LeVeL33, the world’s highest urban craft-brewery and modern European kitchen, is known for its perfect golden brews but equally delightful is the restaurant’s kitchen. Giving his menu an overhaul, Executive Chef Jimi Tegerdine has created elegant dishes that complement signature and seasonal craft beers on tap. The menu, according to the Chef, is a reflection and celebration of the stunning ingredients the kitchen sources from independent producers, farmers, fishermen and artisans from all over the world, each supplying the restaurant with their finest seasonal produce.
The tangle of Octopus is marinated overnight in the juice of red cabbage, red wine for added depth and the zing of ginger, lemon grass and lemon has resulted in a glorious starter. The hero remains the octopus sourced from one of Fremantle’s sustainable fisheries. Served with 30-second espelette pepper sponge and a slather of corn puree, the plate is completed with drops of black balsamic pearls and a crackling black squid ink tapioca chip.
The enchanting Forest, literally is visually mesmerizing and will take the diner through a culinary feast in the woods. Served on a slab of oak, this entirely vegetarian dish, which will please even the meat lovers, features seven textures of mushrooms – paper, purée, raw, pickled, sautéed, chips and crumbled. The wild selection of mushrooms used are a mix of shimeji, blue foot, chanterelle, trumpet, and porcini. Served on a block of tree trunk, this captivating starter is completed with an organic egg poached in a 65 degree water bath. The earthy meringue laced with oak essence yolk is the perfect vehicle for aroma and taste.
The soft wonton skin Pierogi is not to be missed. As it arrives at the table, each warm pert white dumpling casing finished with a golden hue is stuffed with milk-fed veal and speck. Served with avocado purée, cold pickled grapes and snow peas, this light starter is finished with a cloud of truffle milk foam and generous sprinkle of crispy shredded veal.
One of the most satisfying mains has to be the Colorado Cutlet. The meat from the corn-fed lamb is more substantial in size than grass-grazed ones and slightly less gamey than New Zealand lamb. Chef Jimi serves his lamb with a thick, dark and absolutely delicious sauce reduced from truffle, mushroom and potatoes. The plate is perfection with fresh sweet figs from either Australia or Turkey (depending on season), which is balanced perfectly with samphire and goats curd.
The Market Catch is a bit of a surprise each week, not just for the diner but for the Chef as well. The Chef works with the fish-mongers in Europe for their freshest catch. Filleted the moment it arrives in the kitchen, the dish prepared with simple elegance is sublime served with salsify poached in hazelnut milk, a drizzle of the tart soy gastrique and a tangle of pickled and raw asparagus.
The Spanish Iberico, brined in LeVeL33’s IPA, is pan baked, maintaining the tenderness of the pork meat and the pink blush inside the meat. The plating is stunning with the serve of intense greens from the butter poached kai lan, caramelized fennel and a pool of dark split marbled malt oil cream. This sumptuous dish is completed with crisp black garlic chips and sprinkle of jamon crumbs.
The side Cabbage is an array of vibrant colours, making this a picture perfect dish. From the filly, crinkly Savoy to the deep-purplish leaves of the Red Cabbage and beautiful Brussel Sprouts, this dish gets a lift from the smoked salt, crisp speck and the delicate red cabbage gel. Influenced by the Mexican street Corn, Chef Jimi has taken this ordinary ingredient and transformed it three ways – the puréed, blistered baby corn, and kernels are served with feta, LeVeL33’s IPA and fiery chipotle emulsion. The zing from fresh lime and a dash of pink pepper make this into a work of art. Leek stalks are sous vide and charred and served whole. The leek is sliced open and slathered with a bone-marrow crumb, the flavours of which are intensified with a combination of anchovies, basil and panko. The soft boiled egg and ash emulsion from the charred leeks give this dish an added depth.
The Chef’s desserts are masterpieces and each one is a deliciously creative work of art.
One of the Chef’s highlights and a simply beautiful creation is the Beehive. This visually stunning and delish dessert depicts a honeycomb, with very close attention to each delectable element. Each diner can take delight in hovering from one chocolate frame to the next, buzzing from the different shades of chocolate frame – from the blond dulcey, milk to the organic dark chocolate. The hive is a flakey cinnamon puff pastry with slight sugar brush and lavender mousse. A scoop of home-made rosemary ice-cream adds to this plate bursting with big flavours. The accompanying jar of luscious fragrant wild forest honey adds depth to this stunning dessert. The Edible Beer Paddle, celebrates the LeVeL33’s microbrewery and features a bite-size whoopie pie, mini-cone, stout and blueberry jam beer float, beer icecream and the popsicle packed with zesty orange peel flavours and aromatic vanilla bean. Diners will uncover a wonderment of flavours as they splinter this light airy Meringue. The Chef uses corn, a slightly unconventional ingredient for this innovative dish. The meringue itself is whipped with burnt corn husks and filled with a white chocolate and corn mousse. On top of the meringue is a speck of delicious toasted corn oil sugar drop, visibly translucent and bursting with flavours. This dessert, begging to be photographed, is beautifully presented with a spattering of salted popcorn, corn custard, white chocolate and corn ganache.
No guest heading to LeVeL33 can leave without sampling the beer dining menu – the Chef works closely with the Brewmaster to ensure a delicious interaction of flavours from the kitchen and the complex beer notes. For this menu, a succulent Lamb Bao, gives punters the ‘street food experience’. Perfect with the Blond Lager, the slow roasted lamb shoulder strewn with cabbage slaw and a bit of heat and acidity from the lime pickle is perfectly balanced by the house porter and apple molasses. Bone Marrow Jaffle is a classic toasted sandwich with all things yummy – slices of sourdough stuffed with creamy Neal’s Yard Red Leicester and the buttery bone marrow spread. The accompanying truffled onion jam and cherry mustard infused with the house porter is pure bliss with a pint of the India Pale Ale. Something for the vegetarian – the Saganaki Sizzler. Inspired by the much-loved Greek dish, LeVeL33 serves up the irresistible creamy sheep cheese sizzling on a hot plate with walnut bread and buckwheat butter. Sensational on its own but a pinch of the garlic salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon elevates this simple dish to a new high. Highly recommended with the Blond Lager.
Executive Chef, James (JIMI) Michael Tegerdine, was enticed into the culinary world in 2001, and went on to cook in leading kitchens around the world. Jimi honed his skills among others at The Relais De Coche, a fine dining restaurant in the South of France where he built his foundations for “old world” cuisine, thoroughly immersed in the creation of classic French dishes. Jimi then moved continents to join Australia’s Wagamama international group of restaurants. With his passion and creativity, he quickly rose up the ranks, and in 2008, was approached by the director of a chain of Australian restaurants to consider the position of “Executive Chef” for Melbourne based Cho Gao, a new restaurant concept – his role, to give a fresh interpretation of traditional Asian dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, Indonesia and Japan. Combining traditional styles, foods, and techniques and mixing them with Western presentation, is where his European and Asian cuisine skills come together. He admits that although Australia was an eye opener, “Foodie Central” Singapore has presented him with exciting new challenges. Passionate yet respectful at the same, this 30 year old executive chef leads a team of “solid boys” from the region delivering a unique dining menu to showcase modern interpretations of European cuisine at LeVeL33. In addition to cooking, Jimi enjoys nurturing young talents and sharing his passion in the same way that he was brought into the culinary world.
LeVeL33’s Brewmaster, Gabriel Garcia, weighs in on how craft beer can be paired with chef Jimi’s new menu.
Chef Jimi’s menu has adopted unique ingredients and presented in a smorgasbord of textures . How do you pair these dishes with the craft beers available ? What is the taste test benchmark like?
Most of the time we try to find harmony in the combination. In order to achieve that, it is important to match strength. Ideally flavour intense dishes go well with flavour intense beers.
A salad wouldn’t match very well the coffee / roasted notes of a stout, but could go very well with lighter beers like our wheat beer or our blond lager.
On the other hand a piece of gorgonzola cheese would need an IPA, a porter or a stout to match that intensity of flavours and cut through the fattiness of the cheese.
How do you source for environmentally friendly ingredients for the brewery?
We source our malts from Weyermann, a family owned company in Bamberg Germany. They liaise directly with German barley and wheat farmers, making sure they comply with the environmental standards. We also source our hops directly from hops farmers in Europe. On top of that, LeVeL33 is in essence with environmental friendly as we do not do bottling and distribution of our beers, avoiding CO2 emission in the production of bottles and distribution.
What brew do you usually serve to a first time craft beer drinker ?
Personally, I would recommend a Wheat Beer or a not-too-bitter Pale Ale to the “first time craft beer drinker”. 15 years ago, I started my journey with a Paulaner Wheat Beer. Sometimes the “first time craft beer drinks” will be overwhelmed by the craft beers if it is too bitter or has a high alcohol volume. There should be no shortcuts in the craft beer drinking path, it is advisable to try more approachable beers (style) before you’re ready for an Imperial IPA or even start thinking to try sour beer.
Do you see a trend of more women drinking stout, or dark beers ?
At LeVeL33, there are quite a number of female guests drinking Stout. Many of them like the hint of bitter chocolate and coffee notes in our Stout. It can be enjoyed like a nice ice coffee, only without the caffeine of course.
What do people say to you, when they found out that you are a non-German brewmaster ?
Many people will immediately associate Argentina with Malbec red wine and steaks. Some even ask if I’m a wine maker. But after explaining that I got my brewmaster degree in Germany, they do understand. However, the question that is frequently asked is how do I manage to work as a brewmaster and maintain my figure (remain skinny)!
What are some hints to keep in mind when doing pairings ?
Bitterness from the hops and roastiness from the malt can balance sweetness or cut through fattiness or creaminess. Sweetness and maltiness of a beer can balance spicy heat (chili heat) and also acidity. Very bitter beer can emphasize the hot spicy flavours, resulting in even hotter spicy perception, sometimes too hot, so it’s better to be careful unless you are a chili head. In very elaborate dishes with different components, we normally look for one characteristic of the dish and try to exploit that. The combination of ingredients on the dish, the way it is eaten (mixing everything or not, with or without a side sauce) and the cooking methods also play a huge part, just think on the difference between poached and roasted. All this is to be considered when choosing the pairing beer.
Sometimes its fun to play with combination of flavours that can bring very familiar flavor sensations to our minds.
An example of that our burratina starter paired with our stout: We have the milk/cream component of the burratina paired with the coffee/chocolate flavour from the stout. The combination can bring to your mind mixtures we are all familiar with: milk with chocolate and coffee with milk/cream.
It is important to keep in mind that beer pairing is not an exact science, but when it works the beer and dish will complement each other enhancing the culinary experience !
Let LeVeL33’s Chef Jimi Tegerdine and Brewmaster Gabriel Garcia welcome you to the restaurant’s latest menu alongside with the freshest brew, to start off the year 2017 right !
8 Marina Boulevard #33-01 Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 Singapore 018981 Opening hours: Monday – Wednesday: 11:30am – 12am Thursday – Saturday: 11:30am – 2am Sunday: 12pm – 12am Eve of PH: Operational hours will extend to 2am PH: Operational hours begin at 12pm