Levant Kitchen & Bar
By EssentialsMAG food critic SALLY ANGLESEA
Levant Kitchen & Bar
49-52 Chester Street, Wrexham LL13 8BA
Cost for three course meal, for two people, without drinks: £55 - £65
It’s a word that often seems to stray from its true definition, in favour of meaning the exact opposite. I recently overheard a young woman recounting the fact that she ‘literally died’ during a particularly awkward sounding yoga class, involving the ‘Downward Dog’ position and some audibly outward flatulence. Fortunately, this was not true and due to her evident ability to breathe, she had in fact ‘literally lived’ through the yogic horror.
With this in mind, I make the following statement in the truest sense of the word: Levant is literally offering up the best culinary experience in Wrexham town.
Yeah, I said it.
Inspired by the Eastern Mediterranean flavours of The Levant region, the restaurant’s menu is an immediately pleasing read. Waves of flavour crash through in the tempting descriptions of each carefully considered dish and the devastating realisation that you can’t dive into all of them is a tough one to accept.
After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, my friend, Rhi, and I finally decided upon our starters: Salt ‘n’ Pepper Squid and Scallops with a Prosecco Sauce. The squid was cut into traditional calamari-style rings and served on a scattered bed of rocket and micro herbs. Its delicate flavour and soft texture screamed freshness, whilst the crunchy coating was beautifully seasoned with the warmth of black pepper and bite of salt. The truffle aioli had very little, if any, truffle flavour but the satisfying hum of garlic harmonised with the whole dish perfectly.
The chef then recommended the scallops; a starter dish I rarely order. My reasoning behind this is three-fold:
1. If under/over cooked, they are offensive (in texture, not personality.)
2. The accompaniments are usually boring - my excitement for quirky veg purées and crispy meat shards is dwindling.
3. Affording the scallop starter is often dependant on re-mortgaging your home.
Thankfully, none of the above applied in this case. Three plump and perfectly seared scallops formed an orderly queue across my plate; their buttery, caramelised crust concealing tender, opaque centres. The natural sweetness of the shellfish worked well with the slightly sharp yet creamy Prosecco sauce, whilst small, crisped cubes of roasted potato introduced earthy flavour and welcome texture. For £6.50, this was exceptional and I think you’d struggle to find a more reasonably priced plate of luxury in the North West.
For the main event, Rhi ordered the Duck Breast, whilst I opted for the Salmon Supreme. The most underwhelming element of the duck dish was the meat itself, as despite being beautifully tender, it was slightly over cooked and there was no rosy hue to be seen. Everything else, however, was a delectable feast for both the eyes and the palate: fresh slices of fig were tumbled down the centre of the plate, interspersed with satisfyingly identical cubes of earthy beetroot jelly and vibrant blooms of edible Viola flowers. A Plum and Ginger sauce held the dish together with a flavourful depth of warmth and sweetness, whilst charred petals of soft, swirling potato came together to form the most beautiful edible rose; rich with butter and fragrant with thyme.
The salmon was equally stunning in appearance and my favourite of the two in terms of flavour. This sunshine plate offered a fresh array of crunchy green vegetables; sweet pea purée; flaky, fresh fish; and a genius red cabbage purée that I practically licked clean from my plate. Unfortunately for Rhi, I ‘forgot’ to share this dish with her.
Having devoured the entirety of our dinner thus far, our Waiter, Cory, very wisely presented us with desserts menus. I must say at this point that Cory was wonderful and brought just the right balance of both charm and cheek to the table! Attentive, instinctive and friendly, he looked after us seamlessly throughout the evening – and importantly, encouraged us to eat dessert. This is a key attribute I look for when assessing someone’s character.
Predictably, I was immediately swayed by the ‘C’ word and chose Chocolate Fondant. Despite the lack of oozing chocolate lava upon cutting into it, the cake itself was seductively decadent...rich, satisfying and generously portioned, it was everything I want in a man. Sorry, I mean dessert - everything I want in a dessert.
A good crème brûlée is simple and requires two perfectly executed elements: crunchy, caramelised, satisfyingly crackable sugar and smooth, sweet, vanilla-vibrant custard. Levant’s Creme Brûlée was exactly that: classic simplicity at its finest. Their addition of a crumbly, buttery shortbread biscuit didn’t hurt either.
Levant is challenging the norm when it comes to Wrexham restaurants and I think they’re onto something pretty special. A genuine and uncompromising passion for exciting food lies at the heart of this unique eatery, without a whiff of pretension or extortionate pricing. From the innovatively imagined dishes to the balanced delicacy of flavours, Levant is serving up fine cuisine at high street prices.
Find me a restaurant that cooks scallops THAT perfectly for THAT price in THAT portion size, and I will eat my own kidney.
Art and Eats - Located just a few doors down from Ty Pawb, Levant is the perfect place to settle for dinner after a day of art and markets!
Private Party - With the capacity for 50 seated 100 buffet style, Levant’s private dining and events room could be the perfect space for that upcoming special celebration...
Happy 24/7 Hour - Levant offers an array of beautiful cocktails, made even more desirable by the fact that all day, every day, they are 2 for £10!
For more foodie fanaticism and photos, follow Sally on Instagram: @gingernutsaboutfood