On weekdays, LeVeL 33 at MBFC serves modern European cuisine and on Saturdays, they now have a new menu that presents Asian-inspired comfort food, a menu personal to Executive Chef James “Jimi” Tegerdine’s experiences in Asia. He has been with LeVeL 33 since it opened in 2010, a rare occurrence among chefs today, so he feels a certain pride in the restaurant.
What is unique at LeVeL 33: They brew their own beers, and it is worth ordering the sampler, which consists of 5 glasses of 100ml of different beers.
The new menu has Asian twist to classic dishes, and the food is excellent. Everything, from the XO sauce and bun, is made in-house.The roti ($12) is thin and more like chapati, and pairs with a nice bitter Indian Pale Ale curry; this is nice but for traditionalists who like their pratas gheeful, you may want to avoid this dish. The cheeseburger bao ($8) has a ball of beef patty, pinkish in the center, with melted Swiss cheese–could do with a bit of salt.
The bacon man-cakes ($15) are girlish as hell–hey, putting them in a beer mug doesn’t make it masculine-and we love it. The stacks of silver dollar pancakes are interlaced with clotted cream and drizzled with maple sauce. It’s soft and creamy with tart berries. Yums.
The only dish that we were ambivalent over is the pork belly ($13.50), that comes with House Porter bbq sauce. It is good and tender, but could do with more flavor and the skin is hard.
Whole Southern fried chicken ($44, 2-3pax)
The beef tataki ($24) gets interesting: the rare Argentinian tenderloin is topped with pickled mustard seeds, cucumber, and their own XO sauce, which has a wicked heat after the food is long gone, giving a lingering memory. It luxuriates in a piquant, complex soy sauce and, by the side, there is minced ginger as an Asian substitute for mustard. The flavor comes across very Chinese, almost like a steamed fish Hong Kong styled, but in this case, it is raw beef seared at the edges.
My absolute favorite, mac, crab and cheese ($16), is mixed with a combination of two cheeses, Monterey Jack and Comte. The seafood flavor of the crab comes through beautifully as a layer beneath the creaminess and pungency of the cheese; a delightful flavor.
LeVeL 33 does carbs especially well. They sell 20 bowls of fried rice ($14.50) for lunch every Saturday. It has shreds of braised beef brisket and they use their special sauce with so many ingredients I spaced out after hearing the third one. Although it doesn’t have wok hei (and I don’t think they are aiming for it anyway), there is a delicious complexity. If you have an addictive personality, you shouldn’t order this; you won’t be able to stop.
We enjoyed ourselves immensely here. The panorama of Marina Bay view is uplifting, great for locals and tourists alike. Equally good is the food, comforting, interesting, and delicious.
8 Marina Boulevard #33-01 Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 Singapore 018981
tel: +65 6834 3133
M–W 11.30am–12am, Th–Sat 11.30am–2am, Sun 12pm–12am
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Written by A. Nathanael Ho.