Level 5 Bistro & Bar, Kothrud – Christmas Comes Early!
Kothrud is becoming a foodie hotspot in Pune and us Punekars couldn’t be happier. Great food, great cafes and just a really great place to stay and hangout. Apart from Le Petit Amour or Krusty’s, there wasn’t really much for us here in terms of high quality European or modern cuisine. Oh, how we all flocked to Baner and KP to have great food and make merry.
Level 5 Bistro & Bar is here to change all of that and it literally feels like Christmas has come early. Unless you’re reading this in late December, then it’s probably on time. Anyway, after the absolutely amazing Kalinga Veg Gourmet Kitchen (click to read the review) the same owners have opened this new European Bistro on the 5th floor of the same establishment.
Level 5 Bistro & Bar is gorgeous, very European. Old-school brick walls and pillars with beautiful artwork depicting famous cities of Europe and perfect warm lighting. Best part is, it’s not too dim, so it sets the mood but you don’t need infra-red vision just to see who you’re talking to. Same with the music, they play soothing Jazz or soulful Spanish music, it’s always serenading you in the background but never interferes with your conversation. A large brick pizza oven is what you see the moment you enter, preparing you for some great food!
They even have a private room which can seat anywhere between 20-30 people comfortably for a party or get together. Level 5 Bistro and Bar is just perfect to just grab a quick drink, enjoy a quiet meal or have a full on get together with friends and family. If you bring a date here, he or she is sure to be quite impressed!
They serve a wide selection of premium drinks and cocktails. All drinks have been designed by celebrity mixologist Shatbhi Basu, India’s first professional bartender. I tried a few cocktails and mocktails and was mighty impressed.
Spiced West Indian – Such a delicious dark rum based cocktail! Mixed with some Kahlua, cola and just bursting into life with the fragrance of cinnamon. It was utterly delicious, warming and perfect for this cold winter. I’m afraid, I’m already addicted to this.
Fireball Sangria – A wonderful red wine cocktail with diced fruits and a frozen ball of spiced white rum! The spiced rum adds an amazing aroma, warmth and zing, slowly, as it melts into the cocktail. Go slow on this one and by the end of it, it’s even more flavourful and potent!
We tried mocktails like Passion and Rosemary Lemonade and Spicy Peru, both of which were amazing. The latter reminding me of childhood days eating raw guava with salt and red chilli. The Imli Soda was I think my favourite of the bunch. Sweet and tangy tamarind drink, again harking back to childhood memories – munching on tamarind just picked from our grumpy neighbour’s tree!
Wild Mushroom Soup – A soup can’t get heartier, soul warming and satisfying than this. Thick, chunky and creamy loaded with 4 types mushrooms – Portobello, Shiitake, Oyster and Button – with whipped mascarpone, pepper and thyme. The accompanying crisp and filling mushroom crostini was delicious, though, slightly over salted.
Brule Figs and Burrata – Such a pretty and refreshing salad. Sweet and almost caramelized roasted figs with arugula, basil, crunchy toasted walnuts with creamy Burrata cheese. Topped with balsamic giving it a sharp, tart and salty finish. The burrata can be a bit bland on it’s own, so try and get each and every component in each bite for maximum flavour. I would definitely advise you to go with the prosciutto or bacon add on as well!
Ham and Cheese – Such a ‘close your eyes and savour it’ dish. Delicious meaty ham with sharp cheese just singing with black pepper flavour. The filling is stuffed inside in-house flaky and crispy puff pastry shells which make all the difference giving it a feel of a delicious croissant rather than just a quiche.
Seafood Quiche – Scrumptious seafood – fish, prawns, calamari as well as crab – in a creamy sauce with herbs and pepper in the same delectable pastry shell, really delicious.
Roasted Chicken Pizza – Very good looking gourmet pizza. The owners told us the lengths they went to, to ensure the crust was just perfect. The in-house hand rolled dough was fine tuned so that it would be as thin as possible while keeping a crisp and firm consistency. The crust doesn’t bend or break when you pick up the pizza nor does it go soggy even after sitting for a long time! Let me tell you, it works, the base is amazing and the pizza is just great. The fresh high quality ingredients make it just a pleasure to eat. But this pizza seemed slightly bland in the spots lacking parmesan cheese, so a slight more flavour in the sauce and chicken would make it even better.
This looked like a formidable burger and had the taste to match! Juicy lamb patty as well as chicken thighs with cheese, a fried egg and onion rings! Delicious! It was a messy burger, exactly how it should be. Another great thing was their in-house ‘smoked bourbon tomato sauce’ served with every burger and sandwich. It is just next level stuff; such a flavourful sauce, an absolute blessing for a ketchup-hater like me!
POLLO PORCINI PASTA – An absolutely hearty and satisfying penne pasta in a meaty mushroom sauce with chicken, topped with parmesan and crunchy toasted walnuts. Comfort food at it’s best! I could not stop eating this!
PORK BELLY – This dish just blew me away! Hands down the best dish of the day, and that’s saying something given the company. Again, the hard work of the owners and Chefs can be seen. The top layer of fat was crisp without being chewy, followed by a juicy melt-in-the-mouth layer. This followed by succulent, pink and absolutely flavourful layer of pork meat! It was heavenly, the beautiful aroma of the meaty, fatty goodness filling up the room. The caramelized apple jus and harissa sauce were so delicious, perfectly complementing spicy and sweet flavours, all made ridiculously good by the sweet apple chutney.
The chunky, creamy and herby gratin dauphinoise potatoes were so heartwarming and comforting, so much better than any mash. The combination of all the elements together just made it a uber-delicious dish and literally made me feel warm and fuzzy inside! And look at the colours, it looks so Christmas-y!
CHOCOLATE BOMB – What an end to the excellent meal! Gooey soft dark chocolate molten lava cake with more sinful dark chocolate and tangy sweet berry compote served with vanilla ice cream and quenelled whipped cream! I don’t always like chocolate and berry together, but this was just heaven and in spite of full tummies, we wiped the plate clean in 2 minutes flat!
I am absolutely floored by Level 5 Bistro & Bar. The food is just exceptional, wonderfully curated with tremendous care and attention to detail. The quality and taste of food is incredible and most importantly, there is no skimping on any front. The quantity of each dish and drink is huge, that too at a reasonable price. And yes, it will feel a bit higher than most places in Kothrud, but then, there isn’t any place like this in Kothrud.
The ambience is beautiful and has sort of a comforting cozy feel. I would love to go here every so often with my family, sit down with a Spiced West Indian, have the Pork Belly and just enjoy the food and company. Level 5 Bistro & Bar has me smitten and for all the right reasons. The place being just 4 minutes drive from my home, is just the cherry on top!