Adelaide’s multi-award winning Modern Asian restaurant has launched its new winter menu for us to share. This contemporarily designed dining hot-spot it’s located on the first floor of Electra House in Adelaide CBD. Whether you’re looking for a unique spot to level up for your loved ones or to divulge in an informed yet formal dining experience with sharing plates of masterly crafted Asian inspired delights – then Level One is the place to go! The hardest part will be deciding which of your plates you will want to share.
From the moment you walk out of the elevator, you’ll feel a modern Scandinavian vibe mixed in with the rustic layout of the buildings historical architectural design. A juxtaposition which they bring to the table here at their venue and throughout their food. The interior has done well at holding a brand new feel since it was refurbished in 2015. We do wonder if only the walls could talk? They’d surely tell us a thousand stories from their heritage; the building was established in the 1900s. Regardless, we are sure there will be no blank space or short of words for you here, as your maître d will inspire you and your party with fine details of every element on the menu and they speak passion into every dish; giving you lots to talk about whilst you longingly wait for the first taste.
The winter menu has been available over the past three weeks. They do change their menu seasonally, once every four months or so as to select hero ingredients which showcase South Australia alongside Asian-inspired cultures. This is truly our favourite way to redefine the dining experience. You will be transported by the unique flare of head chef, Josh Kim; who pays homage to his childhood with a remake of classic home-style cooking, a true soul food experience. Each dish takes you on the journey of his up-bringing; the flavours are thoughtfully developed throughout every dish on the new menu. A great way to celebrate his one year anniversary at Level One. This has been received well from the plate to the public. We would have to agree with the majority.
Let us inspire you to be swayed too!
FERMENTED MELON SALAD
The first plate was an incredible symphony of flavours inspired by the tastes of Thailand. The chef had brought up his first-hand experience, as we were told the story of delicious fruits from the carts on the side of the road in Thailand which had been blended with coconuts into spontaneous concoctions. This was evident in our tasting; we loved how he has remastered this salad with his beautiful plating style. It was light and refreshing to the palate; at first, you sense the rich hit of sweet and crisp watermelon, followed by the subtle sweetness of the rockmelon, then the smoothness of the coconut cream, this is all rounded out with a spicy kick of fermented fennel. What a knockout!
The beautifully balanced miso glaze hosted an array of succulent scallops. Each scallop was smooth and silky to the bite with a delectable contrast of chewiness from the fish eggs and also from what felt like puffed rice in the mouth. Once again being surprised by his ability to create multiple experiences with one hero ingredient. The wasabi salt was very mild, almost just a light pepper as also the fresh horseradish barely made an appearance in the palate. This was still a great dish in totality. We were excited to see what surprises we had coming next.
When the chef was a child, his mother used to hide seafood proteins in his meals to maximise his nutrition, she would blend up fish into a sauce, which I guess is one way to build muscles! Surprisingly we had not been blended asparagus, but the mussels in this tribute. Each long strand of fresh asparagus was cooked to perfection with a crisp bite but soft in chew. This balanced well with the cream of mussels. One end was mild, whilst the other was spicy, both sides had us appreciating the ying and yang created with the in-house crafted furikake.
HERBED GOOLWA PIPI’S
Don’t be fooled by the size of these Pipis or get confused by pasta-like appearance of the lotus rootlet! Both are small in size but generous in proportions. They are ever so creative in mounding them high on the plate mixed with spicy chilli and fish sauce. The fish sauce is lurking beneath. All of the spice has been balanced out by the sweet aroma and taste of the freshest basil leaves floating delicately above the popping bright shells. The lotus rootlet is delightfully pickled adding a extra element of flavour and pizzaz to the plate whilst the fish sauce at the end delivers a perfect blend of sweet and spicy to round out this amazing dish.
The pork has been minced and slow cooked in a bain-marie with a Sichuan soy sauce, giving it a lovingly soft and subtle appearance within the bowl. The tofu bursts in your mouth with a feel of aeration as it pillows in your mouth with bursts of air amidst the whisk of eggwhites, another hidden protein within his dishes! This hearty home-style dish will have you thinking of your family whilst you enjoy the fermented chilli beans and rice that keep you warm in flavour and temperature this winter. An overall creamy texture with an exception of the meat. This is a beautifully modern interpretation of a classic Chinese dish.
SPICY TUMERIC HOMMUS
Move over chickpeas, you have competition and it comes in the form of a cannelloni bean! This dish has been completely re-defined. You will sense the Indonesian inspiration immediately as this dish is brought over to your table. Its bright appearance and bold aroma will take over before you finally get to taste the Indonesian flavours of sambal goreng. The consistency is more on the saucy side. The flavours are unique with a tumeric kick; slightly more of a sweet with the coconut and cannellini bean, however, it has been balanced well with the chilli spice. This has been paired well in proportion to four slices of divine roti bread; this is perfectly flaky and melts in your mouth as you devour every last lick of this modern take of hommus – Vegan lovers rejoice, this ones for you!
GRILLED LAMB SKEWER
After a show-stopping performance; selling over two-tonnes of meat at Tasting South Australia this year (the majority of which was lamb) it was decided that they would continue to showcase the succulent shoulder on a skewer within this winter menu. Impressed by the level of marinate on first taste, and consumed by how perfectly cooked this quality meat was prepared; still pink in the centre! Every piece was lean with a hint of the smoke of the chargrill. The sauce on the side was somewhat sour and packed a punch. We recommend the meat be experienced on its own.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN KINGFISH
Fish so fresh it came off the boat! Exactly how the chef had experienced it growing up. In the summer of Korea, they would go to the fish market and purchase the finest of fish to have as sashimi. They would return home and chop up vegetables and chilli’s fresh from their fridges, then placing it all on top of a bed of ice, finally crowning it with this king of all fishes with a traditional Korean sauce – this kept them at the right temperature all season. Flash forward in time and chef Josh Kim has transported this exact feeling with his sashimi of South Australian Kingfish wrapped in delightful nori. Don’t let them play down the sauce – It’s a true king here! As it revolutionised the dish for a winter warmer. The gochujang is so good with everything, including the crunchy fresh coleslaw and finely sliced apples underneath this locally sourced kingfish. You’ll be pouring this sauce over everything! This dish is a must try!!
TOM YUM VEGETABLES
This dish is where east meets west! A classic take on tom yum with an earthy feel from the woodiness of the shitaki bamboo mushrooms, bitterness of the baby corn and an array of bitey tomatoes. There is a distinctly dry sensation with the hot and sour flavour of tom yum melting across the medley of mushrooms. It’s evident that every vegetable has been perfectly picked as they each balance out the flavours of the sauce with fragrant spices to entice, you’ll be coming back for more! Another vegan dish to delight in.
POACHED LOCAL PEAR
I live for dessert, this local poached pear ticks every box for a lovely last course. My favourite by far! You have not experienced life until you have tried this and added it to your repertoire of tastes. Your spoon lovingly parts the pear in pieces as if it were warm butter, this is poached to perfection! Partnering with coconut sorbet on top of a coconut sponge, light and airy. The sweetness is balanced with the tartness of lemon gel hidden underneath, with a side of raspberries to be even more surprised! The almond dukkah gives a cacao-like crunch to an overall smooth consistency. I feel like I have experienced so much more on this one plate than I could have imagined I would be upon ordering a poached pear. Wow – Do not leave without ordering this dessert!
FRIED ICE CREAM
If someone were to ask me the one thing that I remember vividly about dining out as a child I would without a doubt recall my deep fried ice cream experiences. We would scavenge the menu as kids to find dessert and be pleasantly surprised when we saw it there. Then we would have a hard time to choose between chocolate, strawberry and caramel. I am glad the chef picked the sauce as well as I had when I was younger – opting for the caramel. However; I could never have dreamed of fairy floss! This modern take on the classic childhood favourite was kept very nonchalant on the menu but came out vivid in the colours of floss and flowers. There was more of a coconut cake consistency and less of a fried feeling which I thoroughly enjoyed. This matched well with the house-made ice cream, which held well without melting with that perfectly curated caramel sauce! It was not too sweet and not too salty, sitting at the bottom of the plate (it could do with some more though!) It was only missing the bowl!
The whole experience was like travelling around the world and back in time on one ticket; the heart and soul of this menu. Gladly being toured by the passionate team at Level One. We hope you get to experience some of the best dishes that Adelaide has to offer this winter within the Modern Asian Fusion Scene.
Words by Leesha McGuiness
WHERE: 131-139 King William St, Adelaide