From the ashes of Olea comes Level One, Electra House’s second go at creating a popular restaurant on the first floor of the big–budget bar and restaurant complex.
The former restaurant at Electra House was an interesting addition to Adelaide’s dining scene, and the subject of hits–and–misses stories in the culinary world. I was a fan of their version of Mediterranean and thanked the gods for their unsullied Greek food. But Olea is no longer. Swept beneath the seas almost as quickly as she appeared.
Enter visionary entrepreneur Leigh Morgan and former Sean’s Kitchen hospitality whiz Chad Hanson. Their enthusiastic plan is to bring the right people together to create a new dining space with ambitions to be on-trend and on-point. Their team includes head chef Sato Kikuchi, his Japanese heritage apparent in the East-meets-South Australian menu.
It’s been a few months since the night Level One’s first menu was launched to friends, family and guests. On that first night, the new Electra-blue and pink interior design wowed diners, as did the wine and service, but some of the dishes didn’t reach the heights of the design and service. But they’ve made tweaks to their menu and replaced the meals that shouldn’t have made the cut.
The tomato heart salad is pretty as a picture, a fresh autumnal dish that bursts with colour and flavour. Juicy chunks of tomato are piled between crouton rounds of crunchy bread, goat’s curd, tart olives and squeaky Mozzarella.
Dressing is light and fresh herbs lift this dish from a humble premise, as the ingredients sing in perfect harmony.
Lamb cutlets come as they are, nicely seasoned with anchovy and black garlic and cooked perfectly. A little yogurt and edamame is an enjoyable touch, and these are as meaty as they are flavoursome.
A selection of three hibachi skewers arrive still charring over a bed of hot charcoal. This DIY dish includes a dry spice mix for seasoning, and pesto that packs a punch.
Corn-flavoured Parmesan gnocchi is mixed with a selection of young vegetables, including barely-cooked baby peas and radish that add crunch to this otherwise cheesy dish. Fresh pea tendrils deliver colour, and a few strategically placed crouton rounds make this a dish to share, if you can bear to part with it.
Lamb ham is served without too much fuss, sliced thinly atop bread rounds with a side of pickled chutney of sorts. Nothing standout with this one, but still quite pleasant. The relish, or piccalilli for traditionalists, is tart and tasty.
Wagyu striploin has barely touched the grill and is served with yuzu mustard and bone marrow. At the pricier end of the menu, this is a quality cut that demonstrates Japanese simplicity.
Artistic plating brings together different tastes and textures on the dessert menu. A strawberry palette of parfait, powder and consommé is the prettiest of these. The chocolate dish displays an interesting array of chocolate in the form of a fudge round and a formed mousse alongside sheep’s milk yogurt and cocoa nib shards.
Powdered sugar challenges the pleasant bitterness in the chocolate; tart berries with tiny flowers complete the dish. A standout is the lime cheesecake with pools of basil seed, fig compote and a coconut flavour to round things out – the cheesecake is barely sweet and puckeringly sour, balanced with a velvety texture.
Three months on and released from the shackles of their slightly turbulent past, Level One has emerged stronger, bolder and on-trend. There is still a wisp of the Mediterranean in dishes – an homage to the recently departed, perhaps.
King William Street
Dinner: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 5pm until late
Lunch: Fridays, 12pm-3pm
Photos: Jonathan van der Knaap