Restaurant Review: Levo at Four Bungalows – More Misses Than Hits

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It was a perfectly respectable lunch time of 1pm, yet when I entered Levo—a vast, 170 plus-cover, modern European restaurant, tucked away in a quiet side lane of Four Bungalows, Andheri—I felt a deep sense of abandonment. You see, I am happiest when surrounded by joyous diners hunched over a plate of lunch or quaffing down tankards of beer, sangria, wine etc. It also didn’t help that my lunch companion was running late. But that afternoon, Levo (meaning levitate in French) was failing to hoist anything… least of all its number of patrons!

Levo, Mumbai
Levo, Mumbai

So, as the solitary diner at this month-old eatery, I settled down at a corner table and perused through the extensive, packed-with-options duo of food menus. One for the lovely outdoor al fresco lounge café that is soon to start, and the other for the more fine dining indoor section done up in earth tones and sophisticated linear, minimalistic lines, which was where I was seated. Helmed by Chef Rajeev Arora who is also a co-owner, Levo boasts of European dishes that straddle both the classics and the more modern European fare that is the restaurant’s USP.

As an amuse bouche, we (yes, my lunch companion finally showed up!) were presented with a demitasse of hot(!?) Vichyssoise Soup with a Braised Garlic Foam sitting alongside a tiny and scrumptious crusty Brioche filled with Wild Mushroom Fricassee that was sautéed in a Champagne Vinegar. Traditionally a cold soup, the chef’s spin on the Vichyssoise left me a tad confused with this hot option that I found way too sour to truly appreciate the potato-leek parts of its sum.

Lamb navarin printanier
Lamb navarin printanier

Appetisers like a very competent French Pissaladerie (France’s very own square shaped pizza-like pie embellished with sautéed bell peppers and olives) and a Tenderloin Carpaccio Pizza with Shaved Parmesan jostled for space with a very, VERY desi-fied version of a Serrano Chilli Chicken served with crispy Pancake Julienne that even had a green chutney disguised as a pesto to confuse things further. But what really stood out—for all the wrong reasons—was the duo of Sambuca Prawns that had certainly seen fresher moments. Not even the copious amounts of garlic could mask the rank odour that emanated from it. Disheartening!

As Levo is yet to get its liquor license (which should be soon, they assured us), we tried their mocktails that took the form of the salad-in-a-Martini glass with a fresh Basil and Watermelon (that I dubbed the ‘Fauxtini’) drink that was superb as was the Orange-Cranberry-Apple Juice concoction that the maître d’ recommended.

Now here’s where I start to question the authenticity of a restaurant’s European fine dining claims when I see a word like ‘entrée’ used for mains on the menu. This would have been perfectly fine had this been a North American restaurant, as Americans and Canadians call their mains ‘entrée’. But for a European restaurant, sacré bleu… never! An ‘entrée’ is an appetiser in those parts of the world. Nothing more or nothing less. Period.

Anyway, for mains we couldn’t resist ordering the Pulled Pork with Fork Mashed Potatoes served with a Caramalised Onion Jus that left the dish tasting like a cloyingly sweet pork jam with the super-finely shredded (and not pulled as it should have been) pork doing very little to show off its own meaty flavour. But the Lamb Navarin Printanier stew was a cracker of a dish and totally drool-inducing, ably aided by the braised potatoes and turnips. Going down the ‘classics’ route, we ordered the chicken Cordon Bleu that was outstanding with moist chicken breast cutlets holding within their folds, luscious morsels of Swiss Cheese and Ham, all smothered in a finger-licking good Pinot Jus. The Grilled Norwegian Salmon Fillet while being dry and overcooked served with a runny, bland Vanilla Beurre Blanc had one and only one saving grace—the crispy tuile intelligently made from the salmon skin that was crackling with umami goodness.

Ricotta cheese cake at Levo, Mumbai
Ricotta cheese cake at Levo, Mumbai

Living up to the adage that there is nothing like a good dessert to soothe all the pain and forgive all the misgivings, Levo turns up the heat and sends you off smiling. While I loved the perfectly wobbly Basil Panna Cotta topped with a quirky Olive Compote and the Chocolate Decadence cake served with stewed Black Pepper-Strawberry Compote, I was in lust with the trio of house-made Watermelon, Almond-Raisin and Ferrari Red Chilli Ice-Creams that were top notch. However, the damp squib among the desserts was the OK-ish tasting, but horribly gritty-textured New York-Style Ricotta Cheesecake with its off-putting powdery countenance.

All in all, my experience dining at Levo neither levitated the foodie in me, not did it have me plummet to the levels of sheer despair. A perfect case of—to put it in a European context—comme ci comme ça, this one.

WHERE? Mukti Business Park, Ground Floor, B Wing, 141-A Model Town, Andheri (West). Call, 022 30932030.
HOW MUCH? Rs 2,500 for two.
WHEN? 12pm to 3pm and 7pm to 12am
WHAT’S HOT? The mind-blowing, intelligently thought of and crafted desserts.
WHAT’S NOT? The very patchy, inconsistent appetisers and mains and the fact that we still can’t have a glass of Chablis there!
SHOULD YOU GO THERE? Erm, maybe…

Pics courtesy: Levo

Post By Raul Dias (102 Posts)

Lists travel, food and luxury as the tantalizing trifecta that defines him. When he’s not travelling, eating or getting pampered at a spa, you'll find him assaulting his notebook's keyboard with a feral vengeance, churning out what he hopes are intelligent, informative and entertaining stories.

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Raul Dias

Raul Dias
Lists travel, food and luxury as the tantalizing trifecta that defines him. When he’s not travelling, eating or getting pampered at a spa, you'll find him assaulting his notebook's keyboard with a feral vengeance, churning out what he hopes are intelligent, informative and entertaining stories.
  • anita kapai

    After having gone through this detailed review twice already I feel the taste of food may vary from person to person as the dishes which have been criticised and written poorly about are the ones have been my personal favourite ( sambuca prawns, pulled pork and the luscious Ricotta cheese cake) . I have eaten them on numerous occasions and have got the same standard served each time : super like them … My eyebrows are raised when the critic has a doubt on the authenticity of this European fine dining with the use of term Entree’ to describe their mains which is perfectly fine as when one goes thru various courses of meal in French entree always stands for the entry of the main course (NOTHING MORE N NOTHING LESS) period … I have never ever come across the word Entree’ being used for appetiser in the span of 2 decades being in the Hospitality industry, having studied at the premier Hotel School, trained at the very best in the industry in India as well as abroad and travelled across the Globe …. If Entree is supposed to be used for appetisers then God knows what does Hors d’ oeuvres mean !!!!!!!
    I really have a serious doubts over the authenticity of this self proclaimed food critic with his experience and qualification.

  • Raul Cruz Dias

    Without getting into the pompous and rather desperate need of proving my credentials, experience and qualifications as a restaurant reviewer (or as a savant of French culinary terms, for that matter!) to anyone, let me just say that it has been very rightly pointed out that opinions are just that–opinions, nothing more and nothing less. Expressions that are very subjective and expressions that should be respected. If you like something or someplace, then you have every right to be as vocal as you want about it… just as the person who doesn’t. Simple logic, that.