This colossal, brightly lit building sprang up out of nowhere one day on an otherwise quiet suburban street in Four Bungalows.
Inside is like the movie Inception: a building, within a building, within a building- both an indoor and outdoor dining section, separate indoor and outdoor private function areas as well as a banquet hall.
The unnecessarily vast menu offers everything from Thai and Chinese, to Indian and Continental. To add to the confusion, another version of appetizers are listed at the very end of the menu, after the dessert.
I ask for a wine recommendation, maybe a nice international red. The fumbling, nervous waiter rattles off something incoherent. I ask for a tasting. After 10 minutes two glasses finally arrive, filled with a decent sample size of a pleasant, full-bodied red at room temperature. Pleased, I nod my approval.
The wine that turns up is chilled to the bone, uncorked and of a cheap local variety. I am utterly disgruntled, at the waiter and myself for not checking the name of the wine properly.
As is customary at any restaurant, I first order appetizers, then mains. Thirty minutes pass. I start getting restless. Imagine my horror when all five dishes arrive at once, the final few becoming cold by the time I got to them.
The entree of grilled Valencia tiger prawns with smoked salmon and ginger citrus reduction arrive looking bafflingly salad-like, with mashed potato perched underneath.
With grilled food it is customary to provide sauce on the side, should the meat wish to be lightly dipped into the condiment. The prawns have been marred by a quivering dollop of sauce, resulting in a soggy, curried texture.
The oversimplification of this dish is extremely disappointing – I want to do the work of dipping and tasting myself, yet here it is done for me in a disastrous fashion. The smoked salmon only serves to add further confusion and does not accentuate the muddled flavour of the prawns.
The pink-peppercorn infused scallop with wild rocket and saffron coconut jus is a pleasant surprise in terms of taste, but again I expected it to look different.
Vaguely resembling dumplings, the balance of the sweet coconut jus complements the mild scallops perfectly.
The presence of rocket, though mentioned on the menu is nowhere to be seen on the plate.
As always, I decide to sample the lamb chops – a Middle-Eastern interpretation of oregano and garlic, with dill flavoured labneh. A good-sized portion of tandoori lamb chops or barrah kebab, materialises in front of me.
Admittedly deliciously authentic in flavour, lamb quality is fantastic with a great deal of meat on the bone; they are however yet again not Middle Eastern’ as was described on the menu.
For the main I order Creole steak and prawns – certified angus fillet mignon rubbed with Creole spices, garlic white wine prawns with forked potatoes.An interpretation of the famous ‘Surf & Turf’, the meat quality is good, however overcooked for the requested ‘medium’ and difficult to hack into without a steak knife. The prawns accompanying the dish are phenomenal – grilled to perfection.
One grave error in this dish are the potatoes, which were described on the menu as ‘forked’. The proper method of preparation is to oven roast whole potatoes then graze them with a fork.
I dismally note the exact same mashed potato which has been served with the grilled prawn entree.
At the end I decide to sample a special tasting plate of dessert.
The chocolate decadence is light and fluffy with an appropriate balance of sweetness and crumble. With polished, sophisticated tones, the cake is of such fine quality that chocolate sauce is not needed to lubricate the dish.
Authentically baked New York style, the cheesecake is rich and creamy with a simple, refined biscuit base. The berry compote is thick and personable and marries well with the resonating vanilla tones of the cake.
The basil panacotta intrigues me – I’ve never had one which is savory. I dig in to find this interpretation commences daringly with sprinkles of basil on top, mobilising the diner in a strong chokehold. I press on with the dedication of a WWE wrestler. The dessert then graduates to a mystifying clear jelly, leaving a scaldingly bitter after-taste.
This is nothing like any panacotta I have ever tried, nor ever wish to again.
Levo is a promising food establishment, however small tweaks need to be made in order to reach the level of fine dining the exterior and menu suggests.
The service encompassed a chaotic gaggle of waiters, either running in circles or socialising amongst themselves or even worse, staring into space. Most of the time they were simply unavailable for serving and were uninformed about the dishes.
The discrepancy between each dish was so great that it is difficult to provide an accurate rating overall for food – dishes were either lusciously delectable, or so bad they make one hesitant to use as ammo in a food fight.
Ambience 6/10, Food 7/10.
Levo is located at Mukti business park, Modeltown, Versova, Mumbai.