable.  Cooked to perfection resulting in a juicy, tender and flavoursome scallop. It is easy to eat by placing the scallop atop a sepia cracker (made from squid ink and tapioca) with the other elements to enjoy with your hands. Simplistic but full of flavour and texture.

Paula was spoiled with 'Grilled Kingfish' served with horseradish, pink grapefruit and botargo which she loved.  The delicate kingfish is treated with tender loving care ensuring a moist juicy flesh, light to eat and enhanced with some heat from the horseradish, sweet acidity from the grapefruit and  balanced out with the saltiness of the botargo.

Essence of Pork
The 'Essence of Pork' is served in an elegant stone black bowl and filled with strips of pork, textured egg yolk (Paula enjoyed hers without the egg yolk as it was not completely cooked), asparagus and truffle.  This is finished with a consomm√© poured into the bowl atop the elements at our table. I have never experienced an egg yolk of this texture before and it is amazing! From the smooth glossy exterior to the moist, thick, creamy and smooth interior it is a delight to pair with the salty pork and perfectly clarified consomm√©.

Pickled Mushrooms
Pickled mushrooms in a jar are presented next to act as a little palate cleanser if you may!  Serving anything pickled to a pickle addict is a good move and I love the seasoning's of chilli, ginger and szechuan peppercorns in this pickling mixture.  If a pickler is to be picky I would have liked a little more tang of acidity in this jar of pickles.

Aburi Trout
Aburi anything is also a favourite of mine so I was excited to try the very prettily plated 'Aburi Trout' with nori gel, rice puff, caviar and pickled ginger.  Ingredients 'puffed' seem to be the "in-thing" tonight and I sure am digging it!  Rice paper is puffed to provide a great textural element without taking away from any of the star ingredients on the plate.  The trout which is cooked by a confit method at 40 degrees and then finished with a quick flame to sear the outer, creates the most divine texture I've experienced.  I can't even explain it so you will have to go and experience this for yourself but it's magic!  Nori gel is another element I've never had before and is a lovely thick gel that's great to dip the tender trout in.

Next some theatre was brought to the table in the form of 'Hibachi'. Reigning from Japan, Hibachi is a mini charcoal grill and tonight it is hosting lamb and chicken skewers.  On the side, two types of condiments to dip our meat skewers in - a flavourful dry spice mix and a pesto. Both meats are cooked well with the chicken impressively tender and moist.  We have a lot of fun mixing the different condiments with the meat to create our own flavour combinations.

A side for the meat skewers we have is the 'Eggplant' with miso, chilli, mushroom and macadamia.  The eggplant was a little overcooked for my textural palate as I prefer mine a little firmer but excused by the delicious miso flavours and creaminess of the macadamia crushed enough to form a slight paste with additional crunchy macadamia pieces throughout.  This dish worked well with the smokey flavours from the Hibachi meat skewers.

Tomato Heart
Some more cleansing required before the big main course finale we try the 'Tomato Heart', a salad of tomato, goat's curd, basil, olive crumb and mozzarella.  A simple salad yet so tasty due to the fresh and high quality ingredients, we just can't leave any of it behind no matter how too pretty it looks to touch!

Beef Short Ribs, Chicken Fat Potatoes (rear)
Ok hold onto your hats because we are now embarking on the last two savoury dishes of the night. Even though I was extremely bursting at the seams by this point I'm glad I did not give up as these are my two favourites of the night!  I've had some wonderful tender beef short ribs in my time but the 'Beef Short Rib' we have tonight is unbelievable! I have no idea how they get this beef to just melt in my mouth but that it does!  Melt, melt, melt with so much flavour it was a joy to place the soft moist pieces of beef into a cos lettuce leaf and top with the creamy dreamy russian dressing.  The flavour combination tasted oh so familiar to that of my favourite reuben sandwich (see Delicatessen Kitchen & Bar) minus the sauerkraut and had me ooohing and ahhhing like a crazy foodie lady! To top off this amazing dish is the bowl of chicken fat potatoes with delectable fried chicken skin to crunch on.  Yes, please and thank you!

Pork Belly
Last but not least a wooden board full of 'Pork Belly' is presented with sides of pancakes, pickled cucumber, carrot and radish, with two sauces.  I love a good peking duck pancake and this pork belly version is just as good if not better!  The crunchy pork belly skin and moist tender meat is a delight in the warm thin pancake topped with delicious pickled vegetables and combination of sauces.  Honestly you need to leave now wherever you are and order this dish ASAP! 

Beginnings of Dessert


Do I really need to share?!
I didn't think I had it in me to eat anything else after this 10 course feast but hey what's one more course and it's dessert after all... different stomach right?!  The cool thing about tonight's dessert is that a lovely chef came to make it at our table.  Rectangle black tiles are placed in the centre of the table with glossy mounds of chocolate mousse.  The plate is then adorned with many colourful and textural elements by the chef including fairy floss, marshmallow, raspberries, blueberries, popping candy and much more to complete this edible artwork.  My feeling of fullness seemed to disappear in the wink of an eye and before I knew it, Paula and I were fighting for the last scoop of the pretty, sweet goodness!

Pot of Herbal Tea
If you've made it through reading this epic review I thank you but I just couldn't leave out mentioning a dish as they were all so worthy in their own right.  I'm so glad Level One has taken over the previous dining incumbent Olea and have totally wiped my memory clear of the mediocre food I experienced there.  A huge thank you and congratulations goes to Chad, Mat and Leigh for their wise, creative and awesome vision they have worked hard to bring to fruition.  I will definitely be returning with all my friends in tow for more Level One feasts especially as the menu changes seasonally.

Last but not least I'm disappointed in myself for not being aware of Head Chef Sato and his amazing culinary skills... he took us on a flawless foodie journey tonight that we will never forget!  Please do yourself a favour and visit Level One and let us know of your experience in the comments below.

If you would like to enjoy a similar feast, Level One has a variety of Fixe Menus for parties of 12 or more and lets you sit back and relax while the culinary experts take you on an exquisite feed me journey.

P.S. even the dinner music is super cool and you can continue your night downstairs at the bar which completes the total venue satisfaction package!

Level One Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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