Level 5 Bistro and Bar is the latest in the line of restaurants by Abhishek Shetty, a serial entrepreneur with a solid hospitality lineage, hell bent on shattering the status quo about how food should be. Building on top of Kalinga Gourmet Veg. Kitchen is no mean task, however with Level 5 Bistro and Bar, Abhishek has done just that – literally and figuratively.
The ambiance is a fine blend of class and comfort with the two-tone color scheme of earthen browns and whites providing a soothing touch to the place. The pizza oven and the desserts counter in the corner not only bring the action closer to the customers but also serve as a point of interest for the curious minds who love to watch their food being prepared. The desserts counter also brings a dash of color and vibrancy to the corner.
Music adds to the overall ambiance and experience of the place and Level 5 has played some perfect scores on that front as well. Mediterranean music at low volumes enable private conversations at the tables while maintaining the vibes of the place.
For the self-driven and the ones who drive themselves, Level 5 has a dedicated valet service and an automated parking structure which can house up to 60 cars at a time. This is definitely a huge plus point for the bistro as parking woes continue to plague people.
I was honored with an invite by the ever-gracious hosts for a pre-launch tasting session and here is a rundown of my experience.
The entire cocktail menu is curated by THE Shatbhi Basu, who holds the honor of being India’s first professional woman bartender and every drink has her signature stamp on it. Creating beautiful cocktails and mixing drinks behind a bar counter, Shatbhi Basu is still innovative and part of an industry that is young, vibrant and needs her to adapt constantly.
For Level 5, Shatbhi has attempted to create an innovative line of cocktails that use unusual ingredients not usually associated with cocktails and hero the alcohol as well as the other flavors. Leveraging the natural sweetness of fruits and other ingredients, every cocktail was sheer brilliance in a glass.
The Kokum and Kaffir Lime Mojito was an amazing combination of the typical Indian flavor of the kokum and the South East Asian favorite – Kaffir Lime. The drink was served at just the right temperature, so it was possible to sip and savor it right away instead of waiting for the temperature to rise which would result in the ice melting and the alcohol potency going down. It is these minor things that elevate the customer’s experience. #YumYum #HighlyRecommended
|Kokum and Kaffir Lime Mojito|
The Sea Food Chowder is a creamy stew full of squids, prawns, baby octopus and Calcutta Bhetki fish with potatoes, corn and herbs. Served in a bread bowl, quite like a bunny chow, the chowder permeates the bread so one can scrap it off of the sides ever so lightly for the trademark bread in soup taste. Loved the seafood-y aroma of the chowder which served as a precursor to the delicious flavors of the soup. #YumYum
|Sea Food Chowder|
The Not So Greek Salad is a traditional Greek salad given a makeover by including grilled green asparagus spears, oven roasted tomatoes, charred peppers, in-house pickled cucumber, crumbled feta, balsamic reduction and fresh oregano leaves. An extremely light and refreshing salad, this one was packed with flavors and textures. Loved the addition of artichoke hearts and asparagus spears for the added crunch and texture.
|Not So Greek Salad|
Level 5 bakes their own tarts for the quiches and I was impressed with the quality of the same. A perfect thickness, strong enough to hold the stuffing yet not too much to suppress the flavors, the puff pastry was light and flaky.
The Ham & Cheese Quiche had loads of the trademark ham and cheese flavors which are a match made in heaven. A perfect bite sized dish to go with a cold one.
|Ham & Cheese Quiche|
Burgers, Pizzas, Pastas
The one thing that impressed me the most about the Spicy Chicken Barbeque Pizza, was their base. Level 5 has invested a lot of efforts in perfecting their pizza base recipe and it shows in the finished pizza that’s served on the table. An amazing crispy thin base which retains its crackle and snap even 10 minutes after it is served. This allows patrons the freedom to not rush through their pizzas before they turn soggy.
|Spicy Chicken Barbeque Pizza|
The Chicken Steak Burger is Level 5 ’s take on the Sloppy Joe with oodles of the gooey yellow cheddar cheese oozing out. The marinated chicken breast with caramelized onions, and crisp lettuce was a perfect combination of sweet, spicy, soft and crunchy. #DeliciousDelicious
|Chicken Steak Burger|
The Verdure Pasta had fettuccine in a lemon scented cherry tomato sauce with artichoke, broccoli, zucchini, grilled asparagus and mushrooms. While all the ingredients played well with each other, I loved the fact that the sauce wasn’t too tangy despite being tomato-based.
In the mains, the Pork Belly caught my eye and Abhishek confirmed this is slow cooked for hours, slowly breaking down the fats and cooking the meat. Paired with a caramelized apple jus, apple-pie chutney salad and gratin dauphinois, the pork was abso-freakin-lutely melt-in-mouth delicious while the potato mash too made its presence felt rather strongly. Picking up a bit of everything in the bite results in an explosion of flavors that work so well together. Made me moan in pleasure with eyes rolling to the back of my head. #AbsoluteFoodgasm
The Chocolate Bomb looked so gorgeous on the plate, a medley of colors, that I simply could not resist myself from taking a bite, despite being on a restricted diet. The molten lava cake served warm with a mixed berry [strawberry, blueberry, blackberry] compote, whipped cream and vanilla ice cream tasted just as gorgeous as it looked. The sourness of the compote helped cut through the creaminess of the whipped cream while the warm and oozy chocolate cake balanced the cold ice cream. The slivered dry fruits used as garnish on the ice cream and the quenelle of whipped cream provided a welcome crunch to the dish. #HighlyRecommended
Level 5 Bistro and Bar is an explosion of unique global flavors with a wide variety of European cuisines providing an exclusive bistro experience in the heart of Pune city. It fills a void in the culinary foodscape of Kothrud that people didn’t knew existed.
This blog is a narrative of my experience at the event. These are my views that I have expressed in the blog. Others are most welcome to agree or disagree with the same.
The blog is not personally or commercially influenced. I have not lifted, copied or plagiarized it from any source either. However, I have done my due diligence via publicly available information on the internet and as shared by the client/PR agency.
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